GREENSBORO — For Virginia pitcher Artie Lewicki and his teammates, Saturday’s 7-0 win over Florida State was anything but a “meaningless” game.
Both teams, which have combined to win the last three ACC Tournament championships, went into the game knowing they were eliminated from qualifying for Sunday’s noon championship game. Eighth-seed Georgia Tech already wrapped up their pool berth with a win over Clemson.
But Lewicki (4-2), a sophomore, pitched like the title was on the line. He threw seven strong innings against the heavy hitting Seminoles. He gave up three singles, two walks, and one hit batsman, and did not allow any of the runners to reach second.
The Cavaliers staked Lewicki to a 1-0 lead in the fourth and then poured on six more runs in the bottom of the seventh before Virginia coach Brian O’Connor turned the game over to his bullpen in the top of the eighth.
“I’m as proud of this team as I have been all year,” O’Connor said. “To lose the game the way we did [Friday] and to start the game knowing your title shot is gone, for our guys to come out and play the way they did I think really shows the kind of ballclub we have.”
The Cavaliers used four singles, three walks, and an error to post their six runs in the seventh. Rightfielder Colin Harrington, who drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly, had his second straight three-hit game.
O’Connor said he hopes his team’s late success, 14 wins in their last 17 games, helps his team get a high seed in the NCAA Regionals.
Florida State, ranked No. 1 in the country, made history by being the first No. 1 seed to go 0-3 in the conference tournament.
“We had a good ballgame going, but Virginia messed it up with a six-spot in the seventh. They just beat us, no excuses. This was not a meaningless game, no games are,” Seminoles coach Mike Martin said.
Florida State junior Devon Travis thinks his team will bounce back next week in Regional play.
“Definitely frustrating, but we’ve got a group of guys who have been through it before,” Travis said. “Two years ago we got swept at Clemson and then ended up going to Omaha. You’ve got to go out everyday and compete, get it done. We can turn it around.”