Georgia Baseball stumbles in Super Regional Game 3 against NC State


The Georgia baseball team, with a first-year head coach and a roster reliant on players signed through the transfer portal last offseason, achieved its best postseason success in 16 years.

Monday night marked the end of NC State's memorable season at Foley Field, featuring college baseball's biggest star, Charlie Condon, and a roster assembled by coach Wes Johnson and his staff.

The nationally ranked No. 10 Wolfpack overcame an early deficit, hitting four home runs and 15 hits, and held off the No. 7 Bulldogs' hitting power to secure a spot in the College World Series.

With the 8-5 victory, NC State won the best-of-three Super Regional series, two games to one. Condon's nation-leading 37th home run to right in the ninth inning was almost certainly his final batting appearance as a Bulldog.

Georgia (43-17) was looking to return to the College World Series for the first time since 2008, but lost its first Super Regional series in program history. The Super Regional format was introduced in 1999. Georgia won its previous four Super Regional appearances in 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2008.

NC State coach Elliott Avent takes his third team to Omaha in his 28th season in Raleigh.

The Wolf Pack (38-21) were eliminated in 2021 when the season was ended due to COVID protocols and were also eliminated in 2013.

“You train for the players, not for yourself or for any other reason,” Avent said over the weekend. “You train because you have a group of men and they are always different. It's that dressing room and that group of men.”

The Wolfpack are the fourth ACC team in the eight-team CWS field. The other four come from the SEC.

NC State had home runs from Garett Pennington, Eli Serrano, Alex Sosa and Alec Makarewicz and three pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts.

Tre Phelps, the designated hitter from Georgia who had been named a second-team All-American freshman earlier that day, gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the second inning, putting the 3,944 spectators in a good mood early on.

The 6'2″, 200-pound player from Kennesaw fired a 77 mph breaking ball into right center field for his 12th career Homer of the Year. It was Phelps' second homer in as many days and was just to the right of his hit a day earlier.

The lead was short-lived, however, as first baseman Pennington hit his 18th in the third Home run of the season, 424 feet to center field to tie the game at 2-2.

NC State starter Logan Whitaker managed seven strikeouts in the first four innings, with Phelps being the only player to take a hit against him. Phelps hit a single on his second attempt.

Meanwhile, Georgia starter Zach Harris (5-2) allowed eight hits and three earned runs in three innings, but an effective changeup minimized the damage. He was taken off the field after a leadoff double by Matt Heavner in the fourth inning.

Enter Kolten Smith, who was pressured into Georgia's 18-1 loss on Saturday with eight earned runs before being replaced in the second inning.

He walked Noah Soles and the Wolf Pack had runners on second and third base with one out after a sacrifice bunt.

An outside throw by Smith was ruled a passed ball by catcher Fernando Gonzalez and the Wolfpack took their first lead. Alec Makarewicz hit a single past Condon into left field, scoring another run and giving NC State a 4-2 lead.

Smith got out unscathed in the fifth inning after the Wolf Pack put a runner on second and third base.

Georgia finally got the better of Whitaker with one out in the fifth inning when Clayton Chadwick hit a double down the left field line, Kolby Branch hit a single and Corey Collins was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Charlie Condon.

Freshman Jacob Dudan (4-2), who entered the game with 53 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings, entered the game for NC State. He struck out Condon with a 90-mile-per-hour slider and then got Slate Alford to ground out.

Condon, who leads the nation with 36 home runs and began the day with the best batting average at .436, went 2 for 11 in the Series. He was hit in the back by a pitch from reliever Derrick Smith in the seventh inning.

NC State extended the lead to 5-2 when Serrano's home run slammed over the scoreboard in right, but the Bulldogs got the run back in the bottom half of the inning on Gonzalez's sacrifice fly, but Branch struck out swinging with two runners on base. The Wolfpack extended the lead to 6-3 when Sosa hit a home run to right high into the night sky.

Georgia had to settle for a run-scoring ground out by Dylan Goldstein in the seventh inning after Branch's chance at a three-run homer was intercepted by a leaping Serrano in center field on the warning track. Makarewicz's team-leading 22nd homer – a two-run shot in the eighth inning – into the trees in right-center field gave the Wolfpack more of a lead.

Anna Harden

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