The Seminoles swept the Yellow Jackets in the regular season and lost only six conference games this year, but that dominance was not evident in the ACC Baseball Tournament opener.
Scott Sitz was touched up early on a two-run homer by Jake Davies as Georgia Tech (33-24 overall, 12-18 ACC) shocked No. 1 Florida State (43-13, 24-6) in a 5-4 win Wednesday afternoon at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro.
Davies followed that home run with another two-run home run in the fifth inning. The senior first baseman stole the show with a 2-for-3 day at the plate with two home runs, two runs, four RBI and a walk.
“It was really big for us to get the lead early,” Jackets coach Danny Hall said. “Jake’s home run certainly gave us some momentum.”
While Davies was crushing the ball at the plate, Buck Farmer was dealing on the mound for Georgia Tech. Farmer threw four scoreless innings before losing some control in the fifth inning, walking two batters.
A two-run RBI single by Devon Travis and a sacrifice fly by ACC Player of the Year James Ramsey put the Seminoles on the board with three runs in the fifth. Farmer would settle down in the sixth and throw another scoreless inning before being replaced by Alex Cruz.
Despite a shaky fifth inning, Farmer finished the game with six strikeouts, five walks and just three earned runs on three hits through six innings. Farmer said a lot of his confidence came from the Jackets jumping out to an early lead in the first.
“It’s comfortable when you sit and watch your team get a 2-0 lead right off the bat,” the junior right-hander said. “It makes a pitcher feel comfortable to know that you can go out there and throw strikes and have your offense behind you.”
Following the shaky performance by Sitz, sidearm pitcher Gage Smith was able to quiet the Jackets offensively through the sixth and seventh innings.
Florida State had runners on second and third when the Jackets walked walk Jayce Boyd to load the bases with two outs. The decision paid off, as Cruz got Stephen McGee to ground out to short on a fielder’s choice that ended the inning.
Cruz coasted through the eighth inning unscathed but gave up a home run to James Ramsey in the ninth. With a chance to tie things up, Jayce Boyd drove the ball to deep left center field but was just short as the Seminoles dropped the first game of the tournament.
Though Davies made a comment that he felt like Florida State was overlooking them by starting Sitz, not one of their normal weekend starters, Seminoles coach Mike Martin said his team has played a lot of baseball and wanted to rest his normal starters for his Friday and Saturday games.
“We threw our third starter because he was rested,” Martin said. “We will pitch [Brandon] Leibrandt on Friday, which is on schedule, and [Mike] Compton will start on Saturday.”
While the Seminoles will likely be a national seed heading into the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 team in the country, the Jackets needed a win over Florida State as they are still fighting to claim a spot in the tournament.
“I would certainly hope getting this win enhances our cause,” Hall said with a laugh. “A win here certainly increases our chances to get an at-large bid.”