Pinder’s Slam Lifts Hokies Over Cavaliers

Chad Pinder hit the 21st grand slam in ACC baseball tournament history to lead the Hokies to a 10-1 win.
Chad Pinder hit the 21st grand slam in ACC baseball tournament history to lead the Hokies to a 10-1 win.

Pool A
#4 NC State – 1-0
#1 North Carolina – 0-0
#8 Miami – 0-0
#5 Clemson – 0-1

Pool B
#6 Virginia Tech – 1-0
#7 Georgia Tech – 1-0
#2 Florida State – 0-1
#3 Virginia – 0-1

Georgia Tech 4, Florida State 3: Florida State reliever Robby Coles had saved nine games in 2013, pitching 31 innings in the regular season without allowing a single home run.  Then Wednesday happened.

With the Seminoles leading Georgia Tech 3-2 thanks to heads-up baserunning by freshman DJ Stewart to tag up from third on a shallow fly ball fielded by second baseman Brandon Thomas, Coles came out of the bullpen looking for another save.  Instead, A.J. Murray and Mott Hyde delivered back-to-back two-out solo home runs to give the Yellow Jackets a 4-3 victory.

The late-inning drama overshadowed what had been an excellent pitching duel between Buck Farmer and Scott Sitz.  Sitz struck out six Yellow Jackets over seven innings, while Farmer fanned eight Florida State batters in seven innings of work.  Both pitchers received no-decisions after a pair of Seminole sacrifice flies tied the game in the bottom of the sixth.

Instead, the win will be credited to Daniel Palka. The conference’s leading home run hitter moved from right field to the mound for his sixth pitching appearance of the season.  Palka did allow the inherited Stewart to score in the eighth inning on Marcus Davis’s sacrifice fly, but he retired the Seminoles in order in the ninth to preserve the win.

Hyde, a junior shortstop, also had an RBI single in the fourth inning. He finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs batted in.

Virginia Tech 10, Virginia 1: Virginia has won the last two ACC Baseball Championships held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. If they are going to make it three, they will have to beat Georgia Tech and Florida State, and get a little help as well.  Virginia Tech routed the Cavaliers 10-1, behind a big day from shortstop Chad Pinder.

Pinder hit a two-run homer in the second inning as part of a six run outburst for the Hokies in the frame.  It appeared Virginia might answer with a rally of their own in the bottom of the second after an RBI triple by Kenny Towns.  However, Pinder threw out Towns at home on a grounder to short to limit the damage, preserving a 6-1 Hokie lead after two innings.

Pinder was limited to a measly double in the fourth inning, and a pair of groundouts failed to score him.  The junior had no such issues in the sixth inning, as he launched a grand slam to left to give the Hokies a 10-1 advantage.  Pinder’s slam was the 21st in ACC baseball tournament history and the first since Miami’s Zeke DeVoss hit a grand slam against Boston College in the 2010 Tournament.

Left fielder Tyler Horan also had a strong outing, batting 3-for-5 with a double.  Every Hokie starter recorded a hit in the game except for right fielder Andrew Rash. Rash was 0-for-5, reaching base twice on errors.

NC State 6, Clemson 3: A four-run seventh inning lifted NC State over Clemson in Wednesday’s nightcap, giving the Wolfpack a 6-3 win.

Before the seventh, Clemson ace Daniel Gossett had been tossing a gem. Through six innings of work, Gossett struck out six NC State batters, allowing two runs.  NC State jumped on Gossett following the seventh-inning stretch, as a pair of two-RBI base hits from Jake Fincher and Brett Austin gave the ‘Pack a commanding 6-2 lead.

Shane Kennedy’s legs generated the first run of the game for Clemson.  The junior reached base on a fielder’s choice to beat out a double play in the second inning, then stole second and third base in succession before scoring on a passed ball.  However, Grant Clyde homered in the home half of the second to tie the game, 1-1.

Austin also factored in to NC State’s fourth-inning run, reaching on an error by Clemson second baseman Steve Wilkerson to allow Jake Armstrong to score.  Clemson had an opportunity to take a commanding lead in the sixth, loading the bases with no outs to chase NC State hurler Brad Stone from the game.  Instead, reliever Josh Easley coaxed a double play from Garrett Boulware, which plated Maleeke Gibson from third but ended the threat.

Easley pitched the final four innings of the game, allowing just one earned run (a Boulware solo home run in the ninth to make it 6-3) and striking out three.

Today’s Games: Virginia will look to rebound and keep their championship hopes alive with a win over Georgia Tech … Coastal Division champions North Carolina will begin their tournament after getting Wednesday off, opening against No. 8 seed Miami … Virginia Tech hopes to keep their bats hot against Florida State under the lights.


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