Huber Leads Duke To Series Win Over Georgia Tech

aroundtheacc3ACC Baseball Standings (Rankings from NCBWA poll, April 8)

Atlantic Division
#6 Florida State – 27-5 (10-5)
Clemson – 21-11 (9-6)
#20 NC State – 24-10 (8-7)
Maryland – 16-15 (4-11)
Wake Forest – 17-17 (4-11)
Boston College – 5-25 (0-14)

Coastal Division
#1 North Carolina – 29-2 (12-2)
#5 Virginia – 30-3 (12-3)
#19 Georgia Tech – 23-9 (9-6)
Duke – 19-14 (8-7)
Virginia Tech – 21-12 (7-8)
Miami – 21-14 (6-9)

Duke 2, Georgia Tech 0
Georgia Tech 2, Duke 1
Duke 3, Georgia Tech 0

It was not a great week for the Yellow Jackets. After losing 10-1 to Mercer last Tuesday, Georgia tech lost two of three against the Duke Blue Devils over the weekend, as their typically-explosive offense scored just two runs all series.

Pitching performances were the story of the weekend. On Friday, Duke’s Trent Swart (8.0 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 6 SO, 1 BB) was able to outduel Buck Farmer (8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 7 SO, 0 BB). However, it was junior Blue Devil Robert Huber who turned in the best performance of the series and earned ACC Pitcher of the Week honors. After Georgia Tech’s win on Saturday, Huber took the mound in Sunday’s rubber match. The right-hander pitched a shutout, striking out seven Yellow Jackets and allowing five hits. The big weekend moved Duke into fourth place in the Coastal Division, ahead of Virginia Tech.

NC State 8, Virginia Tech 7 (14)
NC State 13, Virginia Tech 4
NC State 7, Virginia Tech 3

NC State swept Virginia Tech in Raleigh this weekend, knocking the Hokies from the national rankings in the process. There was no lack of drama in the series, however, starting on Friday night. The Wolfpack held a 6-2 lead after five innings, but the Hokies rallied with three runs in the sixth and two in the eighth. After nine innings, the score was level at seven runs apiece. It stayed that way until the bottom of the 14th inning, when NC State third baseman Grant Clyde singled, advanced to second on an error, moved to third on a balk, and scored on a wild pitch.

Virginia Tech took the early leads on both Saturday and Sunday. In game two, the Hokies scored two runs in the third inning and added two more in the sixth to lead 4-2. However, the Wolfpack tacked on seven runs (all with two outs) in the home half of the sixth en route to a 14-3 victory. In the finale, Virginia Tech had an early 2-0 lead, but fell behind 3-2 after the third inning. A Brendon Hayden sacrifice fly in the seventh tied the game, but the Wolfpack put together a four-run eighth inning to secure the sweep.

Virginia 7, Wake Forest 6
Virginia 8, Wake Forest 6
Virginia 9, Wake Forest 7

The theatrics were not limited to Raleigh. Virginia and Wake Forest played three close games this weekend, but the visiting Cavaliers came away with all three to stay within half a game of North Carolina in the Coastal Division standings.

In the opener, Wake Forest assumed a 6-1 lead after a five-run fourth inning highlighted by a three-run homer by outfielder Joey Rodriguez. The Hoos scratched home a run in the seventh before unleashing a five-run inning of their own in the ninth, complete with a Mike Papi grand slam, to take the 7-6 win. Virginia rallied again on Sunday, falling behind 6-3 but eventually winning 8-6 after a two-run blast from Reed Gragnani in the eighth inning.

The two teams took the national stage on ESPNU Monday Night to close the series. UVa hurler Nick Howard didn’t allow a hit for his first 5 1/3 innings while his offense staked him to a 3-0 lead. However, Wake Forest scored three unearned runs against Howard in the sixth inning to tie the game. Virginia again pulled off the win late, scoring six runs over the eighth and ninth innings and holding off a last-ditch Wake Forest rally to win 9-7.

Florida State 4, Miami 2
Miami 6, Florida State 0
Florida State 5, Miami 1

The Seminoles bounced back from two losses against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg last weekend, claiming two of three games from rival Miami in Coral Gables. Sophomore Giovanny Alonzo doubled and freshman John Sansone singled to drive in two runs in the ninth inning of Friday’s opener to give Florida State a 4-2 win. However, the ‘Noles had no answer for Miami’s Bryan Radziewski on Saturday. The junior southpaw tossed seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out eight Florida State batters as Miami won 6-0.

This set the stage for a Sunday finale with a conference and rivalry series on the line. Scott Sitz was up to the task, as he has been all season. The senior pitched eight shutout innings, striking out five Hurricanes without a walk and allowing six hits. This led the way to a 5-1 Florida State win and dropped Sitz’s ERA to 0.57, fourth-best amongst qualifying pitchers in the NCAA and tops in the ACC.

North Carolina 12, Maryland 4
North Carolina 5, Maryland 3
North Carolina 8, Maryland 4

The Tar Heels maintained their grip on the number one ranking in the nation, sweeping the Maryland Terrapins at home this weekend. Cody Stubbs led the way for the Tar Heels, earning ACC Player of the Week honors. The senior first baseman was 4-for-11 at the plate, scoring two runs and driving in seven more for North Carolina during the series, including a home run in the Sunday finale.

Another player who had a strong weekend was freshman Trent Thornton. Thornton has been a mid-week starting pitcher for most of the season, but his sub-1.00 ERA merited his involvement in the weekend. Thornton came out of the bullpen as the closer in Saturday’s 5-3 win, striking out two Terrapins to record the save. He was brought in during the fifth inning Sunday, relieving starter Hobbs Johnson. Thornton pitched the remaining 4 1/3 innings in long relief, allowing seven hits but not a single run. When designated hitter Landon Lassiter moved to shortstop in the seventh inning, the Tar Heels forfeited the DH, which led to Thornton grabbing a bat for the first time in his collegiate career during the eighth inning. Naturally, he singled up the middle on a 1-2 fastball.

Clemson 7, Boston College 5
Clemson 9, Boston College 2
Clemson 1, Boston College 0

Boston College remains winless in ACC play, as Clemson swept the Eagles in Chestnut Hill. Leading the way offensively for the Tigers were Tyler Slaton and Shane Kennedy. Outfielder Slaton was 8-for-12 out of the leadoff spot for Clemson and scored three runs, including a triple in the Friday opener. Meanwhile, Kennedy was 4-for-12 with two runs scored and three runs batted in, while not committing a single error manning third base for the Tigers.

On Sunday, freshman Matthew Crownover had arguably the best outing of his young career. Crownover pitched 6 1/3 innings in the finale, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out four batters. For a pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery during his senior year of high school, it was a great outing which could be a precursor of future success.

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