Will Gilbert came into the game in relief and pitched a career-best eight innings to lead NC State past Coastal Carolina, 8-1, at Doak Field at Dail Park.
With the victory, the Wolfpack sets up a winner-take-all matchup against the Chanticleers at 6 p.m. to conclude the Raleigh Regional.
Gilbert (5-1) entered the game in relief after starter Ryan Williamson pitched an inning-plus. The lefty struck out nine batters while allowing one run (earned) on five hits and one walk.
The eight innings are a career-best for Gilbert.
“Each inning Coach Foxhall was just calming down,” Gilbert said. “I was just sitting down with the trainer in front of the cool air. I was trying to stay focused, not get too emotionally involved in the game and then go out there and just repeat every inning.”
NC State head coach Elliott Avent was ejected in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes. It was the first time Avent had been tossed from a NCAA Tournament game since 2010 vs. Stony Brook.
The Wolfpack responded after Avent’s ejection. Gilbert forced a double play to get out of a third inning jam and NC State followed with six runs in its half of the fourth to put the game away.
Per NCAA rules, Avent was not allowed to address the media following the game.
“Really it is about [the players],” NC State associate head coach Chris Hart said. “Whether I am in there by myself, coach is with us, it is always about these guys. These guys know what they are doing.
“We have a bunch of guys that understand how we play baseball…they understand the type of baseball we play at NC State.”
NC State has lost two regional games at home in program history. Both times the Wolfpack has rallied to force a deciding game. The previous time was in 2012, when a furious rally propelled by five runs batted in from Tarran Senay led State to a, 9-8, win over Vanderbilt to advance to the Super Regional.