It all comes down to Day 5 of the 2014 ACC baseball tournament to determine which team from Pool A will face Pool B winner Maryland in Sunday's championship.
On Friday, everything worked out in the Terps' favor, as they defeated Florida State by a score of 5-3, increasing Maryland's record to 2-0. The Seminoles dropped to 1-1, and their hopes of a championship were instantly dashed after a win by Virginia in the evening game.
The Cavaliers fended off North Carolina by a score of 3-2, making Maryland impossible to catch in Pool B.
This will be Maryland's first trip to the championship, according to a tweet from Kenny Beck of WXII 12 News:
BREAKING: Virginia beats UNC in ACC baseball tournament, 3-2. This means Maryland will appear in its first ever tourney championship game.— Kenny Beck (@kennybeckWXII) May 24, 2014
It's a completely different story in Pool A.
Georgia Tech and Clemson are finished with 2-1 records, but it all comes down to the 1-1 Duke Blue Devils.
Should Duke win on Saturday, they would move on to face Maryland in the championship. However, if they lose, Georgia Tech would advance due to a head-to-head tiebreaker over Clemson.
Needless to say, we're in for a wild ride.
Let's overview Saturday's schedule and predict how each game will unfold.
Day 5 Schedule
|12||Miami vs. Duke||11 a.m.||ESPN3|
|13||Maryland vs. North Carolina||3 p.m.||ESPN3|
|14||Virginia vs. Florida State||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
Miami vs. Duke
Georgia Tech knows what's at stake here, according to the team's Twitter account:
The Yellow Jackets become big Miami fans now. Tech plays in Sunday's ACC title game if Miami beats Duke tomorrow at 11am. #GoJackets— GeorgiaTech Baseball (@GT_Baseball) May 23, 2014
Duke stepped up in a big way during an elimination game against Georgia Tech on Thursday. After falling to Clemson on Wednesday by a score of 5-3, the Blue Devils remained resilient and blanked the Yellow Jackets 6-0.
Third baseman Jordan Betts reflected on the win during a press conference, via GoDuke.com.
Said Betts, "Yesterday was great – we really controlled the game from the outset. The way Drew [Van Orden] threw, we didn't really give them a chance to get anything going. We'd love to do the same thing tomorrow with Trent [Swart] on the mound."
Miami will start Bryan Radziewski on the mound against Duke on Saturday. The lefty's been solid this season, lowering his ERA to just 1.78.
The last time Duke faced off against Radziewski, the team was able to get runners on the bases but struggled to bring them in.
After watching Duke utilize the long ball so effectively against Georgia Tech, they may not have the same issue this time around.
Duke 5, Miami 2
Maryland vs. North Carolina
Freshman starting pitcher Mike Shawaryn was brilliant for the Terps on Friday. He only allowed two hits in five shutout innings against the Seminoles.
ACC Baseball tweeted Shawaryn's stats for the day:
After leaving the game with Maryland ahead 5-0, Florida State briefly got to the Terps' bullpen, scoring three runs before closer Kevin Moody recorded five consecutive outs to earn the save.
With Virginia getting the best of North Carolina on Friday night, Maryland is automatically in Sunday's championship.
It could be conceived that plenty of starters will be given some rest before the biggest game of the season. If that's the case, the Tar Heels are a good enough team to earn a victory and go home with a slightly better taste in their mouths.
North Carolina 6, Maryland 3
Virginia vs. Florida State
Before the tournament began, this matchup appeared to be a possible tiebreaker for a championship berth. Unfortunately for both teams, it didn't quite work out that way.
Both of these teams feature very talented squads full of solid pitching and plenty of offensive power. Look for both teams to come in and expect to win on Saturday despite lacking a potential championship bid.
Maryland proved to be a thorn in the side of both Virginia and Florida State; however, both teams were able to defeat North Carolina.
The UVa baseball team beat North Carolina 3-2 in the ACC Tournament. Virginia will play Florida State in its final game Saturday at 7pm.— NBC29 (@NBC29) May 24, 2014
This should be a wildly entertaining and close contest, as these squads match up evenly. Although, the nod has to go to the team with the deeper roster and more sufficient time to rest.
Florida State 5, Virginia 4