CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Third-seeded NC State (29-15) earned its place in the 2021 ACC Tournament semifinals with its win over 10-seed Pitt (23-20) Thursday evening at Truist Field, 3-2.

With the Panthers defeating North Carolina Tuesday evening, the Wolfpack will face second-seeded Georgia Tech in Saturday’s second semifinal game by virtue of holding the top seed in Pool C.

Junior right-handed pitcher Reid Johnston (7-2, 4.18 ERA) got the call to start versus the Panthers and hurled 111 pitches in eight innings of work. The Enfield, N.C. native struck out 10 batters while surrendering two runs on five hits and two walks. Junior left-hander Evan Justice relieved Johnston in the ninth inning and picked up two strikeouts en route to his eighth save of the season.

Pittsburgh’s Matt Gilbertson (6-5, 4.45 ERA) pitched a complete game in the loss, striking out 10 Wolfpack batters while just yielding four hits and three walks. The Henderson, Nev. kept State’s bats quiet throughout the final four innings but exited the game with 134 pitches thrown.

Playing as the home team versus the Pack, Pitt struck first when Ron Washington, Jr. drove Sky Duff home with an RBI double in the bottom of the first inning. However, State would answer in the top of the second inning, taking the lead it wouldn’t surrender for the remainder of the contest.

Junior right fielder Devonte Brown and sophomore third baseman Vojtech Mensik drew back-to-back, full-count walks with two outs in the frame. Junior second baseman J.T. Jarrett then drilled a triple down the left-field line to drive the runners home. The Greensboro, N.C. native would score on a wild pitch in the following at-bat.

Washington would trim the deficit with a bases-loaded RBI fielder’s choice in the bottom of the third inning. However, Johnston retired the final 13 batters he faced to bridge the gap to Justice.

The Panthers would get the tying run aboard in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Richmond, Va. product slammed the door in the Queen City to put State one step closer to the conference title.

The Wolfpack concludes the tournament’s pool play versus the rival Tar Heels Friday evening. First pitch from Truist Field is currently scheduled for 7 p.m.

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