RALEIGH — One down, two to go.
N.C. State had to win three games in the losers' bracket to advance to the Super Regional. The Wolfpack knocked out UNC-Wilmington with a 17-5 win in the NCAA regional on Sunday afternoon at Doak Field.
State faces Vanderbilt today at 6 p.m. The top-seeded Wolfpack will have to beat second-seeded Vandy twice to win the regional. State recovered a 9-8 loss to the Commodores on Saturday night by dispatching the Seahawks (39-23) with 22 hits and a clean defensive performance.
N.C. State coach Elliott Avent said it was the toughest game of the season for his team. He said the gut-wrenching loss to North Carolina in the ACC tournament was mild by comparison.
"That game didn't compare to the mood in the locker room last night," Avent said. "I'm proud of the way we responded."
First baseman Andrew Ciencin hit a home run and drove in four runs to lead the Pack's offense, which has come alive since the ACC tournament. State scored six runs in three ACC games in Greensboro, it has 41 in three NCAA games.
After a draining, emotional loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday night, which saw State squander an 8-3 lead after seven innings, the Wolfpack rebounded swiftly against UNCW.
"The guys were down last night, but I don't think that lasted long," said Wolfpack starter Ethan Ogburn, who pitched eight and two-thirds innings for the win.
Pack second baseman Matt Bergquist, who entered the game hitting .197, went 3-for-5 with a home run and drove in six runs. Shortstop Chris Diaz added four hits and three runs for the Wolfpack.
Ogburn (5-3) struck out seven, and gave up nine hits, for his second win since March 30.
Diaz doubled in the first and scored. UNCW third basemen Matt Campbell tied the game at 1 with a solo homer in the fourth but the Pack put seven runs on the board in the fourth.
Ciencin turned on a 70 mile-per-hour offspeed pitch for a three-run shot off of UNCW starter Mat Batts. Bergquist tacked on a two-run double and then scored on a single by Diaz.
The Seahawks cut State's lead to 9-4 with a three-run sixth. Right fielder Tyler Molinaro hit a two-run double and first baseman Hunter Ridge added an RBI-single. Ciencin gave Ogburn some more breathing room with a two-out double in the bottom of the sixth to score Diaz, who singled.
State added four more in the eighth, three on Bergquist's first home run of the season.