It turns out the effects were far-reaching. Fourteen different NC State players were excluded, including starting position players from shortstop Jose Torres, center fielder Tyler McDonough and DH Terrell Tatum, in addition to Jarrett and Justice.
In accordance with College World Series health and safety protocols, vaccinated players are not subject to regular Covid-19 testing, while unvaccinated players are required to do so. Unlike Major League Baseball, college sports have a decentralized approach to vaccination, with no pre-defined vaccination threshold at which Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed or lifted.
According to ESPN’s Kris Budden, ahead of the game, NC State coach Elliott Avent gave his team the choice of either playing the game with all 13 available players or forfeiting and returning on Saturday. The Wolfpack expect to pick up several players on Saturday, so maybe things could be better in 24 hours, but the players have chosen to continue.
“I only found out maybe an hour and 45 minutes before game time,” Avent said in a mid-game interview on ESPN. “It was weird. They kept delaying things, then they took some players out of the canoe, then they delayed things… The other guys are getting tested right now and I hope with negative tests they will be back tomorrow. .
The resulting lineup is as odd as you might expect. The four inserted positional players, second baseman Carson Falsken, first baseman (and Monday starting pitcher) Sam Highfill, DH Eddie Eisert and third baseman DeAngelo Giles, have a combined total of 27 in stick this season and starting pitcher Garrett Payne has come on with all 8.2 innings this season. It also forced reshuffles, such as usual first goalie Austin Murr passing to left field and third baseman Vojtech Mensik slipping to the shortstop.
This is the second time this season that NC State has been affected by Covid-19, as it also took an early hiatus from the ACC game, which led to a series against Duke being canceled.
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