Even though the sixth-seeded Wolfpack (34-20) had already clinched a spot in the title game with Friday night’s dramatic victory over second-seeded Miami, it showed no signs of going through the motions against the Cavaliers as it won for the 13th time in the last 15 games.
Starting pitcher Ryan Williamson (4-3) delivered a solid seven innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs while walking two and striking out six. Wolfpack hitters went 7-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Saturday night’s game was tied 2-2 entering the top of the eighth, but doubles by Logan Ratledge, Andrew Knizner and Joe Dunand pushed NC State in front by a 5-2 score. Then came Riley’s slam that ended any remaining suspense. Riley had one homer and 13 RBIs on the season before connecting against Cavalier reliever David Rosenberger. He finished with five RBIs on Saturday night.
Starting pitcher Adam Haseley had two of Virginia’s eight hits. The Cavaliers scored their two runs on Matt Thaiss’ RBI groundout in the first inning and Robbie Coman’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly.
While Virginia (34-22) awaits Monday’s probable NCAA Tournament bid, NC State can now turn its full attention to Sunday afternoon’s title meeting with Florida State. The Wolfpack will be seeking its sixth ACC baseball championship and its first since 1992. NC State last reached the ACC Baseball Championship title game in 2010 at Greensboro, N.C., where it dropped an 8-3 decision to FSU.
Saturday night’s NC State-Virginia game was attended by 7,139 fans. That is the most for a single game in this year’s tournament so far, but an even larger crowd is expected for Sunday’s NC State-FSU contest. The ACC Baseball Championship record attendance for a title game was set two years ago at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, when 8,697 attended the 2013 meeting between North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
Sunday’s ACC Baseball Championship title game will be televised nationally by ESPN2.