NC State ousted from College World Series because of COVID-19 issues; Vanderbilt moves on to finals

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N.C. State was removed from the College World Series early Saturday because of the team's COVID-19 issues.

The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee announced the decision, which was made on the recommendation of local health officials in Omaha, Neb., about 12 hours before the Wolfpack (37-19) were to face defending champion Vanderbilt for a place in this year's finals. That game was declared a no-contest, and Vanderbilt was declared the winner of its bracket.

The Commodores will meet Mississippi State or Texas in Game 1 of the best-of-three final series Monday.

"This decision was made based on the recommendation of the championship medical team and the Douglas County Health Department," the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee announced on Twitter at 2:10 a.m. ET Saturday. The NCAA said it could not provide additional details, citing "privacy issues."

N.C. State's active roster was reduced to 13 prior to its game Friday vs. Vanderbilt after players were placed in health and safety protocols. The Wolfpack chose not to forfeit the game; they played and lost to Kumar Rocker and the Commodores 3-1. That result set up a Saturday winner-take-all return matchup, until the health officials stepped in.

Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent on Saturday released a statement through the school lamenting the way his team's season ended:

"This is a heartbreaking situation and I'm gutted for everyone involved and for all those that were captivated by the heart and fight of this team," Avent said. "Our medical staff and our players have been incredible this season with all they've done to keep us safe and get us ready to play, day in and day out. I love this team and this past month, many people that got to watch them, fell in love with them as well. Although we're all heartbroken, this team will never be forgotten and will live in the hearts of Wolfpack and baseball fans forever."

Said N.C. State athletics director Boo Corrigan:

"The last 24 hours have been extremely difficult for everyone involved and my heart goes out to the student-athletes, coaches and staff of our baseball program. "This is an excruciating way to have their season come to a conclusion, we appreciate their efforts all year long, as well as the incredible support from Wolfpack nation. No one will ever forget how they came together, inspired us all, and how they represented N.C. State. The health and safety of our student-athletes and staff will always be our unwavering priority. The timing of this is simply devastating for everyone involved, but it doesn't diminish their incredible accomplishments this season."

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips also issued a statement regarding N.C. State's season:

“We are truly heartbroken for N.C. State’s student-athletes, coaches, support staff, administration, alumni and fans. To have the season abruptly end this way is devastating," Phillips said. Watching this team, especially in the postseason, has been nothing short of inspiring and we applaud the entire program for the resiliency it has shown this season.”

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