The last game of pool play in the ACC tournament didn’t matter to N.C. State. The Wolfpack won it anyway.
Bubby Riley’s grand slam highlighted N.C. State’s 10-2 win over Virginia on Saturday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
N.C. State (34-20) had already clinched a spot in the title game on Sunday but it closed pool play with a perfect 3-0 record.
It was Riley who kickstarted N.C. State’s late-season surge with a game-ending home run against Virginia on April 26. N.C. State has won 13 of its past 15 games heading into Sunday’s title game against Florida State.
The senior rightfielder touched off a eight-run eighth inning for the Wolfpack with a grand slam off of Virginia reliever David Rosenberger into the rightfield seats.
Andrew Knizner broke a 2-2 with a two-run double to start the big inning for the Wolfpack. Joe Dunand also had a two-run double in the eighth.
Star of the game
Sophomore lefty Ryan Williamson started and worked a career-high seven innings, effectively saving the Wolfpack’s bullpen for Sunday’s title game.
Williamson had only started one ACC game (at Notre Dame on April 18) before Saturday. He had never pitched into the seventh inning of his college career before Saturday.
He gave up two runs on six hits and struck out six.
N.C. State faces Florida State in the title game at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the DBAP.
▪ Every time N.C. State has won at least 34 games before the start of the NCAA tournament under coach Elliott Avent (13 times in 18 years), it has made the NCAA tournament.
Saturday was the Wolfpack’s 34th win.
▪ FSU beat Louisville 6-0 in the first game on Saturday, knocking the top-seeded Cardinals out of the tournament after a record-setting regular season.
FSU took two of three games from N.C. State in Raleigh in the first week of April. Sophomore righty Johnny Piedmonte, who will start for the Wolfpack on Sunday, started the third game of that series, an 11-7 Wolfpack win.
Piedmonte gave up two runs in 3.2 innings and had three strikeouts.