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NC State Eliminated From 2021 Men's College World Series Due to COVID-19 Protocols

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 26, 2021

AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz

The NCAA's Division I Baseball Committee announced Saturday that North Carolina State wouldn't be able to compete against Vanderbilt because of COVID-19 protocols, which eliminates the Wolfpack from the 2021 College World Series.

NCAA Baseball @NCAACWS

NCAA Statement from Division I Baseball Committee:<br><br>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. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CWS?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CWS</a> <a href="https://t.co/amxdQwkQ6l">pic.twitter.com/amxdQwkQ6l</a>

ESPN's Elizabeth Merrill reported NC State's roster had just 13 active players for Friday's first game against the Commodores, a 3-1 loss. A rematch was set for Saturday with a berth in the national championship series on the line before the committee's decision.

Wolfpack head coach Elliott Avent said after Friday's loss, which saw the team use 12 of its 13 available players, he was frustrated with the lack of communication throughout the process.

"I don't want to discuss anything that happened today because quite frankly I have no understanding of what happened today," Avent told reporters. "I have no idea what's going on. Zero. You know as much as I do. OK? It just hasn't been communicated."

Avent, in his 25th year with the program, also declined to discuss COVID-19 vaccines, including whether players were encouraged to get vaccinated before the tournament.

"If you want to talk baseball, we can talk baseball," Avent said. "If you want to talk politics or stuff like that, you can go talk to my head of sports medicine, Rob Murphy."

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NC State was making its third College World Series appearance and its first since 2013.

The Wolfpack advanced to the semifinals with victories over Stanford and Vanderbilt to open the double-elimination tournament. In turn, they were in line to have two chances to register another victory over the Commodores, who beat the Cardinal in the losers' bracket to keep their own title hopes alive.

They actually outhit Vandy in Friday's game, 8-6, but were only able to push one run across the plate. The decision to declare Saturday's rematch a no-contest didn't come until hours after that loss.

Meanwhile, Texas beat Mississippi State on Friday night to force another meeting in the other semifinal matchup.

The Longhorns and Bulldogs will play a win-or-go-home game Saturday night with the winner advancing to take on Vanderbilt in the best-of-three championship series starting Monday.

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