North Carolina State falls short, eliminated during Greenville Regional
The North Carolina State Baseball season came to an end Sunday afternoon during the first game of the loser’s bracket, as the Wolfpack fell to the East Carolina Pirates 9-2.
The game got away from the Wolfpack in the third inning when head coach Elliot Avent pulled starting pitcher Jason Parker, who had 30 strikes on 48 pitches and had 5 strikeouts. What occurred next is what doomed the Wolfpack, as the Pirates scored six runs before the end of the inning to take a lead that they would never lose.
A Promising Start Ends Bitterly
The Wolfpack came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, opening the year at 19-1, which was the teams best 20-game start in school history. Despite the hot start, the Wolfpack finished the year going 1-4 in its five postseason games and were outscored 34-8 in its final four games this season.
In a more sour note, some pointed that this was particularly on brand for how the Wolfpack tend to do in big moments and postseason play following Saturday’s loss to the Campbell Camels.
The season could have been looked to as a gauge to how the team would perform against a team in the top-25 on Sunday. Going into the tournament, the Wolfpack went 5-8 against teams ranked in the top 25. In addition to a sub-.500 record, the team was getting beaten to a pulp, getting outscored in its 13 games against top-25 opponents by a total of 85-91 and lost four games by three or more runs.
What’s Next for Elliott Avent
As for someone who will more than likely be on the hot seat going into the 2020 season, Avent will probably be the most likely candidate for someone whose seat could be on napalm-level fire.
The loss continues the streak of seasons without a bid to the Super Regional Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Wolfpack haven’t reached the Super Regional round since 2013 when current Chicago White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon and current Washington Nationals shortstop Trae Turner were both on the roster.
It isn’t merely that the team has failed to reach the NCAA Super Regional round but in some cases, it’s been demoralizing losses that have caused it.
One of the most egregious occurred during the 2015 regional round when the Wolfpack played the TCU Horned Frogs during the 2015 Regional round. The team blew an 8-1 lead and fell to the Horned Frogs in 10 innings to a score of 9-8.
Then there is probably Avent’s most infamous incident which occurred during the Raleigh regional during the 2016 tournament, Where Avent was tossed following a non-strike call and found himself on the “Sportscenter Not Top 10”
Despite having regionals in Raleigh in both 2016 and 2018, the Wolfpack hasn’t been able to get over the hump and make it to the Super Regional round.
Which brings us to Sunday’s game against the Pirates. with a few runners on base in the third inning, Avent made a pitching change and what happened next can be best described as the team’s doom.
Many fans were displeased with the decision to pull his starter before the end of the third.
With a new athletic director in place at NC State now, it could get dicey for Avent if the team underachieves again in 2020.
The Immediate Future
The Wolfpack will now have to wait and see who will be leaving the roster following tomorrow night’s MLB Draft. After whatever may transpire during the draft, the Wolfpack will have to continue to rebuild and prepare for the 2020 baseball season.
As for the Pirates, they kept their hopes alive to advance to the Super Regional and will play the loser of the Quinnipiac-Campbell game tonight at 8 p.m. Should the Pirates advance to the Super regional, it will be more than likely attributed to a stellar coaching job Cliff Godwin, who has a winning percentage over .600 in just five seasons including two seasons hosting a regional and one super regional birth.