After an epic 18-inning struggle, the North Carolina Tar Heels finally overcame the N.C. State Wolfpack 2-1 to move into the ACC tournament championship game.
They will take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in a matter of hours for conference supremacy.
The dominant Hokies had already assured themselves a spot in Sunday's championship game. They were the winners of Pool B after smashing through the competition en route to a 3-0 record.
The Hokies should have a decided advantage as it took nearly six hours for the Tar Heels to finish off the Wolfpack.
Story of the Game
The Wolfpack took a 1-0 lead into the eighth inning before UNC knotted things up. N.C. State was hit by the error bug hard as it committed three miscues that produced the game-tying tally.
After reaching on a walk, freshman Mike Zolk moved to second on a wild pitch. He advanced to third on a fielding error and scored on the third fielding mistake of the inning.
The Wolfpack's defensive gaffes ruined a stellar pitching performance from Carlos Rodon. The sophomore left-hander had a no-hitter through six innings.
Ultimately, he pitched 10 strong frames allowing no earned runs and striking out 14. That is the epitome of a hard-luck no-decision.
The game stayed tied until the 18th when Cody Stubbs' single to center field scored Landon Lassiter.
Chris Munnelly finished things on the mound, but he didn't exactly escape without trouble. He gave up a lead-off double to Brett Williams, and suddenly it looked like this thing would never end.
Williams reached third on a wild pitch, but with no outs and a runner on third, the Wolfpack could not tie the game.
This game was filled with excellent individual efforts like this throw from Williams, but ultimately, the Tar Heels made fewer mistakes.
When you couple this lack of execution with the defensive implosion from the eighth inning, this has to be one of the more painful defeats the N.C State baseball program has had.
More Action from Durham
The Wolfpack-Tar Heels game was certainly the featured attraction on Saturday, but it wasn't the only game played in Durham, N.C.
Two games without ACC championship implications preceded the Tobacco Road battle.
Kenny Towns Walk-Off HR Sinks Florida State Seminoles
The No. 2 seed Florida State Seminoles couldn't prevent the third-seeded Virginia Cavaliers from taking second place in Pool B. Towns' three-run walk-off home run in the 12th inning was the decisive blow.
The blast broke a 4-4 tie and kept the Seminoles winless in the ACC tournament. ACC Digital Network's Jeff Fischel is forced to bask in Towns' glory with him.
Jeff Fischel @JeffFischel
Kenny Towns (and I) get a gatorade shower after his 3-run walk-off HR beat FSU 7-4 in 12. http://t.co/1WVw6gk42G @UvaBaseball #ACCBase...5/25/2013, 7:53:07 PM
While the Virginia Cavaliers didn't have a shot at reaching the conference championship, the win should give them a higher seed heading into the NCAA tournament.
The 16 NCAA regional host sites will be announced after the ACC championship game at 9 p.m. ET Sunday; however, the field of 64 won't be revealed until noon Monday.
Miami Hurricanes Easily Defeat Clemson Tigers 7-0
Bryan Radziewski was dominant on the mound and the Hurricanes' bats were steady. Radziewski pitched eight scoreless innings while Tigers pitching surrendered 11 hits—including two knocks and an RBI to Canes' catcher Garrett Kennedy.
Can Miami really look this good? Or, are the Tigers this far behind the best teams in the conference? I'd say it is a little bit of both.
Not only were the Tigers' bats coming up empty, their gloves were faulty as well. The team made three errors on the day that obviously didn't help the bottom line.
With the loss, Clemson proved itself to be the worst ACC team in the conference's tournament.
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