Fear not, for the 2014 ACC tournament has plenty of twists and turns left for its final day with the top spot in Pool A still up for grabs.
Clemson could've wrapped up the pool on Friday if it beat Georgia Tech. Instead, the Tigers fell, 3-0, meaning that if Miami beats Duke on Saturday, the Yellow Jackets will win the pool. The Blue Devils own the head-to-head advantage by virtue of their win over Tech on Thursday:
The Tigers came into the game with one of the most potent offenses in the ACC, but the bats went cold on Friday. Clemson could only muster four hits, two of which came from Garrett Boulware.
That wiped out what was a strong pitching performance from Clate Schmidt, who threw 8.1 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits.
"I thought Clate did a great job for us, went out and pitched in a great situation and gave us everything he had, put us in a position to win," Clemson head coach Jack Leggett said, per Sara D. Davis of theACC.com. "We could just not get anything going offensively."
Georgia Tech's win was the biggest surprise in what proved to be an unpredictable Day 4 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
In the first game on Day 4, No. 2-seeded Florida State fell 5-3 to Maryland, putting the Terrapins in the driver's seat for Pool B.
Mike Shawaryn pitched a gem for the Terps, going seven scoreless innings. The freshman right-hander came of age, and Maryland head coach John Szefc thought it was Shawaryn's best performance in his brief college career.
"That was probably as good of an outing as Mike Shawaryn has had throughout the whole year," he said, per Davis. "When you look at the fact that he threw 73 strikes and 116 pitches. He's been doing that for us the whole year, pretty much, not really shocking."
With Virginia's 3-2 win over North Carolina, the Terrapins booked their place in the championship game.
|2014 ACC Tournament Results—Day 4|
|9||Maryland 5, Florida State 3|
|10||Georgia Tech 3, Clemson 0|
|11||Virginia 3, North Carolina 2|
|2014 ACC Tournament—Day 5 Schedule|
|12||11 a.m.||No. 1 Miami||No. 4 Duke||Fox Sports|
|13||3 p.m.||No. 6 Maryland||No. 7 North Carolina||Fox Sports|
|14||7 p.m.||No. 3 Virginia||No. 2 Florida State||Fox Sports|
No. 1 Miami vs. No. 4 Duke
What in the world is happening with Miami? The Hurricanes are the top seed in the ACC tournament and sit 12th in the RPI. However, they've lost their first two games and have no shot at making the title game on Sunday.
With nothing to gain on Saturday, the Canes could pack it in against Duke. Their focus may shift to the College World Series.
Or Miami could relish the chance to play spoiler and eliminate Duke from the tournament. As mentioned earlier, the Blue Devils can make it to the championship game with a win on Saturday.
The Hurricanes will have to shut down Ryan Deitrich. The senior outfielder is a combined 6-for-9 in Duke's two wins. He's also hit four home runs in his last four games:
Miami will likely have an eye toward the CWS, making it rather easy for the Blue Devils.
Winner: Duke, 4-1
No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 7 North Carolina
Maryland has been nothing if not efficient so far. The Terps were outhit 12-8 by Virginia on Thursday but walked away with a 7-6 win. Then they scored five runs on seven hits in their win over Florida State.
Timely hitting is always key in postseason baseball, and Maryland is getting it in spades.
Most encouraging for the Terrapins in their victory over the Seminoles was Jose Cuas and Brandon Lowe putting it together offensively. The duo went hitless against the Cavaliers but followed up that disappointing performance with two hits apiece against FSU. Cuas also drove in three runs.
North Carolina, on the other hand, is showing why it's only a No. 7 seed. The Tar Heels have been a pretty bad road team, going 8-12 during the regular season. Outside the friendly confines of Boshamer Stadium, they aren't the same strong unit they are in Chapel Hill.
The Terrapins should continue their run in Greensboro.
Winner: Maryland, 3-1
No. 3 Virginia vs. No. 2 Florida State
D.J. Stewart and John Nogowski have been two of the Seminoles' biggest hitters all season long, but so far in the ACC tournament, they've had only two hits, both of which were courtesy of Nogowski.
Florida State was a bit lucky against North Carolina in that it got a lot of production from the bottom and top of its order. The Nos. 1, 2, 8 and 9 batters knocked in six of the Noles' seven runs against the Heels.
When the heart of FSU's batting order struggled again against Maryland, it didn't get the same kind of help.
Stewart and Nogowski are too good to have three bad games in a row. The latter leads the team in runs batted in, and the former was the conference player of the year:
The Seminoles should get the job done on Saturday, but it won't be enough to win the pool.
Winner: Florida State, 5-2
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