Hours after NC State lost to Vanderbilt in Friday’s College World Series semifinal, which was delayed due to the Wolfpack’s COVID-19 issues, the team learned their season had ended.
Around 2 a.m. ET, the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee declared Saturday’s game between Vanderbilt and NC State a no-contest due to COVID-19 protocols, allowing the Commodores to automatically advance to the CWS championship round.
The NCAA said the decision was made based on the recommendation of the championship medical team and the Douglas County (Nebraska) Health Department.
”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,” the NCAA said in a statement. “Because of privacy issues, we cannot provide further details.”
Several hours after the NCAA’s decision, NC State athletic director Boo Corrigan released a statement, calling it an “excruciating” end to the season.
”The health and safety of our student-athletes will always be our unwavering priority,” he said. “The timing of this is simply devastating for everyone involved, but it doesn’t diminish their incredible accomplishments this season.”
Vanderbilt has declined comment on the NCAA’s decision.
NC State is the fifth team this season that had their postseason cut short because of health and safety protocols. VCU men’s basketball team, Notre Dame men’s hockey team, Michigan men’s hockey team and Rice women’s volleyball teams all had to drop out of their respective NCAA tournaments due to COVID-19 protocols.
NC State entered Friday one win away from the final round but played with a depleted roster after several players were placed in COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The Wolfpack had nine position players and four pitchers available in the dugout for Friday’s game.
Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker struck out 11 batters over six innings to help the Commodores to a 3-1 win Friday night, forcing a winner-take-all semifinal game at the CWS. Now, the Commodores will face Mississippi State in the finals, which begin Monday.
Vanderbilt won the College World Series in 2019. The tournament was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.