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ACC Baseball Weekend Roundup: Virginia takes GT series

Miami's Yasmani Grandal is one of the very best Catchers in College baseball.
Miami's Yasmani Grandal is one of the very best Catchers in College baseball.

The headline matchup of the weekend was the powerful Yellow Jackets traveling to Charlottesville, and Virginia came out ahead with a 2-1 series win. The Cavs have now solidified their position atop the league --albeit not in the standings -- with series wins over ranked Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Clemson, and move to #2 in the newest Baseball America rankings. Virginia should expect no less than a CWS berth and a top national seed.

Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Player of the Week, while Boston College’s Mike Dennhardt earned Pitcher of the Week honors. The Hurricanes’ Grandal recorded arguably the most productive week of his collegiate career, going 11-for-20 with four home runs, 10 RBI and seven runs scored in five games.

School Conference Pct. Overall Pct.
Florida State 10-5-0 .667 25-7-0 .781
Clemson 10-5-0 .667 23-10-0 .697
NC State 6-9-0 .400 21-12-0 .636
Boston College 6-9-0 .400 15-16-0 .484
Maryland 4-11-0 .267 13-21-0 .382
Wake Forest 2-13-0 .133 10-24-0 .294
School Conference Pct. Overall Pct.
Georgia Tech 12-3-0 .800 27-5-0 .844
Miami 11-4-0 .733 23-9-0 .719
Virginia 10-5-0 .667 27-7-0 .794
Virginia Tech 8-7-0 .533 23-11-0 .676
North Carolina 6-9-0 .400 22-12-0 .647
Duke 5-10-0 .333 19-13-0 .594

#17 Clemson (23-10, 10-5) @ Duke (19-13, 5-10)

The Devils used clutch hitting to beat Clemson and our pitching had a meltdown. Clemson's problems of not being able to buy a hit with RISP continue. The Tigers will travel to Atlanta to face GT next weekend with Western Carolina in midweek play. Duke is now one game out of the 8th-place spot needed for an ACC Tourney berth.

Duke will face Davidson and UNC-G before hosting FSU.

#5 Georgia Tech (27-5, 12-3) @ #2 Virginia (27-7, 10-5)

Virginia defeated James Madison 9-4 and Radford 12-2 in midweek action.

Georgia Tech came into this series having crushed Duke and defeating Kennesaw State 8-2 in midweek, but were outplayed by the Hoos. Game 1 matched up the two best pitchers in the ACC, Deck McGuire and Danny Hultzen and Hultzen got the win (5-1). All of Georgia Tech's 4 runs in the 7-4 UVA win came in the 5th inning off Hultzen. With two out and runners at second and third, GT 1B Tony Plagman cranked a Hultzen offering over the center field fence, to give the Yellow Jackets their first lead at 3-2. Leonida followed with a solo blast to right field to push the advantage to 4-2. Hultzen had allowed just one home run this season prior to the fifth inning.

Hultzen finished his 7 innings of work with 11 strikeouts, and Wilson and Arico both struck out the side in their innings to close it up. 17 Ks total.

Deck McGuire (L, 5-2) gave up single runs in the 1st, 4th, and 6th before being crushed in the 7th for 4 more.

Behind home runs from Derek Dietrich and Tony Plagman, Georgia Tech erased an early five-run deficit, and freshman Buck Farmer allowed just one run in six innings of relief to lead Georgia Tech to a 9-7 win over Virginia Saturday and crushing UVA starter Robert Morey (L, 4-2) for 8 runs in 5 innings pitched.

Farmer (W, 3-1) entered the game with the bases loaded and no outs in the first inning after starter Brandon Crumpton got shelled, and held the Cavaliers to just one run on four hits in the next six. The freshman right-hander recorded six strikeouts en route to his third win of the season. Tech scored all nine of its runs with two outs on Saturday.

On Sunday, UVA shut down the Tech lineup, allowing just one run in a 9-1 victory. Virginia got a strong starting pitching performance from Cody Winiarski who pitched 5.1 innings, allowing one earned run, five hits and one walk while striking out three as he improved to 4-0 on the season. Wilson and Arico again shut down the Bumblebees.

Georgia Tech starting pitcher Jed Bradley (4-2) took the loss and worked 5.2 innings, giving up six runs (four earned), eight hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Four Virginia players had two hits as UVa racked up a dozen hits. The bottom third of the batting order - Jarrett Parker,  Franco Valdes and John Barr each posted two hits, two runs and an RBI as they combined to go 6-for-10.

GT UPCOMING: In Athens against the Pups, then hosting Clemson to start an 8 game homestand.

UVA UPCOMING: VMI on the road, then hosting Virginia Tech. Tech will be their toughest series until they face UNC in mid May.

#6 FSU (25-7, 10-5 ACC)  @ Wake Forest (10-24, 2-13 ACC)

FSU split a midweek series with North Florida, losing the first one in Jacksonville 3-1, and winning the 2nd at home 9-2. Wake had to fight to beat High Point 8-7.

FSU had to fight for the sweep against Wake, but pulled it off. Game 1 was a laugher, with Sean Gilmartin (W, 5-2) shutting down the WF lineup and giving up only 2 hits in 7 IP in the 10-1 victory. After giving up a run in the first, the sophomore southpaw allowed just three base runners over the next six innings with no runners advancing past first base. At one stretch, Gilmartin retired 10 straight Wake Forest batters as he finished the evening with six strikeouts.

The Noles were held to just 5 hits in game 2, but their bullpen shut down WF again in 6 innings of work to eke out a  5-4 win. Nole starter Geoff Parker couldnt get out of the 3rd, but FSU got enough in the 2nd inning off Tim Cooney (L, 3-2) to make the difference. After that, it was a pitching duel to the end. Had WF been able to play defense, they'd probably have won the game.

In 123.0 innings this year, the Seminole bullpen lowered its ERA to 2.49 with 118 strikeouts. Seminole relievers have turned in a 2.03 ERA in league play recording 52 strikeouts in 57.2 innings of work.

On Sunday FSU had to come from behind with 3 runs in the 9th to beat WF 17-16 and finish the sweep. FSU starter John Gast gave up 6 in the 1st inning and then 2 more in the 2nd to make it 8-3 after 2, and reliever Hunter Scantling gave up 4 more in the 3rd, but FSU clawed their way back against Austin Stadler with 5 in the 3rd and 3 in the 4th before he was finally pulled.

Ohmed Danesh came through with a key pinch hit with one out in the ninth lacing a double to right on the first pitch he saw from Wake's Joel Ernst (1-1). The hit scored Mike McGee from third for the tying run, while Jayce Boyd raced around from first and scored on a fielding error by Mac Williamson in right. Danesh raced into third on the play and would score a key insurance run a batter later on a fielder's choice grounder off the bat of Sherman Johnson. With the Wake infield playing in, Danesh went on contact and slid just in front of the tag at home to give the Noles a 17-15 advantage and their first lead since the first inning.

Again, Wake's D lets them down.

The Seminoles are now tied with us for 1st in the division.

FSU UPCOMING: Florida in Tallahassee, then Jacksonville Univ., and a road trip to Duke this weekend.

WF UPCOMING: Elon at home, then to Chestnut Hill.

#15 Miami  (23-9, 11-4 ACC) @ #20 Virginia Tech  (23-11, 8-7)

VT beat UNC-Central 13-0 in 7 innings Tuesday. Miami swept midweek games against Florida Atlantic 8-5 and 11-0.

Tech went on to take 2 of 3 games against that ranked Miami squad. On Friday, Justin Wright faced ace Miami starter Chris Hernandez and both looked great until the 6th. Miami jumped on Wright for a 4-spot, then Hernandez choked with a 5-spot in the bottom half of the frame. Miami put up another run in the 7th but VT got the go-ahead runs in the 7th to win it 9-7. The Hurricanes mounted a late rally after the Hokies took the 9-7 lead, putting runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the ninth but a Melendres line drive back up the middle was snagged by Rowen to secure the win for the Hokies.

Miami cranked out 4 homers on national TV to defeat VT 9-2 on Saturday afternoon, putting 8 runs on Hokie starter Matthew Price. Eric Erickson went 7 innings and gave up only 1 earned run in the Miami win, his best outing of the season.

Miami scored eight runs on nine hits in the first three innings, plating two in the first, one in the second and five in the third, as Yasmani Grandal cranked out 2 homers and DeVoss another.

Jason Santana (3-2) turned in his fifth straight quality start for the `Canes but suffered the loss Sunday 4-2, allowing three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out four in six innings.

Virginia Tech starter Jesse Hahn (5-2) allowed two early runs but settled in, striking out nine, walking two and allowing five hits in seven innings of work to earn the win. Ben Rowen came on in the eighth to toss the final two shut-out innings to earn his fourth save of the season.

If there were doubts after what VT did to FSU, there should be none now. I said they would steal a series or two from some good teams, and now the Hokies have beaten FSU and Miami since being swept by Clemson.

VT UPCOMING: NC A&T, then at Virginia.

Miami UPCOMING: at Florida-Gulf Coast, then host UNC.

NC State (21-12, 6-9) @ UNC (22-12, 6-9)

UNC left 10 runners on base in a 4-2 loss to Elon in midweek action, while NC State crushed Coppin State 11-2 and 18-1.

UNC badly needed a quality series win and got it 2-1 over the powerful Pitwolfies. Matt Harvey (W, 4-1) scattered eight hits allowing three runs, only one earned, in seven innings of work with three strikeouts and no walks Friday as they defeated the Pack 14-7. Michael Morin threw just one third of an inning, allowing four runs on three hits. Colin Bates threw 1.2 shutout innings of relief to secure the victory for Carolina.

On Saturday the NC State bats kept going in a 14-6 win, helped by 11 walks by NC pitching. Patrick Johnson labored through the fourth, loading the bases after a hit and a pair of walks after having labored with walks in the first 3 innings. After allowing two more to score on a walk and fielders' choice, Munnelly entered to pitch with the bases loaded and two outs.

The fielders' choice that extended the inning came back to haunt the Tar Heels as Andrew Ciencin hammered the 3-2 Munnelly offering over the left field fence for a grand slam. State scored eight runs on just five hits through the first four frames.

On Sunday NC got all their scoring done in the 6th-8th innings, plating 9 runs in the 9-6 win. Both starters did admirably well but NC State's Anthony Tzamtzis and John Lambert blew it for them in the 7th, giving up 6 runs between the two.

NC UPCOMING: They host a ranked Coastal Carolina squad, then to Coral Gables.

NC State UPCOMING: UNC-Central and UNC-Wilmington at home, then to College Park.

Maryland (13-21, 4-11) @ Boston College (15-16, 6-9)

BC gave fits to Clemson last weekend, and beat Bryant 11-3 in midweek play, while Maryland was destroyed by West VA 20-9 and fell to George Mason 3-1.

BC went on to take 2 of 3 from a poor Maryland team, but never pounded the turtles. Friday's game was moved to Saturday in a doubleheader. Sophomore Mike Dennhardt threw a complete game shutout in game one and then redshirt freshman Rob Moir drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th in the nightcap to lead the Boston College baseball team to a doubleheader sweep of Maryland.

Dennhardt was dominant on the mound in the first game, tossing the first complete game of his career. He scattered six hits and struck out five while walking two. He threw 108 pitches on the day and 76 of them were strikes.  Dennhardt finished the game strong, retiring 12 of the last 13 batters - including 10 in a row - from the sixth to ninth innings.

In game two, BC was losing 4-2 and down to its last out in the bottom of the ninth before tying it up. Sophomore Brad Zapenas led off with a single and after two outs were recorded, junior Mickey Wiswall crushed a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center to send the game into extra innings.

Freshman Philip Miclat led off in the bottom of the 10th and fought off a few pitches to draw a walk and then junior Garret Smith laid down a sac bunt, but the pitcher threw the ball into center field trying to get the lead runner. An intentional walk loaded the bases and then Moir singled up the middle for the walk-off win.

Maryland's Brett Harman struck out 12 batters in a complete game effort as the Terrapins defeated Boston College, 4-2, Sunday to avoid the sweep. Harman scattered six hits and both BC runs came on solo homers. He threw 114 pitches - 75 strikes - and only walked one batter. Harman retired the last nine batters that stepped to the plate.

BC UPCOMING: Harvard, then hosting Wake Forest, where they could push themselves back into contention.

Maryland UPCOMING: @ UMBC, then hosting NC State.