Pete Dunn didn't like the Stetson team he saw early in their first NCAA regional appearance since 2007, and he let his team know how unhappy he was.
"I chewed them pretty good," said Dunn, in his 32nd season at Stetson. "And they responded in the right way."
Nick Rickles' RBI single in the bottom of the ninth rallied the Hatters, who had earlier trailed by five runs, to defeat North Carolina State 8-7 in the Columbia Regional on Friday.
Dunn said only one player on the roster was part of the 2007 club that went 1-2 at the Tallahassee Regional. Still, the coach didn't understand what was happening on the field early on. A botched pickoff play at first led to N.C. State's first run and a wild pitch in the third put Stetson down 5-0.
"I think it took a while for us to settle down," Rickles said.
Once they did, Stetson (42-18) showed the mettle that won 40 games for the ninth time in program history and also captured the Atlantic Sun title.
Shortstop Mark Jones startred the rally with a three-run homer in the fourth inning.
"There was a different attitude in the dugout after that," Dunn said.
In the fifth, ninth-place hitter Mitchel Brennan connected for a tying two-run shot. Jeff Simpson and Robert Crews followed with singles and Rickles' long sacrifice fly put Stetson ahead. Jones followed with a single for his fourth RBI of the game to give Stetson a 7-5 lead.
N.C. State (34-26) tied the game on Danny Canela's two-run homer in the seventh inning, but Stetson reliever Jake Boyd (9-1) took over after that. Boyd had six strikeouts in three innings, striking out the side in the ninth to set up Rickles' walk-off hit.
With one out, Ben Carhart singled and pinch-runner Sean Emory moved to second on a wild pitch. Rickles hit a line drive between third and shortstop that leftfielder Cameron Conner bobbled on the pickup, giving him no shot for a play at the plate.
Wolfpack closer Jeff Overman (6-3) took the loss.
N.C. State lost its fourth straight NCAA tournament game and faces an elimination contest on Saturday.
Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent thought Jones' home run changed momentum and gave Stetson a lift, but he thinks his club will bounce back.
"They're a veteran club, they know what they need to do tomorrow," Avent said.