May 23, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Senior Jake Davies hit a pair of two-run home runs, and junior Buck Farmer fired six strong innings as Georgia Tech led wire-to-wire to beat No. 1 Florida State, 5-4, in the ACC Baseball Championship opener at NewBridge Bank Park Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C.
The Yellow Jackets improved to 33-24 overall and 1-0 in Pool A with their fifth Top-25 win over the last month. The Seminoles had their four-game winning streak in the Tech series snapped, and slipped to 43-13 and 0-1 in Pool A. Tech and Virginia continue tournament play Friday at 11 a.m.
The first of two Davies’ long balls — an opposite field shot to left — gave the Yellow Jackets a 2-0 lead in the first inning, he homered again – this time to right — to extend the lead to 5-0 in the fifth, and Tech held on with sophomore Alex Cruz closing out his first career save in a key NCAA-resume-building postseason win.
“I would certainly hope it enhances our cause,” said head coach Danny Hall. “Let’s put it that way.”
The victory is Tech’s first win over a No. 1-ranked team since April 10, 2011, an 8-6 victory at Russ Chandler Stadium over Virginia, and the first to open ACC Championship Pool Play since beating NC State, 10-9, in 2008 at the Baseball Grounds in Jacksonville, Fla. Tech had lost three-straight tournament openers since.
Georgia Tech joins NC State (2001) Wake Forest (1985) on the short list of ACC Championship No. 8-seeds that have knocked off the No. 1-seed.
Davies, who was a second-team All-ACC pick at first base, hit his career-best 10th and 11th home runs of the season, and extended his ACC-leading RBI total to 62. Of his 17 career homers, 11 have come with runners on base. Davies also homered twice in an April 29 game versus Clemson.
“After you just sit there and watch your team get the lead, it makes you feel pretty comfortable,” said Farmer, the first-team All-ACC pick, who improved to 1-1 with a career 3.15 ERA versus the Seminoles. “You can throw strikes and know you have your offense behind you.”
Farmer (8-3) gave the White and Gold another strong postseason start by tossing six innings and allowing three hits, three runs, with five walks and six strikeouts. In his three career postseason starts – two in the ACC Championship and one in last year’s NCAA Regional – Farmer is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 23 strikeouts and 15 hits in 21.0 innings.
Tech turned a key 4-6-3 double play after Farmer walked the lead-off man in the second inning, and Farmer was touched up for his three runs allowed after loading the bases with two walks and a hit-by-pitch in the fifth. Davies came up with a key diving stop in the hole on a Sherman Johnson laser that scored one, Devon Travis had an RBI single and James Ramsey made it a 5-3 game with his sacrifice fly.
Cruz dodged a big jam in the seventh by leaving the bases loaded and worked around a one-out single in the eighth. Ramsey, the ACC Player of the Year, hit a solo home run off Cruz to make it interesting with two outs in the ninth, but a fly out from Travis Boyd sealed it.
Mott Hyde’s RBI double in the fourth inning accounted for Tech’s other run in the game.
Sitz (3-3) absorbed the loss after working 4 2/3 innings with five hits and four runs. Four FSU relievers combined to hold Tech to two hits and a run over the final 4 1/3 innings.
The Yellow Jackets’ have now played eight consecutive games decided by two runs or loss, and are 3-5 in those contests.
The Jackets improved to 68-53 all-time in ACC Championship action, and are now 8-6 in tournament play versus the Seminoles.
Senior 1B Jake Davies hit a pair of two-run home runs in the game, to mark his second career two-homer game (April 29, 2012 vs. Clemson). Of his 17 career homers, 11 have come with runners on base.
Sophomore reliever Alex Cruz tossed the final three innings (4 hits and one run) to record his first career save. Cruz is 7-3 in 2012, with all 10 decisions coming in relief.