The penultimate day of action at this year's ACC tournament will see the final participant in Sunday's championship game settled early, with the winner of Louisville vs. Florida State taking the crown in Pool A.
Saturday lost some drama thanks to North Carolina State securing a spot in the championship game with a win over No. 2 seed Miami on Friday night. The Wolfpack's run has certainly been a surprise, with a 32-20 overall record (16-14 in the ACC), and they have a chance to win their first tournament title since 1992.
Even though the two late games won't determine which teams will play for a title, there are NCAA tournament seeds and slots on the line for Miami, Notre Dame and Virginia.
Here's a recap of the ACC tournament action from Saturday as it goes final.
|2015 ACC Tournament Results - May 23|
|Game||Matchup||Result/Start Time (ET)|
|12||No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 4 Florida State||Florida State def. Louisville 6-0|
|13||No. 2 Miami vs. No. 3 Notre Dame||Miami def. Notre Dame, 6-5|
|14||No. 6 North Carolina State vs. No. 7 Virginia||North Carolina State def. Virginia, 10-2|
|Pool A||Championship||Pool B|
|No. 4 Florida State (3-0)||No. 6 North Carolina State (3-0)|
|No. 1 Louisville (1-2)||No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 6 North Carolina State||No. 2 Miami (2-1)|
|No. 5 Clemson (1-2)||No. 3 Notre Dame (1-2)|
|No. 8 North Carolina (1-2)||No. 7 Virginia (0-3)|
|2015 ACC Championship Game Schedule|
|Date||Matchup||Start Time (ET)||Location||Network|
|Sunday, May 24||No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 6 North Carolina State||1 p.m.||Durham, North Carolina||ESPN2|
North Carolina State def. Virginia
North Carolina State didn't need to win Saturday to ensure passage to the conference championship game, but it went ahead and hammered Virginia 10-2 anyway.
The score is somewhat deceiving as the Cavaliers were down just 2-1 heading into the top of the eighth. Then the Wolfpack scored eight runs and cruised to the victory.
Virginia went ahead 1-0 in the first after Adam Haseley doubled and scored on two fielder's choices. Joe Dunand canceled out the run on a fielder's choice in the top of the second, and Ryne Willard came on on a sacrifice fly to give the Wolfpack a 2-1 lead.
The game was an example of one team taking advantage—NC State—with runners on base and another failing to capitalize on its opportunities—Virginia. North Carolina State's 10 runs came on just nine hits, while the Cavaliers scored their two runs on eight hits. The Wolfpack were also helped out by the six walks issued by Virginia pitchers.
The best aspect of the game from an NC State perspective might be the fact that Ryan Williamson went seven innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and striking out six Cavs batters. As Pack Pride noted before the game, a solid start from the sophomore lefty was far from a sure thing:
Bubby Riley was the offensive star of the game, going 2-for-4 and driving in five runs. Four of those runs came on a grand slam in the top of the eighth. NC State was up 5-2 at that point, and Riley's drive effectively put the game out of reach.
Joe Giglio of the News & Observer in Raleigh ventures to bet that Virginia will be happy to see the last of Riley, who has now victimized the Cavaliers twice this year:
Meanwhile, the Wolfpack have been the biggest surprise of the ACC tournament so far, and they may very well walk out of Durham, North Carolina with their first conference title since 1992.
Miami def. Notre Dame
Miami's ACC tournament ended with a bang after closer Bryan Garcia and some bad ninth-inning defense gave Notre Dame a brief moment of hope.
Miami head coach Jim Morris had a quick hook for starter Enrique Sosa, who gave up two runs (one earned) on one hit and three walks in 1.2 innings. The Hurricanes bullpen had a solid day overall by allowing one run on five hits in 7 innings before Garcia came in.
Ryan Bull tied the game with a double that scored Conor Biggio and Robert Youngdahl singled to left and an error let him advance to second while Torii Hunter Jr scored the go-ahead run.
The Hurricanes tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on Christopher Barr's leadoff homer, his first of the year, off Notre Dame closer Brad Bass. They won it when Zack Collins, who had a huge game, scored on a bases-loaded single by Brandon Lopez.
Jeff Fischel of The ACC Digital Network tweeted out video of the bull inside the Durham Bulls Athletic Park going off after Barr's blast:
Miami catcher Zack Collins went 2-for-2 with two walks, three RBI and a solo home run. Jesse Burkhart of FanGraphs provided the visuals from Collins’ homer in the fifth inning to tie the game at three:
Michael Mediavilla appeared as though he was going to be the Hurricanes' hero, coming on with one out in the seventh inning and a runner on third base. The left-hander struck out Bull and Ryan Lidge to preserve the tie and set up Collins for his heroics.
Garcia would relieve him and not record an out against three hitters before Cooper Hammond came in to stop the bleeding for Miami.
A win would have helped Notre Dame's case with the NCAA tournament selection committee, to go along with a 36-21 record. The Irish do have the benefit of a sweep over Florida State, which will play in the conference title game on Sunday, in April working in their favor.
The Hurricanes' spot in the NCAA tournament has been secure for a long time, though they may have missed out on a chance to host a super regional by not winning the conference tournament.
Florida State def. Louisville
The upsets keep coming in the ACC tournament, as top-seeded Louisville will have to wait for the NCAA selection committee to determine its fate after Florida State ended the Cardinals' hopes of winning a conference title for the first time since 2009.
Despite the final margin of victory for Florida State, this was a close battle most of the way. The Seminoles broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with three runs off Louisville starter Brendan McKay, one of which was unearned following an error by second baseman Sutton Whiting.
Ben DeLuzio was the offensive star for Florida State in the win, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and the dagger with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth.
As Ira Schoffel of Warchant.com noted on Twitter, DeLuzio's hot streak couldn't have come at a better time for Florida State:
The sophomore came into Saturday's game hitting .228 with one home run. DeLuzio talked about the adjustments he's made in the ACC tournament following the Seminoles' win over North Carolina on Thursday, per Steve Phillips of ACC.com.
"I watched film [Thursday] morning and we saw that my hands were a little farther back than they should be," DeLuzio said. "So we just kept them close to my body, keep them quiet. And I just try seeing the ball well."
It's safe to say DeLuzio's adjustments and work with the coaching staff have paid off at exactly the right time.
Florida State also got a strong effort from starter Drew Carlton, who went seven shutout innings with just five hits allowed and four strikeouts. Per ESPN Radio 97.9 in Tallahassee, the freshman right-hander lowered his ERA by more than half of a run:
Louisville doesn't have a lot of positives to take away from this effort. The Cardinals won the ACC regular-season title and were ranked fourth in the most recent coaches poll, but a 5-5 mark over their last 10 games leaves a lot of questions heading into the NCAA tournament.
The biggest problem for the Cardinals, as Eric Crawford of WDRB in Louisville noted, has been an inability to hit with runners in scoring position:
Even though this isn't how Louisville wanted to end the season, it's still in line to host one of this year's regionals and possibly one of the eight national seeds to host a super regional.
Florida State will take on North Carolina State on Sunday, with the winner securing an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. The Seminoles won two of three games against the Wolfpack in the regular season.