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N.C. State takes the Athens Super Regional to secure its fourth t

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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Eli Serrano III hit a home run in the sixth inning and made a leaping catch at the center-field wall in the seventh, helping North Carolina State beat Georgia 8-5 on Monday night to secure the program’s fourth trip to the College World Series.

N.C. State (38-21) advances to an opening-round game against Kentucky on Saturday. The Wolfpack have won 18 of their last 23 games.

Georgia (43-17), which forced a winner-take-all game with an 11-2 victory on Sunday, was looking to make its seventh trip to the CWS.

N.C. State took the lead for good, 3-2, in the top of the fourth when Matt Heavner scored from third on a wild pitch. Alec Makarewicz made it 4-2 with an RBI single down the third base line.

N.C. State extended it to 6-3 in the seventh on Alex Sosa’s third hit of the game.

Georgia had two on with no outs in the seventh before Serrano’s highlight catch to keep a three-run lead. N.C. State reliever Derrick Smith got Tre Phelps, who had a hit in his first three at-bats, to pop up to end the inning.

Makarewicz followed in the top of the eighth with N.C. State’s 16th home run in six NCAA Tournament games for an 8-4 lead.

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Georgia star Charlie Condon hit his nation-leading 37th home run in the top of the ninth for his 78th RBI. Smith retired Phelps again for his eighth save of the season.

Georgia starter Zach Harris (5-2) allowed three runs in three innings to take the loss.

Serrano went 3 for 4 and Makarewicz finished with three RBIs. Garrett Pennington hit a two-run shot in the second for N.C. State’s sixth straight game with a home run.

AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports

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