Day 3 of the 2014 ACC baseball tournament promised to bring about some highly anticipated action, as No. 6 Maryland faced off against No. 3 Virginia, No. 4 Duke took on No. 9 Georgia Tech and No. 1 Miami met No. 5 Clemson.
Thursday's action certainly lived up to its billing.
Both Duke and Miami entered the day attempting to avenge some tough losses from Wednesday's contests while Georgia Tech and Clemson looked to keep their hot streaks alive.
The competition is stiff, and that's been clear over the first couple days of the tournament, as only one game was decided by more than three runs.
Here's a look at Thursday's final scores, followed by recaps of all three games.
Day 3 Scores
|ACC Tournament: Thursday's Scores|
|6||Maryland vs. Virginia||Maryland, 7-6|
|7||Duke vs. Georgia Tech||Duke, 6-0|
|8||Miami vs. Clemson||Clemson, 3-2|
Day 3 Recaps
Clemson 3, Miami (Florida) 2
The top-seeded Hurricanes suffered yet another loss to drop to 0-2 and last place in Pool A—something that could not have been foreseen before this tournament began.
Tyler Slaton scored the winning run in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the ninth Thursday, as Clemson emerged victorious 3-2 thanks to an RBI single by Steve Wilkerson. ESPNU's Roy Philpott observed how the victors have had a flare for the dramatic lately:
TigerIllustrated.com's Larry Williams noted how the Tigers seemed to be gaining steam in improving to 2-0 in the tournament:
It looked as though Miami would surge ahead after plating two runs in the top of the third to get on the scoreboard first, but Clemson slowly yet surely climbed back into the contest against its favored foe. The hard work culminated in a huge triumph, as the Tigers are now drawing close to winning the pool and getting to the conference championship game.
Friday's showdown with No. 9 seed Georgia Tech, who is coming off a 6-0 loss to the Duke team Clemson beat in the opener, will only feed the Tigers' confidence. As for the Hurricanes, this has to be a devastating blow that will be difficult to recover from, as their showing as the No. 1 team has been such a disappointment.
Duke 6, Georgia Tech 0
The day's second game shifted in a dramatic way from what we've seen to this point.
Duke appeared unstoppable both offensively and defensively in a rout against Georgia Tech.
This came as a surprise after Georgia Tech put on two stunning efforts in wins against Wake Forest and top-seeded Miami.
The afternoon's contest began as a pitcher's duel, as neither team was able to get on the board through the first three innings.
After that, Duke's firepower was well on display.
In the top of the fourth inning, Ryan Deitrich blasted a solo shot out of the park. That home run marked his ninth of the year and put Duke on top 1-0.
Stephen Wiseman of The Herald-Sun tweeted Deitrich's prowess in the tournament:
It didn't take long for the Blue Devils to pile it on, as just one inning later, Andy Perez recorded a solo shot of his own, as Duke took a 2-0 lead.
Jordan Betts added to the total in the sixth, ripping a two-run shot to left field.
In the eighth, Mark Lumpa's two-out RBI double brought in Matt Berezo, giving the Blue Devils a 5-0 cushion heading into the ninth inning.
Deitrich continued to show up in a big way throughout the game. His fourth hit of the game brought home Betts which increased Duke's lead to 6-0.
Drew Van Orden was back on the mound in the ninth inning and finished off the Yellow Jackets on his way to a complete game shutout including eight strikeouts.
Wiseman tweeted Van Orden's final numbers:
According to a tweet from Duke Baseball, this was Van Orden's first career shutout:
The pitcher spoke of his performance during a press conference with TheACC.com after the game:
Couldn't have come at a better time. I struggled the last two weeks a little bit so it was good to try and come back and give the team everything I had and give them a chance to win. It was great out there. The defense played great behind me, and the coach called great pitches so everything was working.
Duke appears to be a very strong contender going forward after the team's bats came alive on Thursday.
The Blue Devils will attempt to continue their surge on Saturday against No. 1 Miami while Georgia Tech will look to rebound on Friday against No. 5 Clemson.
Maryland 7, Virginia 6
The Terps got off to a hot start on Thursday, as Charlie White blasted a solo shot to start the game. This leadoff homer ended up being an omen of what was to come.
After Virginia was blanked in the first inning, Derek Fisher quickly changed his team's fortunes with a two-run shot in the second, as the Cavaliers took a 2-1 lead.
A pitching duel in the third and fourth innings stalled the scoring briefly, but that changed in a big way over the remainder of the game.
After two runs on a pair of doubles by the Terps in the fifth, Virginia tied it up once more, according to an enthusiastic tweet from ACC Baseball:
Each team scored one run in the sixth, as the game remained tied heading into the seventh inning. This would be the last time the score would remain even.
Using the long ball once more, the Terps took a two-run lead after a home run from Kevin Martir in the top of the seventh.
LaMonte Wade added to Maryland's lead, blasting his second solo home run of the day in the eighth inning.
A tweet from Virginia Baseball noted the power shown by the Terps on Thursday:
Virginia was left with plenty of work to do entering the ninth down, 7-4.
At first, it appeared as though the Cavaliers would answer the challenge. Joe McCarthy blasted a huge two-run shot with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
Unfortunately, that would be it for Virginia, as Maryland pitcher Kevin Mooney looked sharp and earned the save, ending the game with a final score of 7-6.
Maryland coach John Szefc spoke about his team's success at the plate during a press conference with TheACC.com, "We are not a home run hitting team but obviously this ballpark plays differently than our home ballpark does. We were able to take advantage of it. You don't normally go out and expect to score seven runs against Virginia."
After the game, SportsTalk tweeted an interesting statistic for this year's tournament:
We'll find out if that trend will continue soon enough.
Day 4 Schedule
Friday's action should be just as action-packed as Thursday's. Florida State, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Virginia and North Carolina are all slated to take the field.
The tournament has been highly unpredictable to this point, and that trend should continue on Day 4. Here's a look a what's in store for us on Friday:
|ACC Tournament: Day 4 Schedule|
|Game||Matchup||Time (ET)||Viewing Info|
|9||Florida State vs. Maryland||11 a.m.||ESPN3|
|10||Georgia Tech vs. Clemson||3 p.m.||ESPN3|
|11||Virginia vs. North Carolina||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
The complete tournament schedule can be found at TheACC.com.