North Carolina State players celebrate after beating Arkansas 3-2 to advance to the College World Series during an NCAA college baseball super regional game Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

An Underdog Story: NC State’s Road to the College World Series

The 2021 NCAA Baseball Super Regionals are in the wraps.

The Division 1 NCAA baseball tournament started off with 64 teams, with 16 Super Regionals. From the 16, eight teams then head to Omaha for College World Series play. Six of the eight spots for the College World Series games are already filled, with two SEC schools in the mix.

These spots include Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Arizona, NC State, Stanford and Texas.

One Super Regional matchup that completely shocked fans was No. 1 seeded Arkansas’ upset facing NC State.

NC State’s Road to Omaha

The Razorbacks had a strong season. They won a total of 50 games in both the SEC regular-season and tournament championships. However, in the Fayetteville Super Regional, they fell 3-2 in the decisive third game of the series.

“We really don’t have a bunch of superstars. We’ve got some good players, we’ve got some guys who are going to be drafted, but we didn’t have that first-round type guy or first-round arm. We’ve just got a bunch of good players who play hard.”, says Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn. “They won an SEC regular-season championship and a conference tournament for the first time ever here.”

Despite the lost, the Razorbacks had plenty of notable players. Pitcher Kevin Kopps has been a super star all season for the Razorbacks. He finished the season with 131 strikeouts and 18 walks in about 89.2 innings. He started the matchup with a 0.66 ERA.

Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn started Kopps during Sundays matchup, for the first time all season. He was on fire for the first eight innings, only allowing two runs for the Wolfpack. Fans believe Van Horn left Kopps on the mound for too long. NC shortstop Jose Torres hit a homer on the top of the ninth, putting the Wolfpack in the lead. Razorback Cayden Wallace tied the game in the seventh with his homerun.

The pair of freshman pitchers NC State had on the mound were no match for the Razorbacks weak offense and exhausted pitcher. Matt Willadsen pitched four innings on Sunday, allowing just one run. NC freshman Chris Villaman struck out three and allowed the Cayden Wallace homer.

NC State head coach Elliott Avent explains how excited he is for the underdogs to face adversity.

NC State hasn’t made it to the CWS since 2013.  The last time the Wolfpack made it to the CWS, they were eliminated during round 2.

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About Sara Dastgerdi

Sara Dastgerdi is a current student at the University of Florida.

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