The Georgia Tech baseball team has one more hill to climb Sunday on an improbable ascent. The Yellow Jackets will play Miami for the ACC championship in Greensboro, N.C., eight days after their spot in the eight-team tournament was secured on the final day of the regular season.
The game will start at noon and will be carried on ESPN2.
The No. 8 seed, Tech upset top-seeded Florida State (the top-ranked team in the country) on Wednesday, beat No. 17 Virginia on Friday and then Clemson on Saturday behind six innings from Jake Davies, who limited the Tigers to two hits in the fourth pitching start of his career.
A team that entered the tournament on the NCAA tournament bubble, Tech can secure its ticket automatically by winning its first ACC title since 2005. The Jackets (35-24) are just the third No. 8 seed to reach the final.
“We didn’t have anything to lose,” Davies said. “Nobody expected us to do anything. We upset the No. 1 seed and then things just kind of fell into place.”
Davies has taken the lead role, hitting four home runs in three games, including a two-run shot in the first inning of Saturday’s game to give the Jackets a lead they never surrendered in their 5-1 win.
Davies is 5-for-11 in the three games with nine RBI and a slugging percentage of 1.636, not a bad addendum to his portfolio before the major league draft begins June 4.
“This is the best I’ve ever seen the ball,” Davies said. “I’m playing probably the best three games I’ve played in my career.”
Freshman Josh Heddinger, who demonstrated his big-game appetite earlier this season with two solid starts against Georgia, is expected to pitch for the Jackets against Miami. The sixth-seeded Hurricanes (36-20) took two of three from Tech on the final weekend of the season, though the three-game aggregate was 14-12 in Miami’s favor.
Including the win over the Hurricanes to secure the No. 8 seed, Tech has now won four games in a row over ACC opponents. Prior to that, the longest winning streak the Jackets put together against ACC competition this season was three games, and did that against Boston College and Duke, neither of which qualified for the tournament.
“Offensively, that’s really what we should have been doing all season,” Davies said. “You know what? You get hot at the right time. That’s what this thing’s about.”