CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NC State (30-17) saw its conference title hopes vanish Sunday afternoon as Duke (32-20) captured the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship with the win at Truist Field, 1-0.
After missing each ACC Championship game after the league implemented its tournament format, the Blue Devils won its first conference title since 1961. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack’s drought since 1992 continues.
Duke starting pitcher Cooper Stinson (3-3, 5.28 ERA) earned the win after striking out six Wolfpack batters in six innings while allowing just three hits. Meanwhile, State’s freshman right-hander Matt Willadsen (4-3, 4.76 ERA) picked up the loss after allowing the game’s only run in 4-2/3 innings, striking out six with four hits and one walk in his tenure.
Duke’s Jimmy Loper and Marcus Johnson held the Pack to just two hits over the final three innings with Johnson earning his seventh save of the season. Meanwhile, freshman southpaw Chris Villaman hurled the final 4-1/3 for the Pack, striking out six and only allowing one walk.
The only run of the game came in the top of the fourth inning. Duke shortstop Ethan Murray led off with a double off the left-field wall. After tagging and moving to third on a fly-out to center, Murray scored on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Peter Matt.
Duke center fielder Joey Loperfido earned Tournament MVP honors with Stinson and catcher Michael Rothenberg also garnering spots on the All-Tournament team. NC State second baseman J.T. Jarrett and sophomore center fielder Tyler McDonough joined the trio of Blue Devils on the team as well.
The Wolfpack now awaits its NCAA Tournament fate. With NC State likely a two-seed, the field will be revealed Monday.