NC State Out of College World Series Due to COVID-19 Issues; Vanderbilt to final

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OMAHA, Neb. — Eleven hours after North Carolina State took the field at the College World Series with a roster depleted due to COVID-19-related issues, the Wolfpack found their season was over.

Saturday morning around 2 a.m., the NCAA Division I baseball commission declared Saturday’s winner-take-all bracket final between NC State and Vanderbilt a no-contest due to COVID-19 protocols, pushing the Commodores into the CWS championship round.

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Vanderbilt will take on the winner of Saturday night’s bracket final between Texas and the state of Mississippi.

The NCAA said the decision to exclude NC State was based on the recommendation of the Douglas County, Nebraska, championship medical team and health department.

“The NCAA and the committee regret that NC State’s student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to advance in the championship they are entitled to participate in,” the statement said. “Due to privacy concerns, we are unable to provide further details.”

The coronavirus pandemic has led to numerous college sports game cancellations since March 2020, but before Saturday, only three teams had been removed from the NCAA championship game due to COVID-19: the Virginia Commonwealth men’s basketball team, Rice women’s volleyball team, and Michigan men’s hockey team.

NC State has never won a College World Series championship, but expectations ran high after the Wolfpack defeated the overall No. 1 Arkansas in the Super Regionals, then went on to win three straight wins and spend the week in the winner’s category . Even Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said the Wolfpack had “some magic with it.”

The magic ended Friday. Earlier in the day, ESPN’s Ryan McGee reported that Wolfpack who started second baseman JT Jarrett and bullpen ace Evan Justice were out due to COVID-19 related issues. A source described Jarrett as “no longer with the team” while Justice was still in Omaha but was quarantined. ESPN first heard of a positive test regarding Jarrett on Friday morning.

NC State had just 13 players on Friday โ€” nine position players and four pitchers โ€” and used 12 of those players in a 3-1 loss against Vanderbilt, forcing what was to become an elimination game Saturday to determine who would play in the CWS championship round.

In less than 24 hours, NC State’s season was over.

Vanderbilt, the defending National Champion, went into the day and had to beat NC State twice to reach Sunday’s championship round. Now the Commodores can rest their two-star pitchers, Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, in preparation for the Longhorns or Bulldogs in the final.

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