Florida State feels right at home in Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Seminoles, who won the ACC tournament here a year ago, rolled to their second victory in Pool A via the long ball, with John Sansone hitting his second of the tournament and Dylan Busby also blasting a two-run shot.
The Seminoles’ win eliminates No. 5 seed N.C. State from a chance at the tournament championship. The Wolfpack lost 7-3 to FSU Wednesday and faces Miami Thursday night.
Fourth-seeded Florida State (36-19) will meet Miami at 3 p.m. Saturday with a berth in Sunday’s championship game at stake. Ninth-seeded Georgia Tech (36-22), which plays N.C. State at 7 p.m. Friday, suffered its second loss in pool play and was eliminated from championship consideration.
Freshman right-hander Cole Sands (5-6) pitched five strong innings for the Seminoles, allowing a first-inning run and three hits. Junior right-hander Jim Voyles pitched three innings of three-hit shutout relief, and Chase Haney worked a perfect ninth.
The Seminoles struck for two quick runs in the first inning off Georgia Tech junior right-hander Zac Ryan (3-3) when Sansone singled with one out, Jackson Lueck walked, and Cal Raleigh delivered an RBI single to right.
Lueck, who went to third on Raleigh’s hit, scored when Raleigh was caught stealing. Lueck managed to cross the plate well before Georgia Tech second baseman Wade Bailey chased down Raleigh for the tag.
Georgia Tech got a run back in its half of the first when Connor Justus singled, advanced on two ground balls and scored on Kel Johnson’s sacrifice fly.
But in the third Sansone clubbed his ninth homer of the season, a two-run shot to left field that hit the office building behind an outdoor café, 400 feet away.
Busby followed suit in the seventh inning, scattering café patrons with a two-run rifle shot off reliever Keyton Gibson for his ninth of the season.
Clemson 5, Virginia 4
Clemson squandered a three-run lead but rallied for the winning run in the ninth inning when Chase Pinder delivered a clutch sacrifice fly, lifting the sixth-seeded Tigers to a 5-4 victory over third-seeded Virginia in the ACC baseball tournament Thursday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Clemson, which has won seven in a row, will play second-seeded Louisville at 11 a.m. Friday, and UVa, which had won 10 of 11, will play 10th-seeded Wake Forest at 3 p.m. Friday.
No. 12 Clemson (39-18) manufactured the game-winner in their Pool B opener off Tyler Shambora (5-1), the second of three UVa pitchers, when Chris William led off with a single off the glove of third baseman Justin Novak, and Mike Triller walked on four pitches. Tommy Doyle relieved for Virginia, and Andrew Cox moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt before Pinder jumped on a 1-1 pitch and drilled a sacrifice fly to deep center.
No. 7 Virginia (36-19) threatened in the bottom of the ninth when pinch hitter Kevin Doherty reached on an infield single and continued to second on a throwing error. But Clemson closer Pat Krall (9-1) retired Cameron Simmons on a foul to first and Ernie Clement on a liner to short to end the game.
Clemson got to UVa junior right-hander Connor Jones, a first-team All-ACC pick, for four runs in his six innings. The Tigers broke on top 1-0 in the second when Chris Okey drew a leadoff walk and scored one out later on Weston Wilson’s double into the left-field corner.
Daniel Pinero got the Cavaliers even in their half of the second when he drilled his second home run of the season off Clemson left-hander Charlie Barnes, leaving the 3,259 fans wondering whether he could collect on his steak for hitting the Durham Bull behind the left-field Monster.
Clemson jumped back on top 3-1 in the fifth when designated hitter Mike Triller – batting a lofty .160 entering the game and making only his third start of the season -- hit an opposite-field homer into the left-field netting, his second this year, following a walk to Williams.
The Tigers added another run in the inning when Pinder walked with two outs, advanced on a balk and wild pitch, and scored on Eli White’s double to left center.
UVa closed to within 4-3 in the sixth. Matt Thaiss led off with a single to center, and Pavin Smith doubled to the wall in left center. Both runs scored on sacrifice flies by Pinero and Adam Haseley.
Thaiss pulled the Cavaliers even leading off the eighth when he hit his 10th homer of the season off Krall into the right-field seats.