North Carolina State’s baseball team entered Friday’s game against Vanderbilt with a chance to advance to the College World Series final for the first time in school history. The school won’t be getting that opportunity, but not because they were eliminated on the field.
On Friday, NC State was forced to play its game against the Commodores with just 13 players — nine position players and four pitchers — because of Covid-19 protocols. Earlier on Friday, ESPN reported that NC State’s starting second baseman JT Jarrett and reliever Evan Justice would miss the game due to Covid protocols, and that Jarrett tested positive Friday morning. Vanderbilt won the game 3-1, setting up a winner-take-all game on Saturday with the winner advancing to the College World Series final.
The game will never happen, and NC State’s season is over.
At 1:10 a.m. CT Saturday morning, the NCAA ruled Saturday’s game between NC State and Vanderbilt a “no contest” due to Covid protocols, and Vanderbilt advances to the College World Series final:
The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee has declared the Vanderbilt-NC State Men’s College World Series game scheduled for Saturday, June 26 at 1 p.m. Central time a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols. This decision was made based on the recommendation of the Championship Medical Team and the Douglas County Health Department. As a result, Vanderbilt will advance to the CWS Finals. The NCAA and the committee regret that NC State’s student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to continue in the championship in which they earned the right to participate. Because of privacy issues, we cannot provide further details.
NCAA Statement from Division I Baseball Committee:
The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee has declared the Vanderbilt-NC State Men’s College World Series game scheduled for Saturday, June 26 at 1 p.m. Central time a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols. #CWS pic.twitter.com/amxdQwkQ6l
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 26, 2021
According to Aaron Fit of D1baseball.com, “two unvaccinated NC State players tested positive for COVID-19 this week, prompting the NCAA to test the entire roster, including vaccinated players.” Four additional positive tests came back, all from vaccinated players.
After Friday night’s loss, Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent was asked if he was vaccinated.
“I’m not going to talk about that,” Avent said. “If you want to talk baseball, we can talk baseball. If you want to talk politics or stuff like that, you can go talk to my head of sports medicine Rob Murphy.”
A reporter then asked Avent if he required his players to get vaccinated, and the coach declined to answer.
“I’ve been coaching for a long time,” Avent said. “And I think I’m the — you can call it caretaker, you can call it babysitter or the guy that the parents drop their young men off and leave them in my care,” Avent said. “And they’ve raised them to be the quality people that we recruit. And my job is to teach them baseball, make sure they get an education and keep them on the right track forward.”
“But I don’t try to indoctrinate my kids with my values or … my opinions. Obviously we talk about a lot of things. But these are young men that can make their own decisions, and that’s what they did.”
NC State athletic director Boo Corrigan put out a statement Saturday morning:
The last 24 hours have been extremely difficult for everyone involved and my heart goes out to the student-athletes, coaches and staff of our baseball program. This is an excruciating way to have their season come to a conclusion, we appreciate their efforts all year long, as well as the incredible support from Wolfpack Nation. No one will ever forget how they came together, inspired us all, and how they represented NC State. The health and safety of our student-athletes and staff will always be our unwavering priority. The timing of this is simply devastating for everyone involved, but it doesn’t diminish their incredible accomplishments this season.
— NC State Athletics (@PackAthletics) June 26, 2021
Vanderbilt awaits the winner of Saturday’s game between Texas and Mississippi State with game one of the CWS final being played on Monday.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected]om.
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