Baseball Knocks Off No. 3 Florida State, Clinches Title Game Berth
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Virginia earned its second-consecutive win over a top-5 team Friday, as the Cavaliers defeated No. 3 Florida State, 5-3, at the 2008 ACC Baseball Championship at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The win, which clinches Virginia’s spot in the championship game Sunday, came two nights after Virginia upset No. 1 North Carolina, 8-7 in extra innings.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The Seminoles (47-10), who entered with the nation’s most wins, are the tournament’s No. 2 seed, while Virginia (38-19) holds the No. 6 seed. The Cavaliers, who will make their fourth championship game appearance and first since 2005, are looking to become just the third No. 6 seed in tournament history to advance to the championship game. UVa won the tournament title in 1996.
UVa is 2-0 in Pool B and clinched a berth in the championship game at 1 p.m. Sunday after North Carolina’s 2-0 win Friday night vs. Wake Forest. The Cavaliers next play the No. 7-seeded Demon Deacons at 8 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised by SportSouth and SUN Sports, while the radio broadcast is available on WINA (1070-AM).
Virginia’s Jacob Thompson (Jr., Danville, Va.) went five innings, allowing two earned runs, five hits and two walks while striking out six. He improved to 6-4 this season as he increased his school-record career win total to 27. ACC ERA leader Matt Packer (So., Germantown, Tenn.) worked the next three innings before Michael Schwimer (Sr., Alexandria, Va.) pitched the ninth to earn his ACC-best 13th save.
Ryan Strauss (8-1) started for Florida State and was lifted after the game went into a 53-minute lightning delay in the fifth inning. He pitched four innings and gave up four earned runs, four hits and a walk while striking out three.
David Coleman (Fr., Richmond, Va.) recorded a career-high three hits and made two highlight-reel catches in one of his best games as a Cavalier. Jeremy Farrell (Jr., Westlake, Ohio) and Phil Gosselin (Fr., West Chester, Pa.) each added two hits as the Cavaliers racked up 11 hits. Dan Grovatt (Fr., Tabernacle, N.J.) added a double and two RBI. Tony Delmonico went 4-for-4 to lead the Seminoles.
Florida State scored first in the game, taking a second-inning lead on an RBI double by Delmonico.
Virginia came back to score three in the third inning. John Barr (Fr., Ivyland, Pa.) and Tyler Cannon (So., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) hit consecutive singles to lead off and put the runners at first and third. Greg Miclat (Jr., Concord, N.C.) then lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Barr.
After a Coleman single, David Adams (Jr., Margate, Fla.) grounded to first baseman Dennis Guinn, who bobbled the ball and then tried to throw Cannon out at the plate. The throw was tardy and allowed Cannon to slide in safely and give UVa a 2-1 lead. One batter later, Grovatt grounded out to score Adams and push the advantage to 3-1.
The Seminoles scored a run in the fourth on a Stuart Tapley sacrifice fly. Coleman made a sensational catch on the play as he caught the ball in foul territory while running into the wall and then flipping into the stands.
Virginia tacked on a run in the fifth inning. Adams led off with a walk and following the lightning delay, he moved to third on a Jeremy Farrell (Jr., Westlake, Ohio) single. Grovatt then lofted a sacrifice fly to center to push the lead to 4-2.
FSU played small ball to get a run back in the seventh. Tapley led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. A Tyler Holt groundout moved Tapley to third, and Jason Stidham brought the runner home with a groundout.
The Cavaliers got that run back in their half of the seventh, as Miclat hit a two-out single to right field to score Franco Valdes (So., Miami, Fla.).
In the eighth, the Seminoles put the leadoff man on before Guinn launched a deep flyball into right-center. Coleman tracked the ball down and made his second phenomenal catch to save extra bases and keep the lead in tact at 5-3.