ACC Baseball Tournament 2012: Georgia Tech Proves ACC Depth with Tourney Win
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets showed just how deep the ACC is with their conference tournament victory as a No. 8 seed.
Manager Danny Hall's team beat the Miami Hurricanes 8-5 in Sunday's game, in an impressive victory over the team they beat at the end of the regular season to secure a spot in this conference tournament.
The Yellow Jackets had a rough go at it this season, suffering numerous injuries and a tough schedule (RPI: 36). You don't see too many No. 8 seeds winning their conference tournaments in college baseball these days, and you definitely don't see them winning in the fashion that Georgia Tech did, outscoring its opponents 35-15 in the four games it played.
Tech started off its improbable run with a 5-4 upset victory over the Florida State Seminoles. It became only the third No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 in the 39 years the tournament has been played.
There were no qualms or under-the-breath complaints about the Seminoles as the No. 1 seed, as they had proved their worth for the entire season, making this victory that much more impressive.
The Yellow Jackets' Game 2 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers was the most lopsided of all. Georgia Tech mashed all over the Cavaliers' pitching staff, busting out 14 hits en route to a 17-5 victory.
Its three-to-five hitters, Brandon Thomas, Jake Davies and Zane Evans, accounted for 12 of those runs. Not much was made of the Tech roster as a whole coming into the tournament, but the hitters in the middle of the lineup made a name for themselves over the last week.
Georgia Tech showed it could win in other ways against the Clemson Tigers in its third game of the tournament, winning 5-1 on the heels of Davies' six-inning, one-run performance. Davies also hit a home run in that contest.
By the way, that was Davies' first start after 54 straight appearances as a relief pitcher.
Can Georgia Tech make a run in the NCAA tournament?
When the No. 8 seed in a conference tournament scores 17 runs one game, then lets up one run the next game, it's a good indication of how deep the conference is.
The Yellow Jackets' 8-5 win in the championship game was a showcase of both offensive prowess and pitching talent. Josh Heddinger got roughed up in the first two innings, allowing three earned runs before Jarret Didrick and Zane Evans combined for seven innings of two-run ball.
Usually, the worst team in a conference tournament doesn't have the luxury of bringing in a couple of relievers who can keep the other team relatively at bay for seven innings, but that's not the case in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The ACC has 10 teams in the top 37 clubs in college baseball. No other conference can hold a candle to the ACC, as the SEC has the next-highest total with eight in the top 37.
Florida State (No. 2), North Carolina (No. 6), North Carolina State (No. 10), Miami (No. 13) and Virginia (No. 14) led the way for the ACC this regular season, but Georgia Tech stole the show in the postseason, proving that the parity, as well as the depth, in the ACC is unparalleled through college baseball.
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