UPDATE: Georgia Tech will need to beat Clemson Saturday at 11 a.m. (ESPN3, regional sports networks, including Fox Sports South in Atlanta) after the Tigers beat Florida State 9-7 on a three-run walk-off home run. Jon McGibbon’s blast completed a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth. Prior to Friday, the Tigers were 0-21 when trailing going into the ninth inning while the Seminoles were 38-0 when leading going into the ninth.
Georgia Tech pounded a 17-5 lump into Virginia at the ACC baseball tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Friday afternoon. Jake Davies’ three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh ended the game by the 10-run mercy rule. As a result of the Clemson win, Tech can win the four-team pool by beating the Tigers Saturday. A Clemson win would eliminate the Jackets; the winner would either be Clemson or Virginia, pending its Saturday game against Florida State.
Tech’s last appearance in the championship game was 2005, when the Jackets beat Virginia for their seventh title and coach Danny Hall’s third.
The Jackets fell behind 2-0, but then rallied with six runs in the third, knocking out Virginia starter Scott Silverstein. Brandon Thomas’ single, Zane Evans’ double and Mott Hyde’s sixth home run of the year each drove in two.
Tech came back with four more in the fourth to push the lead to 10-3, with Evans’ driving in two more on a single. Tech closed with five runs in the seventh, including Davies’ game-ending shot, his third home run in two games at the tournament.
Tech’s 17-run production was its highest this season and first time in double digits in the past 19 games. Evans had a career-high six RBI.
Starting pitcher Cole Pitts went five innings, giving up two runs on eight hits.
“All year I thought we had a good team even though the wins weren’t always there,” Thomas told reporters in Greensboro. “When we put it all together we’re pretty dangerous. I think we all came up here ready to go and play hard and you’ve seen what has happened.”
It is a remarkable development for the Jackets (34-24), the eighth seed in the tournament. Plagued by injuries to the pitching staff, they didn’t secure their ACC tournament spot until the final game of the season but then upset top-seeded Florida State on Wednesday in the opening game. Virginia is the fourth seed.
If Clemson beats the Seminoles, a Jackets win on Saturday would send them to the title game – Sunday at noon – by virtue of a 3-0 record in pool play. If the Tigers beat Florida State and then Tech, the Jackets would not advance in any tie-breaking scenario.
Regardless, with a win over Florida State (No. 2 in RPI as of Tuesday) on Wednesday and Virginia (No. 14), the Jackets (No. 36 in RPI) would seem to have removed all doubt about an at-large NCAA tournament berth.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog