ACC Baseball Tournament Day 2: Big innings power top seeds

Tuesday provided a second straight day of fantastic baseball in Durham, North Carolina, as the top seeds found a way to come up with important victories in pool play. Here’s everything you need to know about what transpired in Day 2 of the ACC Tournament.

Three run third inning leads Florida State to 3-1 victory over Clemson

DURHAM, N.C. — A two run RBI triple in the third inning by DJ Stewart (Yulee, Fla.) was all No. 16 Florida State would need as they cruised to a 3-1 victory over Clemson to go to 1-0 in pool play in the ACC Tournament at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Matthew Crownover (Ringgold, Ga.) allowed only three hits and three runs in seven innings of work; all coming in the third inning for Clemson. He also recorded eight strikeouts in the tough luck loss, just his second loss of the year.

“I can’t let Stewart beat me and I made the mistake of giving up two hits and walking two other guys. I can’t let him [Stewart] beat me, I have to try and beat the other guys in their lineup,” said Crownover of Stewart’s third inning triple. “I felt like I was out of sorts there [in the third inning] for a while, my four seam was cutting on me, I tried to get ahead early but I kept falling behind batters early on. I really should have done a better job of damage control but a good team beat me,” added Crownover.

Despite the Florida State offense being held in check for most of the game, the Seminoles just needed one inning to do their damage, and that was their three run, third.

“I had two strikes on me and I was thinking opposite field so I was looking fastball away and he threw it to me and I tried not to do too much with it and hit it that way,” said Stewart. “A pitcher like Crownover, he doesn’t give you many opportunities and you have to capitalize on those opportunities and fortunately I was able to get some runs for Boomer [Biegalski].”

In a 3-1 pitchers duel you can’t forget about Florida State starter Boomer Biegalski (Tallahassee, Fla.) who scattered four hits over 6.1 innings pitched, striking out seven batters.

Biegalski has gone at least five innings in every one of his starts this year which has been a huge help to Seminoles head coach Mike Martin and his pitching staff.

“It does an awful lot for our bullpen when you don’t have to use three or four guys,” said Martin on Biegalski’s ability to go deep into games.

Clemson scored their lone run in the eighth inning on an RBI groundout by Chris Okey (Mount Dora, Fla.), but they could never get that big hit, leaving a total of nine men on base in the game.

“I felt like I was locating better and getting ground balls and the guys playing behind me helped out a lot,” said Biegalski.

The Seminoles improve their record to 38-19 on the year while Clemson falls to 31-26 on the season. The Tigers will play Louisville tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 and Florida State will play North Carolina tomorrow at 7 pm.

Seven run eighth inning propels Miami past Virginia in comeback win

A seven run eighth inning propelled No. 9 Miami Hurricanes past No. 24 Virginia 9-5 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park yesterday afternoon.

David Thompson’s (Miami, Fla.) two run single in the eighth inning put Miami back in front with a 6-5 lead. The big inning was punctuated by a three run home run by Garrett Kennedy (Davie, Fla.) and gave Miami the 9-5 victory.

“Coach Morris brought us together and told us right before the inning started and told us, you know, we can score some runs here. we’ve just got to stay confident stay positive and have some fun and that’s what we did,” said Thompson “Jacob [Heyward] did a great job of getting the inning started and we just kept pouring it on from there.”

Thompson has an NCAA best, 80 RBI so far this season which is fifth most in a single season at Miami.

“The hitting is contagious Jacob getting it going and Chris Barr hitting it into the gap, we are kind of up there getting good swings on the ball and we were able to score some runs,” said Kennedy.

As good of an inning it was for Miami it was just as much a nightmare for Virginia who squandered a three run lead and a golden opportunity to put themselves in good position to possibly play on Sunday. Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor isn’t discouraged by the bullpen’s implosion.

“I was just hoping they would hit right at somebody, maybe they would roll into a double play but the guys that we put in the game are guys that have gotten the job done for us all year long and they will get the opportunity again. I had confidence in them and when you are playing a really good offensive team like Miami, you have got to make your pitches, and when you don’t make your pitches, they are going to make you pay and certainly Miami did,” said O’Connor.

The bullpen collapse spoiled a fantastic start by Connor Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) who went 7.1 innings and gave up just two earned runs and seven strikeouts and received a no-decision.

Virginia took the lead with one swing of the bat in the sixth on a three run home run from Kenny Towns gave the Cavaliers a 3-2 lead. They added two more insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning to extend their lead to 5-2 after a two run double by Joe McCarthy (Scranton, Pa.).

“Yeah those two runs were huge for us. The more insurance runs you can get makes it that much better for us,” said Jones.

Unfortunately for Virginia those two insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning weren’t enough as the Hurricanes came back with seven runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth to take a 9-5 lead and ultimately the game.

However a missed opportunity this game may be for Virginia, they aren’t going to dwell on this loss.

“Obviously we’re going to take the loss hard but we still got to go out there and we’ve still got two games left to play and we have to take those games just as seriously as this one,” said Towns.

“We’re not going to hang our heads about it and we are going to come back and be ready to compete on Friday,” Jones added.

With the win Miami improves to 43-13 and have now won 13 games in a row. Virginia falls to 34-20 on the season. Both teams have Thursday off and will play again on Friday. Virginia will face Notre Dame in the first game Friday morning at 11:00. Miami will play NC State Friday evening at 7:00.

Louisville comes from behind to beat Tar Heels 7-4

North Carolina squandered a four run lead as No. 5 Louisville was able to come from behind and defeat the Tar Heels 7-4 in the final game of the second day of the ACC Baseball Tournament at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

A four run sixth inning proved to be the difference in the ballgame as Louisville sent nine men to the plate to take the lead. Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.) gave the Cardinals the lead in the sixth when his two run RBI single broke the 4-4 tie and gave Louisville the 6-4 lead.

“Sutton is one of the faces of this team, he [Josh] Lucas and [Mike] White are the three position players that have led us all year,” said Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell.

North Carolina took an early 1-0 lead when Tyler Ramirez (Suffolk, Va.) lead off the ball game with a home run down the right field line. The Tar Heels then loaded the bases with no outs in the inning but were unable to score anymore runs in the frame leaving the bases loaded.

“That was huge,” said McDonnell. “Sean [Leland] was struggling and we were very fortunate because they could have put up a big crooked number there early. It kept our kids fighting and didn’t take the wind out our sails giving up only one run in the first.”

That wasted bases loaded opportunity in the first inning ended up coming back to hurt the Tar Heels big time.

“We missed an incredible opportunity in the first two innings that somewhat has been a tale of our season, where we had a chance to go up two or three runs early. We did end up having a big inning but we could have had more than one, and I think you have to in order to beat a team like Louisville,” said North Carolina head coach, Mike Fox.

North Carolina added three more runs in the third inning to take a 4-0 lead, but that was all that they could score as they were held scoreless for the final six innings. The Tar Heels left a total of nine men on base and five in the first two innings.

A big part of Louisville’s comeback was freshman Brendan McKay (Darlington, Pa.) who went 4-for-4 with two singles, a home run and a double, two RBI’s and two runs scored. McKay started the comeback with a two run home run in the fourth inning.

“I was just trying to get pitches to hit honestly. Corey Ray has been on me trying to get me to hit more line drives,” said McKay.

“McKay’s two run home run just gave us life,” said McDonnell. “The way that Benton just rolled through the first three innings, someone had to break the seal. The combination of McKay’s home run and [Lincoln] Henzman putting up zeros really kept us in the ballgame and we didn’t have to panic.”

Freshman Lincoln Henzman (Louisville, Ky.) came into the game in the third inning and pitched six scoreless innings to keep the Cardinals in the game. The six innings pitched is the longest outing of his career.

Benton Moss (Enfield, N.C.) pitched 5.1 innings and gave up three earned runs and was charged with the loss. His seven strikeouts in the game gave him 318 in his career, and is second all-time at North Carolina for most strikeouts in a career.

With the win, Louisville improves to 43-14 on the year and North Carolina falls to 33-23 on the season. Louisville will take on Clemson Thursday afternoon and North Carolina will have a tough test against No. 16 Florida State Thursday evening.

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