May 30, 2004
Most Valuable Player Shane Robinson drove in three runs and Mark Sauls pitched six strong innings as Florida State defeated Georgia Tech, 17-5, to win the 2004 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
Both teams were announced Sunday as host sites for NCAA Regionals, which begin Friday.
The Seminoles (42-20) won the tournament by advancing through the loser’s bracket. Florida State fell to top-seeded Georgia Tech (41-19) Friday night, but then came back to defeat North Carolina, 8-7 in 11 innings, Saturday afternoon before snapping the Yellow Jackets’ 20-game winning streak with an 8-7, come-from-behind victory Saturday night. That forced Sunday’s second championship game.
Florida State scored four times in the second inning and three times in the third, taking a 7-2 lead that took the pressure off Sauls (6-4), allowing him to throw strikes and let his defense do most of thework.
Pitching three days after he went five innings and threw 73 pitches against Duke, Sauls lasted six innings, allowing seven hits and five runs, only three earned, while walking one and striking out none.
He left leading 11-5. Matt DiBlasi finished for his second career save.
Aaron Cheesman had four hits and scored three times, Robinson knocked in runs in his first three at-bats and Eddy Martinez-Esteve homered for the second consecutive game as the Seminoles had 20 hits.
Robinson was 11-for-26 with six RBIs in the tournament and also made several dazzling catches in centerfield to earn the MVP honors.
After Georgia Tech scored twice in the bottom of the first on a double by Tyler Greene and Micah Owings double-play grounder, the Seminoles scored the next 11 runs and scored in seven of the next eight innings.
Blake Wood (1-2), making only his fourth start of the season for the Yellow Jackets, allowed five runs in two-plus innings and got the loss.
“What we have to understand now is that if we lose two games from here on out, we are done playing,” said Tech head coach Danny Hall. “We have things we have to be better at. The disappointing thing for me is the way our defense played the last couple of days. That has been a strong point for us all year. We definitely have to make sure we are playing better defense. Everybody has to play well offensively and on the mound.”
Outfielder Clifton Remole was Tech’s lone representative on the all-tournament team.
” As soon as I walk in there (locker room) I’m going to tell the guys to flush the last two days. Let’s go back to work and point to next weekend,” said Hall.