Sixth-seeded Clemson and fourth-seeded Florida State will play for the ACC baseball tournament championship.
Clemson scored the winning run on a bases-loaded wild pitch with two outs in the ninth inning to edge 10th-seeded Cinderella team Wake Forest 5-4 in Saturday’s first game.
In the second game, Dylan Busby drove in the game-winner with a walk-off bases-loaded single through a drawn-in infield to send the 11th-ranked Seminoles past top-seeded and second-ranked Miami 5-4. Busby went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a two-run homer and had three RBIs.
The title game will begin at 10 a.m. in Durham Bulls Athletic Park after it was moved up from a noon start because of the threat of inclement weather. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
However, Clemson coach Monte Lee was looking ahead to Monday’s noon selection show for the NCAA Tournament, which begins next weekend. Lee thinks his 12th-ranked Tigers are deserving of a national seed.
“I think we’ve done a really good job of controlling what we can control,” Lee said. “Are we a national seed? We can’t determine that. But I know this: If you look at our top-50 wins, top-100 wins, it’s hard I think for anybody to say that Clemson doesn’t deserve to be one of the top eight national seeds.”
Clemson picked up its third win in the tournament in Pool B, breaking a 4-4 tie in the ninth on a bases-loaded wild pitch by Wake reliever Parker Dunshee, the third pitcher of the day for the 10th-seeded Deacons (34-25).
With one out, Seth Beer was hit by a pitch from Dunshee (9-5), the starter and winner of Tuesday’s play-in game against Duke, for the second consecutive at-bat. Chris Okey, 0-for-9 in the tournament to that point, doubled to left center, and Reed Rohlman was walked intentionally to load the bases.
Weston Wilson fouled out to first, but on an 0-2 count Dunshee threw a wild pitch up and in to Chris Williams that allowed pinch runner K.J. Bryant to slide across with the winning run ahead of Dunshee’s tag.
Clemson had rallied from a 4-1 deficit after Wake sophomore right-hander Drew Loepprich stymied the Tigers on an assortment of sinking fastballs and slow breaking stuff, allowing only four hits and one run through six innings.
“I thought from an approach standpoint today out of the three games that we’ve played in, he made it the toughest on us to have a sound approach because his fastball was moving so much,” Clemson coach Monte Lee said.
Loepprich struck out six, walked two and hit a batter before turning the game over to sophomore right-hander Donnie Sellers, who was making his third appearance in the tournament in four days.
The game turned in an instant.
The first batter Sellers faced, Clemson DH Mike Triller, lofted his second pitch over the left-field wall for his second home run of the tournament, cutting the Wake lead to 4-2. Triller had narrowly missed a homer in the third when his RBI double hit high off the wall. He was hitting only .179 entering the game, although three of his six hits this season were home runs.
“It’s going to be sad when we leave this ballpark,” Triller said, drawing laughter from the media. “There’s got to be a magnet or something over there that’s drawing the ball over there.”
It got worse for Sellers. He walked pinch hitter Jordan Greene on four pitches, and Chase Pinder blasted a game-tying home run 412 feet over the left-field wall, sending the assembled Tigers fans in the crowd of 4,417 into hysterics.
Lee added, “I think one of the things that was critical for us was our bullpen. Pat Andrews and Pat Krall did a really, really good job, and we played really good defensively from the seventh inning on.”
The win went to Krall, (10-1), a junior left-hander who threw 2 1/3 innings of one-hit shutout relief. He and Roberts combined for 5 2/3 shutout innings after starter Alex Eubanks was touched up for four runs.
Wake picked up a run in the second when Will Craig led off with a walk, went to third on a single to right center by Gavin Sheets, and scored on a groundout.
But the Deacons went up 4-1 and chased Eubanks with three runs in their half of the fourth. Craig and Sheets opened the inning with singles, and they moved up on a sacrifice.
Ben Breazeale doubled to right center to score two, and he came home on Johnny Aiello’s single to left center.
Florida State 5, Miami 4: Florida State (37-19) will be playing for its seventh ACC title, having won here a year ago.
FSU’s Quincy Nieporte delivered a tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh inning to give the Seminoles a 4-2 lead, but Miami tied it in the top of the ninth when by Edgar Michelangeli grounded a two-run bases-loaded single with one out.
Miami scored single runs in the second and fourth off FSU freshman left-hander Tyler Holton (3-3). He went a career-high seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits. He struck out nine and walked two.
Willie Abreu and Randy Batista produced the first run with back-to-back doubles. In the fourth Batista was credited with a triple when FSU center fielder Ben DeLuzio lost his deep fly ball in the sun. Jacob Heyward drove in the run with a single.
Miami’s sophomore lefty Michael Mediavilla lasted six innings, yielding Dylan Busby’s two-run homer in the fourth among his seven hits.
But FSU got to reliever Frankie Bartow to take a 4-2 lead in the seventh. John Sansone was hit a pitch for a school-record 62nd time, and after an infield out Cal Raleigh was walked intentionally. Nieporte then drove a two-run single to the wall in right center but had to leave the game with a pulled hamstring.
Holton gave way to senior left-hander Matt Kinney after Carl Chester led off the eighth with a single.
Tyler Warmoth started the ninth for FSU, but the Seminoles closer hit a batter and issued two walks to load the bases with one out before Chase Haney took over on the mound.
Edgar Michelangeli grounded a two-run single past short to tie the score, but Warmoth struck out Chester and was relieved in turn by Alec Byrd to face the lefty Christopher Barr, who lined out to center.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jackson Lueck reached on a swinging bunt single against Devin Meyer (1-1) the fifth Miami pitcher, and Cal Raleigh walked. Nick Graganella, who was trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt, walked, but Ben DeLuzio grounded into a force play.
That set the stage for Busby, who singled past short with the infield in to win it. Alec Byrd (1-0), the fifth FSU pitcher, earned the win by getting the last out in the ninth.