It was a day of upsets on the third day of the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament, as each of the three lower seeds pulled off victories Friday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.
Boston College closed out its pool play schedule with a 10-1 victory over 23rd-ranked Miami, and Duke stayed alive in pool play with a 10-4 upset of 13th-ranked Clemson, which was eliminated with its second loss of the tournament.
In the nightcap, No. 16 Virginia pulled off arguably the biggest upset, embarrassing sixth-ranked North Carolina 11-1 in eight innings.
The Cavaliers’ victory creates a logjam of three teams still in contention to meet Florida State in Sunday’s championship game.
With Friday’s wins, Virginia took over first place with a 2-0 record in the pool. Duke evened its pool record at 1-1 and is tied with the Tar Heels for second place, heading into the final day of pool play.
The Cavaliers, who erupted for the biggest offensive inning of the tournament, control their own destiny and have the inside track of reaching the championship game for the second year in a row.
If Virginia defeats Duke in Saturday’s nightcap, the Cavaliers move on to the title game.
Despite Friday’s rout, the Tar Heels still have a chance to reach the championship game. North Carolina plays Clemson at 4 p.m. and will need a victory. The Tar Heels also need the Blue Devils, who are trying to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 47 years, to defeat Virginia in order to advance to Sunday’s final.
A North Carolina loss, and a Blue Devil win propels the Blue Devils, who are participating in their first ACC tournament since 2005, to the title game.
However, the Blue Devils will have their hands full, as the Cavaliers handed North Carolina its worst loss of the season.
Keying the victory for the Cavaliers was the third inning where Virginia sent 15 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs.
North Carolina starting pitcher Alex White retired the first six batters he faced and recorded four strikeouts.
However, the third frame was a different story.
Eight of the first nine batters came around to score to blow the game open.
Tyler Cannon doubled and scored on a bloop single to center field by Franco Valdes, who scored twice in the inning.
After John Barr flied out for the first out, Jarrett Parker, Phil Gosselin and John Hicks hit consecutive seeing-eye singles. Dan Grovatt was walked to force in a run, and Steven Proscia singled to shallow right field for a 4-0 lead.
Danny Hultzen, who was the winning pitcher, walked to force in another run and ended White’s day. White lasted 2 1/3 innings for his shortest outing of the season.
Relief pitcher Brian Moran was unable to get out of the jam. After striking out the first batter he faced, Moran gave up an RBI walk to Valdes. Barr followed with a two-run single to push the lead to 8-0. Parker blooped an RBI single, scoring Valdes, and Gosselin capped the inning with a single to shallow left field, scoring Barr.
Carolina’s lone offense was a home run by freshman Levi Michael in the top of the fifth inning.
Virginia ended the game with two outs in the eighth inning when Carolina reliever Nate Striz walked Scott Silverstein with the bases loaded to score a run and invoke the 10-run mercy rule.
The Cavaliers will face a Duke squad that had a big inning of its own to knock off Clemson.
The Blue Devils pushed across six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to blow a tight 2-1 game open to 8-1.
Providing the biggest spark was Duke First baseman Nate Freiman, who opened the pivotal sixth inning with a solo home run. It was his team-record 20th home run of the season. He also went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
Jeremy Gould, who was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, singled and scored on Jake Lemmerman’s triple. Lemmerman, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and three RBI, came home on a wild pitch off Clemson starter Chris Dwyer to push the lead to 5-1.
After walking Will Piwnica-Worms, Dwyer was relieved by Clinton McKinney, who was unable to pitch out of the jam.
The senior right-hander retired the first batter he faced, but walked Gabriel Saade. Ryan McCurdy followed with a double down the left field line to score Piwnica-Worms. Alex Hassan followed with a two-run single up the middle to cap the scoring.
Duke added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh inning and was a hit away from invoking the 10-run rule, but the Tigers ended the threat with a double play and added three runs in the eighth inning to end Duke starter Andrew Wolcott’s day.
The Duke senior right-hander scattered nine hits over 7 1/3 innings of work to earn the victory.
In Friday’s opener, the Hurricanes had nothing to play for, but Boston College, seeded eighth coming into the tournament, solidified its resume with the NCAA selection committee by going 2-1 in pool play.
The Eagles, whose lone loss was to Florida State, pounded 12 hits in the rout of 23rd-ranked Miami.
Sparking the offense Friday was shortstop Barry Butera, who went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored. He was one of three Eagles to enjoy a mult-hit game against the Hurricanes.
The Eagles jumped on Miami starting pitcher Iden Nazzario with a four-run second inning. Robbie Anston capped the inning with a two-run single.
Boston College added three runs in the fifth inning and the seventh to put away the Hurricanes.
Pat Dean earned the win for the Eagles, scattering eight hits in seven innings of work.
Miami’s lone run came on an RBI single by Scott Lawson that scored Dave DiNatale in the seventh inning. DiNatale opened the frame with a double.