ACC Baseball Tournament Day 6 & Postseason Selections

Championship Game: Seminoles take down NC State to win their sixth title

NC State: 2

Florida State: 6

In a matchup few predicted, Florida State won the war of attrition known as the ACC championship. Love it or hate it, pool play can be tough on players as they don’t often play 4 games in as many days. Both teams looked fatigued on Sunday, but Florida State found a way to play through it.

John Sansone got the Seminoles’ offense started with a 3 run homer that just barely made it over the blue monster. NC State was able to respond in next inning on a confusing play that probably should have been ruled an infield fly. Florida State had few problems against NC State starter Johnny Piedmonte. He left the game after only 3.1 innings after allowing 4 earned runs. On the other side, Florida State relievers Boomer Biegalski and Billy Strode combined for 5.2 innings with only 1 hit. Florida State added 2 more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, then sealed their victory with another in the seventh.

NCAA Tournament

7 ACC teams earned bids to the NCAA baseball tournament. Here’s where they are:

Louisville – #1 seed in their own Louisville regional

Miami – #1 seed in their own Coral Gables regional

Notre Dame – #2 seed in the Champaign regional hosted by Illinois

Florida State – #1 seed in their own Tallahassee regional

Clemson – #3 seed in the Fullerton regional hosted by Cal. St. Fullerton

NC State – #2 seed in the Ft. Worth regional hosted by TCU

Virginia – #3 seed in the Lake Elsinore regional hosted by UC Santa Barbara

North Carolina was also listed as a “last 4 out.”

ACC Baseball Tournament: Day 5

One of the downfalls of pool play is that it can often lead to pointless games later in the week. While Saturday’s early game was essentially a semi-final, the other two meant nothing. Still, teams can use these games to build momentum for the NCAA tournament.

Game 12: Florida State grabs their spot in the Championship

Louisville – 0

Florida State – 6

The two teams were in a 0-0 deadlock for most of the game. Florida State finally broke the tie in the top of the sixth inning when they scored three runs which would have been enough to beat the Cardinals.

But the Seminoles added two more runs in the seventh and another in the eighth to seal their victory. Both teams posted similar stats including 8 runners left on base. The only difference between the two was the way Florida State capitalized on their opportunities later in the game.

Game 13: A reversal of fates gives Miami a win over the Irish

Notre Dame – 5

Miami – 6

Not even 24 hours after a tough loss in extras to NC State, the Hurricanes took the field looking to regain some confidence for the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth and hoped that was enough. Trailing by one, Christopher Barr wasted no time tying the game. He homered on just the 5th pitch of the inning.

Miami would go on to load the bases with one out and Brandon Lopez at the plate. Lopez singled to right-center field to drive in the winning run. This time, it was Miami walking off with the win.

Game 14: Even with some key players out, NC State cruises past UVA

NC State – 10

Virginia – 2

Coming off their big win the night before, NC State got a chance to rest some of their stars. Even with those guys out, the Wolfpack scored an even ten runs on the way past Virginia. The Cavaliers took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but NC State quickly responded with two runs of their own to take the lead.

Virginia tied up the game in the sixth, but NC State responded with eight runs which all but ended the Cavs chances at picking up a win. The Wolfpack improve to a surprising 3-0 on the tournament, which no one expected. Equally surprising is Virginia’s 1-3 performance. After their 11-0 rout of Georgia Tech, they almost topped Miami early in the week. They just never found a way to finish off these close games.

ACC Baseball Tournament: Day 4

Another day of the ACC baseball tournament is in the books and it was a wild one. Notre Dame won their first tournament game, UNC improved their tournament resumé, and NC State punched their ticket to the championship game with an extra innings thriller.

Game 9: Irish notch their first tournament victory

Notre Dame – 8

Virginia – 2

Cavan Biggio made up for his quiet Thursday with a couple of RBI’s that played a big roll in his team’s 8 runs. That ended up being more than enough as Notre Dame cruised to pick up their first ACC baseball tournament win.

Virginia had a tough time doing anything on offense against Ryan Smoyer, who only gave up four hits through his six innings of work. They started out down early and never really had a chance to get back. UVA scored two runs in the third which cut the lead to just 1, but allowed the small innings to add up.

Notre Dame gets Miami at 3pm and Virginia faces NC State in the night game.

Game 10: UNC makes strong case for NCAA with win

Clemson – 3

North Carolina – 6

Though it was a meaningless game in terms of ACC tournament, both Clemson and UNC came into the tournament needing some resumé boosts to get in the NCAA tournament. Clemson might have got theirs yesterday with their win over Louisville. UNC on the other hand, only had a win over Virginia Tech in the play-in.

The Heels were able to run away the game early after taking a 5-0 lead after the fourth inning. Skye Bolt drove in four runs in part due to his 3-run home run. Though the score tells a different story, Carolina always seemed to have the game under control.

Both teams will have completed their games in the tournament and await their NCAA selections.

Game 11: NC State advances to the ACC Championship game with a wild win

Miami – 4

NC State – 5

As the 6 seed, even the most loyal NC State fans probably didn’t believe their team would be the first in Sunday’s title game. As a matter of fact, the Wolfpack didn’t lead in this game until Preston Palmeiro’s walk-off double.

After Andrew Knizner tied the game up in the ninth inning, Palmeiro stepped in as the first batter in the bottom of the twelfth.

He drove the second pitch of the inning off the blue monster in left. Carl Chester fielded it, but threw it past the second baseman. Palmeiro rounded third and looked to have been thrown out at the plate, but Zack Collins couldn’t handle the throw and the Wolfpack mobbed Palmeiro.

Miami finishes their tournament Saturday against Notre Dame. NC State plays a meaningless game against Virginia, and I wouldn’t expect to see too many regulars playing. They will play the winner of Saturday’s FSU/Louisville game on Sunday.

ACC Baseball Tournament: Day 3

The day began in slow fashion as a heavy rain storm lead to a long rain delay. After two-and-a-half hours of waiting around, NC State and Notre Dame took the field for the third day of the ACC Tournament.

Game 6: Brown strikes out 10 as the Wolfpack blank Notre Dame

NC State – 3

Notre Dame – 0

Brian Brown fanned an even ten batters as he and Curt Britt combined to shutout the Irish. 15 NC State came roaring out of the gate with three runs in the first 2 innings, which ended up being plenty to secure the win over Notre Dame.

Scott Kerrigan turned in a decent outing allowing 3 runs through 5 1/3 innings. The lack of run support hurt him the most. The Irish mustered only 3 hits in the entire game and never could figure out NC State’s pitchers.

Notre Dame faces Virginia in the morning game Friday while NC State plays the night game against Miami.

Game 7: Tigers rough up Funkhouser for a big win

Louisville – 2

Clemson – 7

Clemson found their bats this time around and at a good time. Facing virtual elimination, the Tigers posted seven runs off of nine hits on Louisville’s ace, Kyle Funkhouser. On the other hand, the Cardinals couldn’t get anything going. They only scored one run through the first eight innings and never really found an answer for Clemson.

The Tigers were also helped by a great performance by starter Zack Erwin. 11 strikeouts and no walks though his eight innings effectively shut down the Cardinals’ offense.

Clemson plays North Carolina Friday afternoon and Louisville gets a day off.

Game 8: Seminoles strike early, cruise past Tar Heels

Florida State – 8

North Carolina – 4

Playing their third game in as many days has taken a toll on North Carolina. A tough loss to Louisville the night before didn’t do much to help their spirits. With Clemson’s win, UNC needed to win to have any hope for an ACC Championship.

Florida State jumped out to an early lead and never really looked back. They scored a run in the first inning, two in the second, and added another in the third. Mike Compton took a perfect game into the fourth inning, but finally handed the ball to Dylan Silva who worked out of danger. The Heels answered in the sixth, but never really threatened the FSU’s lead.

UNC takes the afternoon game Friday against Clemson and FSU well get their day off.

Standings

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Clemson and UNC are now eliminated from championship game contention. The winner of Saturday’s Louisville/Florida State game will advance to the championship game.

The other side is a bit more complicated. Game 9 (UVA/ND) will act as an elimination game. Miami or NC State could clinch tomorrow with a win and some help. NC State would need Virginia to lose and Miami would need a loss from Notre Dame. Stay tuned to The Confidential for updates.

ACC Baseball Tournament: Day 2

After two crazy games on Tuesday, it looked like this was shaping up to be a very exciting tournament. Day 2, the first day of pool play, did not disappoint with several back-and-forth games.

Game 3: Florida State holds off Clemson’s late rally

Clemson – 1

Florida State – 3

In a slow game dominated by pitching, Florida State did just enough to pick up an early lead in the tournament. The game was scoreless until the Seminoles broke the game open with a three run inning. DJ Stewart came through with two outs with a triple off the wall. A single later drove in Stewart, and FSU took a comfortable 3-0 lead.

But that lead was anything but safe as Clemson had multiple chances to get back in the game. The Tigers left ten runners on base which ended up being the difference in the game. Clemson even loaded the bases at one point, but Dylan Sylva from FSU was able to force a double play to get out of the jam.

Both teams will be back in action tomorrow as Clemson will face top seeded Louisville at 3pm. Florida State plays the night game against UNC.

Game 4: Miami’s strong bats prove too much for the Cavaliers

Virginia – 5

Miami – 9

A quick run in the first inning gave Miami an early lead. They were able to keep that through the first five innings. Everything was going well until Kenny Towns sent a 3 run home run over the blue monster to give UVA a 3-2 lead. They might have added more if not for a spectacular diving catch by Ricky Eusebio.

The top of the eighth inning was more of the same as Virginia opened a 5-2 lead. Connor Jones pitched a stellar game for the Cavs, but his bullpen didn’t hold up. He left with a 5-2 lead after going seven and a third innings. But the Hurricane’s bats could not be kept quiet much longer. As soon as Jones left, they batted around to score seven runs and take a 9-5 lead and eventually win the game.

Both teams get the day off tomorrow, but on Friday,  UVA will play Notre Dame and Miami faces NC State.

Game 5: Louisville scores 7 unanswered, overtake Tar Heels

North Carolina – 4

Louisville – 7

A lead-off home run from Tyler Ramirez got the UNC offense rolling. They went on to load the bases in the first, the Heels couldn’t capitalize and ended the inning with just a 1-0 lead. They added a few more in the top of the third, and led 4-0.

Louisville chipped away at the lead with 2 runs in the fourth, 1 in the fifth, and finally broke it open with 4 runs in the sixth. Louisville’s bullpen continued to look strong as they didn’t give up any runs. Closer Zack Burdi threw a perfect ninth with two strikeouts.

Both teams are back in action tomorrow as Louisville faces Clemson and UNC plays the nightcap against Florida State

Highlights of the 2014 BCS Discover Orange Bowl

 

1.       Winning the 2014 BCS Orange Bowl—Awwwww yeah! It literally came down to the last minute when Ohio State was down 40-35 with the ball at the 50 yard line. Braxton Miller threw a beautiful interception, caught by Clemson’s own Stephone Anthony. This sealed the deal for the Tigers and bonus points: Urban Meyer didn’t react by punching Anthony in the throat.

2.       Tajh Boyd—In his final game as a Clemson Tiger, Tajh went out with a bang. As Dabo Swinney said, “He put an exclamation point on his legacy.” Tajh finished the game with five touchdowns and 505 all-purpose yards, 78 more yards than the Ohio State Buckeyes. We’re really going to miss his leadership and I can’t wait to see him play on Sunday’s.

3.       Dabo Swinney—You could probably make a highlight reel of just Dabo after the game, he was animated to say the least. Personally, his best moment was this magnificent sound bite, “we are the first team from the state of South Carolina to ever win a BCS game”. Ah yes, not only did we get the sweet victory but getting to rub it in Steve Spurrier’s face doesn’t hurt either. For whatever reason, if any Gamecocks are reading this, I say, suck it up. Spurrier is no angel in this fight. You’re mad because Dabo’s comment was the truth and it was said on a bigger national stage. You know, seeing as it was the stage of a BCS Bowl. BOOM, roasted.*

4. Sammy Watkins—Saving the best for last. Sammy set an Orange Bowl record with 16 receptions and a Clemson and Orange Bowl record with 227 receiving yards. He was unbelievable. With an average of 14.2 yards per catch, he was Tajh Boyd’s go to receiver and his talent is going to be greatly missed. As a true junior, Sammy has declared for the NFL Draft. While we’ll miss his lightning speed and magnetic hands, he’ll represent Clemson well in the NFL next season.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Clemson Defense—While the score might reflect a shootout, it was truly entertaining watching the Tigers contain Ohio State QB, Braxton Miller, to a mere 35 yards rushing. They completely shut him down on the ground. With 18 carries, he rushed an average 1.9 yards per carry, his lowest of the season.
  • Santa Claus—if you read my last article, the only thing on my Christmas list was a Clemson win. Ole’ Saint Nick pulled through. Thanks big guy.
  • The Referee’s—One song comes to mind when trying to describe the officiating from Friday night, “these boys can’t hold us back, these boys can’t hold us back, we too deep (ay, ay)”. The anthem of a generation Clemson Football. Good try ref’s, you’ll need some more flags to stop this excessive celebration.

Check out the video here:

 

 

*Let the record show I have a much deeper opinion on this matter but for lack of reader attention span will not disclose it here.

Louisville Spring Football Game

The Sugar Bowl Champion Louisville Cardinals held their annual spring game this past Saturday in front of a Louisville record crowd of 33,000 fans at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. The Red team was fueled by a 27 point offensive explosion in the 2 qtr that included 2 rushing TD by junior Domonique Brown and 2 passing TD by junior QB Teddy Bridgewater. The Red team went on to defeat the White team 34-7 as the White team lone score came off of a 30 yard fumble recovery by senior LB George Durant on the defensive play of the game.

Despite the Heisman buzz surrounding Teddy Bridgewater don’t expect a media campaign from U of L. Soft spoken Teddy prefers to let his performance on the field speak for himself and to keep the focus on the team. Teddy completed 16 of 20 passes for 214 yards and 2 TD and yet gave himself a ‘C’ rating. “There’s always room for improvement,” Teddy explained to reporters after the game. “An ‘A’ is just doing everything right: footwork, being spaced out, throwing the ball on time, no incompletions. Just being perfect.” Teddy’s pursuit of perfection could lead him to better his 3700+ yards passing last season, a possible Heisman trophy and perhaps a shot at the national championship.

Junior Domonique Brown led the running attack in absence of senior Senorise Perry and sophomore Corvin Lamb with 79 yards on 9 carries 2 TD and caught 6 passes for 30 yards. He suffered a knee injury last August and sat out the season. He told reporters after the game Saturday that he wanted to play in the Sugar Bowl so badly that he would have been willing to waive his redshirt and give up a year of eligibility just to play in that one game. Brown showed improved burst through the hole, quicker feet and showed signs of being more than just a power back. Redshirt freshman Brendon Radcliff gained 56 yards on 5 carries.

Junior DeVante Parker hauled in 4 receptions for 102 yards, 44 yard long, and a TD. Parker led this deep and talented group of receivers with 10 TD last season and Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson says he is ready to go to the next level.

Teddy should once again have ample targets which will include the TE playing a big roll as well. Watson said Teddy will be backed up by freshman Will Gardner who he said has taken a step ahead of everybody else. Will went 10-16 for 85 yards and 1 TD.

6 defensive lineman missed the game but junior Lorenzo Mauldin looked unstoppable with 5 tackles, 2 sacks and 2.5 TFL. You can expect to see 8 players across the front which is a rarity for Louisville. With multiple players out on both the DL and LB positions it is hard to tell how good the defense will be but they should be deep at both of these positions.

Sophomore Jermaine Reve looks to be the front runner to replace All Big East cornerback Adrian Bushell, the only defensive starter lost from last season. Reve showed his versatility last season when he played 4 positions in 1 game. Junior DB Calvin Pryor has made it clear that he expects to enter the NFL draft at the end of the season so developing players at the safety position will be a key point of emphasis.

The 2 biggest questions going into next season will be depth on the OL and special teams play. Louisville will kickoff their season August 31 in PJCS against Ohio. They are poised to start the season ranked in the top 10 and should be favored in all of their games playing next season in The American Conference before joining the ACC in 2014. ESPN College Football Live stopped in Louisville on Monday and broke down the Cards chances of winning the national championship and Teddy Heisman campaign. Louisville worked hard to improve their schedule after the Sugar Bowl victory but negotiations with programs like Texas A&M and Wisconsin among others fell through.

“It was electric in here,” Louisville head coach Charlie Strong said after the game. “It was great for our players. They know this: They’ve got this city behind them, they have all the fans behind them and they enjoyed it.”