Top 10 of the 2010s: Going The Distance
Over the final 10 days of the 2010s, SI Wolfpack Maven has been taking a look back at the past 10 years in NC State sports while counting down the Wolfpack's top 10 moments of the decade.
Today is Dec. 31, 2019. Now that we've reached the final day of the year, here is Moment No. 1: The baseball team's unforgettable run to the 2013 College World Series
When Elliott Avent set the key code on the door to get into the NC State baseball clubhouse before the 2013 season, he chose the number 1-9-6-8.
It was both a reminder of the first and only time the Wolfpack had ever advanced to the College World Series as well as a source of motivation for that year's team to end their school's 45-year drought and get back to Omaha.
Armed with a pair of future first-round Major League draft picks -- ace left-hander Carlos Rodon and shortstop Trea Turner -- and a deep, reliable bullpen, that's just what they did.
It was a season that got off to an ominous start when Rodon was beaten by Appalachian State in the opening game.
But State quickly recovered and ran off 10 straight wins to get the ball rolling. The Wolfpack kept the momentum going by winning its first nine ACC games before hitting a midseason rough patch.
Then, after losing an excrutiating 18-inning marathon in the ACC tournament semifinals to rival North Carolina -- a game in which Rodon allowed only one hit through 10 innings of work -- Avent and his team got down the business of making history.
After sweeping through their regional in three straight games at Doak Field, they maintained the homefield advantage a Super Regional matchup against Rice. It was supposed to be a best-of-three series. But it only took State two games to earn its ticket to Omaha.
Not that it was easy.
In Game 1, the Wolfpack entered the ninth inning down 3-2, but rallied to win on Jake Fincher's two-out RBI single. One night later, it rallied from three runs down in its final at bat to force extra innings before winning 5-4 on a Brett Williams double in a game that lasted 7 1/2 hours and 17 innings.
State went on to win its CWS opener, beating UNC 8-1 behind Rodon, before losing the next two to UCLA and a rematch with the Tar Heels. Despite falling short of the national championship, the Wolfpack finished the season with a school-record 50 wins ... and a new door code for future teams to learn.
Top 10 NC State Sports Moments of he 2010s
No. 1 Wolfpack baseball team's run to the 2013 College World Series