Pennington’s power helps NC State top South Carolina in NCAA Tournament Raleigh Regional

N.C. State played some long ball Saturday against South Carolina.

Garrett Pennington slugged a pair of home runs and Eli Serrano III a third as the Wolfpack took a 6-4 victory over South Carolina in the NCAA Raleigh Regional at Doak Field.

It’s a big win for the Pack, the No. 10 overall national seed. The Wolfpack needs one victory to advance to an NCAA Super Regional, leaving the Gamecocks and James Madison to play an elimination game Sunday at noon.

The winner will face the Wolfpack at 6 p.m. and must beat N.C. State twice to get out of the regional. JMU eliminated Bryant with an 8-1 win Saturday.

While Pennington and Serrano provided the power — Pennington with his fourth two-homer game of the season — and Serrano had three hits and scored three runs, the Pack scored the go-ahead run in the seventh with a bases-loaded walk to Alex Sosa that made it 5-4.

Matt Heavner scored from third to make it 6-4 in the eighth. Gamecocks catcher Dalton Reeves faked a throw to second and threw toward third, trying to catch Heavner off the base. But the throw hit Heavner in the helmet and bounded down the line, allowing Heavner to scamper home.

Relief pitcher Derrick Smith took it from there, closing out the victory in the ninth.

The Gamecocks had three homers in the game, two from Dylan Brewer, who replaced the injured Ethan Petry in the Gamecocks lineup. Petry, who had 21 homers this season, injured a hand in South Carolina’s comeback win over James Madison in its first game of the regional.

Brewer’s second homer, a two-run shot in the seventh, tied the score 4-4.

Brewer batted eighth in the South Carolina lineup, and Will Tippett, the ninth-place hitter, had a solo homer in the third inning.

Serrano’s homer in the fifth inning pushed the Wolfpack ahead 4-2.

The Pack got a solid-enough start from lefthander Dom Fritton, and shortstop Brandon Butterworth made a sparkling defensive play in the seventh, snaring a liner and turning into a double play.

But Brewer struck again.

Lefthander Cooper Consiglio relieved Fritton in the sixth, but got a 2-2 pitch up in the zone and Brewer took him deep to right for the two-run homer and the 4-4 tie.

Fritton was shaky with his control at times, walking four, but gave the Pack five innings.

The Gamecocks went with Garrett Gainey, a senior lefthander, against a Wolfpack team that is overloaded with lefty hitters. Gainey allowed four runs in six innings as both teams got what they needed from their starters.