Facing elimination against a team that shut it out earlier in the Raleigh Regional, NC State (38-21) defeated Coastal Carolina (46-16) at Doak Field at Dail Park, 8-1.
“Obviously, our guys came out ready to play today,” associate head coach Chris Hart said. “We’ve got another big game coming up in a couple of hours.”
After starter Ryan Williamson got pulled after an inning of work, Will Gilbert (5-1, 2.22 ERA) pitched a career-best eight innings to finish the game. Gilbert struck out a career-high nine Chanticleers while giving up Coastal’s lone run on five hits and one walk.
“This was definitely my longest appearance of my career and probably the biggest,” Gilbert said “It’s a pretty big stage here in the postseason. There’s still more season to play, so I won’t say it was the best one ever but definitely for now.”
Evan Mendoza and Preston Palmeiro led the way offensively for the Wolfpack. Mendoza finished 3-for-5 on the afternoon with a double, three runs driven in, and a run scored. Palmeiro also went 3-for-5 with two RBI.
Playing as the visiting team, State struck first in the top of the third. Chance Shepard led off the inning with a walk. After Josh McLain struck out, Stephen Pitarra and Mendoza hit back-to-back singles with Mendoza’s base hit plating Shepard.
After head coach Elliott Avent got ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the bottom of the third, the Pack tacked on six runs in the top of the fourth. Brock Deatherage got the scoring started with a two-run home run, his sixth of the season, that also plated Joe Dunand who led off with a single.
Two batters later, Brett Kinneman got hit by a pitch. McLain was intentionally walked following a Shepard groundout that moved Kinneman to second. Pitarra drew a full-count walk to load the bases for Mendoza who drove McLain and Kinneman home with a double. Palmeiro followed with a two-RBI single to score Pitarra and Mendoza.
State’s final run came in the sixth inning. Shepard walked to start the inning, moved to second on a McLain sacrifice bunt, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Pitarra reached base on a fielding error, allowing Shepard to cross the plate.
The Wolfpack and the Chanticleers will meet Monday evening at 6 pm to decide who advances to the Super Regionals. NC State will play without Avent who was handed a two-game suspension for continuing to argue after getting ejected.