A triple shy of the cycle, Dylan Busby sparked Florida State all day, and he didn't stop when it mattered most. Having seen his team surrender a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, Busby didn't let the game go to extra innings, hammering a walk-off single to left field, launching the Seminoles to a 5-4 victory over the Miami Hurricanes and a second consecutive ACC Championship berth. The Seminoles will go for a second straight conference title when they meet with Clemson on Sunday morning.
Busby led the underdog Seminoles with a four-hit performance, including a two-run bomb that tied the game in the fourth inning. Randy Batista collected a pair of hits and scored twice for the #2 Hurricanes, who fell to 2-1 in the tournament.
Miami Strikes Early but Seminoles Answer
Miami did not manage a lot off of Florida State starter Tyler Holton, but they did manage to scratch out a couple of runs in the early going, staking their defense to an early 2-0 lead. The Hurricanes notched a tally in the second inning, on back-to-back doubles from Willie Abreu and Batista with two outs.
Holton escaped a jam in the ensuing frame, but suffered from more two-out trouble, again with some help from the pesky Batista. Batista lined a ball into the left-center gap, rolling all the way to the wall. Speeding around the basepaths, Batista rolled into third with a two-out triple, paving the way for Jacob Heyward to knock him in with an RBI single. However, that would be it for Miami off of Holton, who shut the Hurricanes down for the rest of the game, surrendering just the two runs over seven strong innings.
Courtesy of the booming bat of Busby, Florida State gave Holton a little support in the bottom of the fourth. Busby sent a long fly over the wall in left-center field, knotting the game at two with the two-run blast. That was all they would scratch off of Michael Mediavilla, who lasted six innings and did not factor into the decision.
Seminoles Take First Lead in Seventh Inning
After seven shutdown innings of work, Tyler Holton was finally put in line for the win in the seventh inning. A hit batsman began the inning, the runner advancing to second on a ground out. Miami elected to intentionally walk the next batter, setting up a potential inning-ending double play. However, Quincy Nieporte poked a single into right-center field that ended up scoring both runners from first and second base, staking Florida State to a 4-2 lead. Holton exited the game, but he was finally in line for a well-deserved win.
Seminoles Emerge from Messy Ninth Inning with Win
Florida State made things much more dramatic than they had to be, allowing to Miami to load the bases without so much as a hit in the ninth inning. When they did get a hit, it was a critical one. A two-run knock from Edgar Michelangeli tied the game at four runs apiece. Miami could have taken the lead but could not capitalize on their present situation, a one-out, first and third situation. A one-out strikeout was critical in defusing the threat, setting the stage for Busby's heroics.
A single and two walks quickly loaded the bases for the Seminoles, drawing the Miami defense, who threw out the first runner of the inning at the plate, keeping the bases loaded for Busby with one out. In almost any other situation, Miami would have pitched around the sizzling first baseman, but the bases-loaded scenario left them little options but to pitch to Busby. Busby capitalized yet again, and sent Seminole fans home happy, as they prepare for a second straight title game berth, and a possible second straight championship.
Other ACC Action Roundup
In the other bracket, the Clemson Tigers secured their trip to the title game with a thrilling comeback victory over Wake Forest. The 5-4 victory finished off the Tigers' 3-0 pool play record. Clemson had to come back from a 4-1 deficit, using the long ball to ignite their comeback. Mike Triller blasted a solo shot 351 feet to cut the deficit to 4-2 in the seventh inning. Chase Pinder completely erased the Wake Forest lead with a two-run blast later in the frame. Clemson tallied the eventual game-winner on a wild pitch in the ninth inning.
In the last game on Saturday, Virginia finally tallied a win the ACC tournament. After going 0-3 last year, the Cavaliers started 0-2 this year before salvaging a meaningless game against Louisville to close out their tournament play. The Cardinals dropped to 1-2, finishing with consecutive losses to Clemson and Virginia; the latter improved to the same record. Virginia's 7-2 win was sparked solely by their seven-run fifth inning, in which they built a 7-0 lead. After being held in check for four innings, the Cavaliers broke loose in the fifth, notching all of their runs and nine of their ten hits in the frame. They got no hits after the inning, but it was more than enough to survive the Cardinals, who scratched out single runs in the fifth and seventh innings.