NC State baseball’s remarkable postseason run came to an end early Saturday morning on an NCAA ruling forcing the Wolfpack to forfeit Saturday’s scheduled game against Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt beat NC State 3-1 Friday — a game in which the Wolfpack had just 13 players available due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The Commodores win set up a Saturday rematch, and the winner would advance to the College World Series final starting Monday.

However, early Saturday morning, the NCAA announced that Saturday’s game would be declared “no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols.” The ruling made NC State forfeit the game, and the NCAA provided absolutely no details in its explanation.

“The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee has declared the Vanderbilt-NC State Men’s College World Series Game scheduled for Saturday, June 26 at 1:00 p.m. CT a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols,” the NCAA’s statement read. “This decision was made based on the recommendation of the championship medical team and the Douglas County Health Department. As a result, Vanderbilt will advance to the CWS Finals. The NCAA and the committee regret that NC State’s student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to continue in the championship in which they earned the right to participate. Because of privacy issues, we cannot provide further details.”

D1Baseball’s Aaron Fitt reported that two unvaccinated NC State players tested positive for COVID-19 this week in Omaha. Per the guidelines, that prompted the NCAA to then test the entire Wolfpack roster, including the vaccinated players. Four NC State players then tested positive, and the NCAA made the no-contest ruling for Saturday’s game.

Per the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute Guidelines, as reported by Fitt, express the following.

Fully vaccinated student-athletes and other Tier 1 individuals with no COVID-19-like symptoms may be exempt from routine testing. Student-athletes and other Tier 1 participants who are not vaccinated must continue to undergo testing at NCAA championships.

If there is evidence of substantial or high transmission in the community, or if there are COVID-19 variants that escape the effect of the vaccine, then testing may need to resume for fully vaccinated individuals. Such decisions will be made in conjunction with local public health authorities and/or federal guidance.

The updated testing guidance also applies to Tier 2 and 3 individuals who may be subject to testing protocols at member schools and championships. If Tier 2 individuals are not fully vaccinated, they must undergo and document a negative PCR test within two days of arrival, or a negative antigen test within one day of arrival, and undergo daily self-health checks. Further testing is based on symptoms. Tier 3 individuals who are not fully vaccinated must undergo daily self-health checks, with testing based on symptoms.

Should state or local authorities require testing of vaccinated individuals, their guidance will supersede this policy and vaccinated individuals will be required to be tested.

There are awful ways to end a season, and then, there’s this. It’s a heartbreaking ending for a team that’s never played in the College World Series final series, and the Wolfpack end the season one game shy of making program history.

Vanderbilt will take on Saturday’s winner of Mississippi State-Texas Monday in the first game of the final series.