CHARLOTTE, N.C. (theACC.com) – With a chance to meet its biggest rival in Sunday’s ACC Baseball Championship Game offering ample incentive, NC State had no problem focusing on Saturday’s task at hand.
Keyed by three quick home runs – including an NCAA freshman record-setter by Tommy White – the 10th-seeded Wolfpack pounced on 11th-seeded Pitt in the opening inning and went on to an 8-3 win before an enthusiastic crowd of 8,360 at Truist Field.
NC State (36-20) earned a spot opposite eighth-seeded North Carolina (37-19) in Sunday’s noon title game on ESPN2. In addition to going after its first ACC baseball championship since 1992, the Wolfpack has a bit of a revenge motive after dropping two of three to the Tar Heels in the teams’ regular-season series May 6-8 in Raleigh.
The Wolfpack set the tone early in Saturday’s semifinal win over Pitt as Devonte Brown led off the bottom of the first inning with his 15th home run, and White cleared the wall in right-center one out later for his fourth homer of this tournament and his 27th of the year.
The 27 home runs by the St. Pete Beach, Florida, native are the most ever by an NCAA freshman, breaking the previous mark of 26 set by Georgia Southern’s Todd Greene in 1990.
NC State wasn’t through playing long ball. After J.T. Jarrett drove in the Wolfpack’s third run with an infield grounder, Dominic Pilolli hit a two-run homer for a 5-0 lead.
Pitt (29-27) got as close as 5-2 on Brock Franks’ two-run single in the top of the fourth, but NC State countered with three runs in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by Noah Soles’ two-RBI single, to remain in control.
The final run of the game came on another milestone of sorts, as Pitt’s Ron Washington Jr. launched a towering homer that cleared the picnic area in left field. The home run was the 52nd of this year’s tournament, breaking the previous ACC Championship record of 51 set in 2010 (in 13 games) at Greensboro, North Carolina.
Senior lefthander Canaan Silver (8-1) started for NC State and picked up the win, allowing five hits and two unearned runs while striking out seven in 5.2 innings. Logan Evans (4-8) took the loss for the Panthers.
A large crowd is expected for Sunday’s championship game, and recent tournament history indicates it could be a record-setter.
Nearly 7,300 fans poured into the stands when NC State met UNC last year in the Friday pool-play game at Truist Field, even though the Wolfpack had already clinched a spot in the 2021 Championship’s Saturday semifinal.
The crowd of 11,392 that watched North Carolina’s 2-1, 18-inning win over NC State on the fourth day of the 2013 ACC Championship in Durham, North Carolina, is the largest ever to watch a college baseball game in the state of North Carolina (The previous record of 10,229 was set in 2012 at Greensboro, North Carolina, when that number watched UNC’s 2-1, 12-inning win over NC State).
The 9,759 that watched Florida State defeat NC State in the 2015 ACC Championship Game at Durham stands as the largest crowd for the final in tournament history.
UNC and NC State have met in the ACC Baseball Championship on 24 previous occasions, with the Tar Heels holding a 13-11 edge. The only previous meeting in the finals took place in 1990 at Greenville, South Carolina, with UNC posting a 5-0 win.
NC State will be making its second straight appearance in the ACC championship game after dropping a 1-0 decision to Duke a year ago. The Wolfpack owns five ACC titles overall (four since the conference began determining its champion by tournament play in 1973).
2022 ACCBASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
May 24-29 at Truist Field, Charlotte, N.C.
POOL A – #1 Virginia Tech, #8 North Carolina, #12 Clemson
POOL B – #2 Louisville, #7 Georgia Tech, #11 Pitt
POOL C – #3 Miami, #6 Wake Forest, #10 NC State
POOL D – #4 Notre Dame, #5 Virginia, #9 Florida State
Tuesday, May 24
No. 11 Pitt 12, No. 7 Georgia Tech 6
No. 10 NC State 11, No. 6 Wake Forest 8
No. 8 North Carolina 9, No. 12 Clemson 2
Wednesday, May 25
No. 11 Pitt 6, No. 2 Louisville 5
No. 9 Florida State 13, No. 5 Virginia 3 (8 innings)
No. 10 NC State 9, Miami 6
Thursday, May 26
No. 7 Georgia Tech 9, No. 2 Louisville 4
No. 4 Notre Dame 5, No. 9 Florida State 3
No. 1 Virginia Tech 18, No. 12 Clemson 6
Friday, May 27
No. 4 Notre Dame 3, No. 5 Virginia 0
No. 6 Wake Forest 16, No. 3 Miami 3
No. 8 North Carolina 10, No. 1 Virginia Tech 0
Saturday, May 28
No. 8 North Carolina 7, No. 4 Notre Dame 2
No. 10 NC State 8, No. 11 Pitt 3
Sunday, May 29
ACC Championship, Noon (ESPN2/ACCN Extra)
No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 10 NC State