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Instant recap: NC State falls to Florida, eliminated from College World Series

image_6483441 (3)by:Noah Fleischman06/17/24


OMAHA, Neb. — When NC State needed a clutch hit against Florida in a College World Series elimination game, the Wolfpack couldn’t find it. That ended up costing the Pack its season on college baseball’s biggest stage. 

NC State, which stranded eight base runners and went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, lost 5-4 to Florida, ending the Wolfpack’s season after two games at the College World Series. 

The loss marked the first time in program history that NC State did not win a game in Omaha. It won at least once in each of its first three trips to the College World Series. 

NC State was able to make Florida starter Jac Caglianone work in the first inning, but the Wolfpack struggled to capitalize in a major way. The Pack scored a run off a junior shortstop Brandon Butterworth RBI single after a hit batter and two walks loaded the bases, but that was all NC State could muster. 

While the Wolfpack could not take full advantage of a bases-loaded situation with one out, the Gators did in the second. Florida scored four runs in the frame, including a Caglianone three-run blast, off sophomore left-hander Dominic Fritton. 

But when it seemed like Florida maintained full control of the game, NC State’s offense found ways to keep the Wolfpack in the thick of it.

Graduate third baseman Alec Makarewicz clubbed a two-run home run to left in the third, which brought NC State within one. The Longwood, Fla., native’s laser — 104 mph exit velocity — helped keep the Wolfpack’s bats moving.

And once the Pack found itself down two in the fifth, Butterworth pulled through again with a two-out double to score graduate first baseman Garrett Pennington from second. 

Although Butterworth was able to drive in a run in each of his first two plate appearances, his third trip to the batter’s box was a pivotal one. He stepped up with two on and two down as NC State trailed 5-4 in the seventh, but Butterworth struck out swinging to end the frame. 

That threat, which could have added more pressure on to Florida’s bullpen, but instead NC State couldn’t find the clutch hit it needed. 

While the offense seemed to stall, Whitaker was a calming force on the mound as he entered in the third. The righty retired eight straight after conceding a solo homer to Tyler Shelnut in the fifth, which allowed NC State to keep itself within arm’s reach. 

Whitaker went seven innings with one run on two hits, while he logged a career-best 10 strikeouts with three walks on 104 pitches.

But what plagued the Wolfpack the entire game showed back up again — it couldn’t find the clutch hit. 

Freshman designated hitter Alex Sosa led off the eighth with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Freshman utility Andrew Shaffner pinch ran and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but the Pack left the tying run 90 feet away as graduate right fielder Noah Soles struck out to end the frame. 

The Pack went down in order in the ninth to end the game, yet again falling without the key hit.

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