CWS game delayed as NC State reportedly has COVID-19 issue

OMAHA, Neb. — The College World Series game between Vanderbilt and North Carolina State was delayed Friday for what the NCAA characterized as “health and safety protocols.”

ESPN reported that North Carolina State was dealing with COVID-19 issues and that relief pitcher Evan Justice and second baseman J.T. Jarrett were not at TD Ameritrade Park.

If North Carolina State cannot play, Vanderbilt presumably would advance to the best-of-three championship round next week. The Wolfpack was scheduled to play Vandy in the Bracket 1 final after winning their first two games in Omaha. The Wolfpack would have to lose Friday and again Saturday to not reach the CWS finals.

NC State coach Elliott Avent said at his postgame news conference Monday that an illness was running through the team but made no mention of it possibly being COVID-19. He said associate head coach Chris Hart had been sick for five or six days and that Jarrett and pitcher Cameron Cotter weren’t feeling well.

“This bug seems to be floating around,” Avent said Monday.

The pandemic heavily disrupted college sports over the past year and three teams dropped out of an NCAA championship event because of COVID-19: The VCU men’s basketball team, the Michigan men’s ice hockey team and the Rice women’s volleyball team.