One of the premier conferences in college baseball continued its tournament on Friday, as the round-robin portion of the ACC tournament really began to heat up. There were several intriguing matchups on the day, headlined by streaking Maryland against formidable Florida State to open play and Georgia Tech facing Clemson.
Below, you'll find all of Friday's results, the schedule for Saturday's play and a recap of the completed games. And you can find the full, updated bracket here.
|B||Florida State vs. Maryland||Maryland won, 5-3|
|A||Clemson vs. Georgia Tech||Georgia Tech won, 3-0|
|B||Virginia vs. North Carolina||Virginia won, 3-2|
|A||Miami vs. Duke||11 a.m. ET|
|B||Maryland vs. North Carolina||3 p.m. ET|
|B||Virginia vs. Florida State||7 p.m. ET|
Virginia Knocks off North Carolina, Allowing Maryland to Win Pool
Talk about going out with a bang. In Maryland's last year in the ACC, the Terps are headed to their first conference tournament championship game, per Aaron Schoonmaker of WRALSportsFan.com:
Poetic justice: Maryland will play for the ACC baseball title for the first time ever in their last year in the conference.— Aaron Schoonmaker (@AaronSchoony) May 24, 2014
That was made possible by virtue of Virginia's 3-2 win over North Carolina. The Cavaliers handed the Tar Heels their second loss of pool play, meaning that the Terrapins are through to the final, no matter the result of their game against UNC on Saturday.
Virginia was leading for much of the game.
In the top of the fourth inning, Branden Cogswell scored after Derek Fisher scored on a throwing error. The Cavaliers doubled their lead in the top of the seventh, when John La Prise scored on a fielder's choice.
North Carolina stormed back in the bottom of the seventh, tying the game with a two-run homer from Wood Myers.
A single from Fisher scored Joe McCarthy in the top of the eighth to give Virginia the go-ahead run that sealed the game.
Brandon Waddell pitched five scoreless innings, giving up six hits and striking out seven, and Nick Howard shut the door in the ninth inning.
Georgia Tech Keeps Championship Hopes Alive With 3-0 Win Over Clemson
Clemson could have clinched a spot in the ACC championship game with a win over Georgia Tech on Friday. Instead, the Tigers are out of contention and it is Georgia Tech that may have yet played themselves into the championship game with a 3-0 win.
Dusty Isaacs (5.0 innings pitched, seven strikeouts, four walks) and Sam Clay (4.0 innings pitched, six strikeouts, no walks, save) were the heroes for the Yellow Jackets, holding Clemson to just four hits and no runs. That ruined a strong effort from Clate Schmidt, who allowed just two runs on eight hits and a walk in 8.1 innings pitched.
The Yellow Jackets earned the only run they would need in the fifth, with four straight hits capped by Thomas Smith's RBI single. They would earn two insurance runs in the top of the ninth off the bat of Mott Hyde, who jacked a two-run homer.
So, with two wins in group play, Georgia Tech will now be rooting for Miami to beat Duke, which would send the Yellow Jackets into the championship game. If Duke beats Miami, however, they'll win the three-team tiebreaker between them, Georgia Tech and Clemson based on their regular-season conference record.
Maryland Makes it 11 Wins In a Row, Beats Florida State 5-3
The Terps are red hot, folks, and so was freshman hurler Mike Shawaryn, who threw seven shutout innings to lead Maryland to a 5-3 victory. It was Maryland's 11th straight win and means it'll advance to the ACC championship game out of Pool B with a win over North Carolina on Saturday.
The Terps would also automatically be in the title game if Virginia beats North Carolina on Friday evening.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Maryland is playing this well. Outside of its strong finish to the season, it also isn't intimidated by its first berth in this tournament in nine years, as manager John Szefc said earlier in the week via Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post:
“As far as the lack of postseason experience goes, I don’t think that’ll play into anything,” he said. “We’ve been playing good teams the whole year. It’s not like we’re going into the ACC tournament, playing elite-level teams for the first time. We’ve played them all year. We’ve played in good ballparks.”
So far, so good.
Jose Cuas was the hero for Maryland at the dish on Friday, driving in three runs on the afternoon, including two in the fourth on a bases-loaded double. Maryland scored four runs in the inning and never looked back from there.
The Seminoles made a late push in the top of the eighth, scoring three runs and trimming the deficit to 5-3. ACC Baseball on Twitter recapped Florida State's late comeback bid:
It couldn't get any closer than that, however.
The Seminoles did have the play of the game, however, as DJ Stewart made a heck of a catch in the outfield.
That's just one reason he was the Player of the Year, folks.
Florida State isn't out of the tournament just yet, but it needs a lot to go its way to advance. If North Carolina beats both Virginia and Maryland, and Florida State beats Virginia, that would leave the Seminoles, Tar Heels and Terps tied at 2-1 in group play. The tiebreaker in that case is winning percentage in regular-season play, which would go to Florida State.
So it could still get into the conference championship game, but it's a long shot. At this point, expecting the scalding hot Terps to lose is probably unwise.