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May 27, 2010
By BILL HASS
GREENSBORO, N.C. – An improbable player helped an improbable team pull off an improbable win Thursday at the ACC Baseball Championship.
Andrew Lawrence swatted a two-run home run in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift eight-seeded Boston College to a 12-10 win over fourth-seeded Miami at NewBridge Bank Park.
It was only the third homer of the year for Lawrence, who hit three last year. He connected off pitcher Travis Miller, Miami’s sixth pitcher of the day.
“I was looking for a fastball over the plate and tried to put a good swing on it,” Lawrence said. “Recently that’s what I’ve been working on in batting practice, and I got it that time.”
The feat was something new for Lawrence.
“I’ve never done that before,” he said. “In Little League, high school, I’ve never had a walk-off hit like that. It was indescribable – the ball leaving the bat and knowing it was out.”
In the top in the inning, Lawrence made an important defensive play, throwing out Miami runner Stephen Perez. With Perez on second base with two outs, Frankie Ratcliff’s ground ball went past Eagles third baseman Anthony Melchionda into left. Lawrence picked it up and fired to catcher Garret Smith, who tagged Perez to end the inning.
“In that particular situation coach (Mik Aoki) signaled to the outfield that we had to be shallow enough to make a strong throw home,” Lawrence said. “I saw the ball go under (Melchionda’s) glove and I was in pretty good position to field it and get it in as quickly as I could. I guess it was right there.”
The victory put BC (30-27 overall) at 1-1 in Division A pool play and left the Hurricanes (40-16) with the same record. Boston College plays Friday at noon against Florida State. Miami will play Saturday against Virginia.
It was an odd game for Miami. The Hurricanes fell behind 4-0 after five innings, rallied to tie the game in the sixth, fell behind by 5-4, tied it 5-5 and put five runs on the board in the top in the ninth for a 10-5 lead.
But it wasn’t enough. Boston College rallied for five runs against Daniel Miranda in the bottom of the ninth. The Eagles’ No. 8 hitter, Brad Zapenas, started things with a one-out single and Smith followed with another. Mike Antson singled in a run and Matt Hamlet reached on a fielder’s choice.
After Mickey Wiswall walked, John Spatola, a left-handed batter facing the left-handed Miranda, belted a three-run homer to tie the game.
“You score 10 runs, you’ve got to win, that’s one thing,” said Miami coach Jim Morris. “Two, when you have a five-run lead in the ninth inning you’ve got to win. We made too many mistakes. We didn’t deserve to win today, that’s the bottom line. BC did a great job coming back.”
The Eagles got a superb relief effort from Kevin Moran, who entered the game to get the final out in the ninth inning after Miami’s Zeke DeVoss hit a grand slam home run. Moran retired the first nine Hurricane hitters he faced before giving up a walk to Perez with two outs. Perez stole second; then was thrown out at the plate by Lawrence.
“It’s a two-strike, two-out thing and you’ve got to be running on the play,” Morris said. “Perez is an excellent base-runner but he should have gotten a better jump. If he goes hard right there, he scores.”
So how did Moran shut down the powerful Hurricanes lineup?
“I think I threw a changeup, a curve and a slider and they were all bad,” he said, “and then I threw all fastballs.”
Aoki said the Eagles have shown a lot of heart all season and kept their hopes up coming into the bottom of the ninth inning trailing by five runs.
“We just kept saying in the dugout, ‘let’s get it to the next guy and get it to the next guy’ and we’re able to get that big hit from Johnny (Spatola),” Aoki said.
It was Spatola’s 17h homer of the season.
“Coming in, I had a good idea I was going to get up that inning,” he said. “I needed to; I was the tying run. Luckily, I think it was a slider or a change that was left up and I put a good swing on it. It wasn’t a great day up until then, but I’ll take a 1-for-6 with that.”
Smith led the Eagles with three hits and Spatola drove in four runs. Devoss had five RBIs for Miami and Yasmani Grandal had three hits, including his 14th home run.
2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship
NewBridge Bank Park — Greensboro, N.C.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Game 4: #4 Miami vs. #8 Boston College
Boston College (30-27, 14-16 ACC) … …improves to 30-27 overall and 3-2 in the ACC Championship. …is 2-1 in extra innings this season. …is 2-0 against ACC opponents in extra innings this season. …scored 12 runs against Miami in 12 innings after scoring eight runs in 27 innings in a three-game series earlier this season (Mar. 12-14). …had five players with at least two hits. …had eight players in its starting lineup score a run. …sophomore leftfielder Andrew Lawrence hit a two-run, walk-off home run with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning. …senior rightfielder John Spatola hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game at 10-10; Spatola had a team-high four runs batted-in and has knocked in four runs or more in four games this season. …led off four innings with a hit. …scored in five different innings.
Miami (40-16, 20-10 ACC)… …falls to 40-16 overall and 8-9 in the ACC Championship. …is 2-2 in extra innings this season and 0-2 in extra innings in the championship. …is 1-2 against ACC opponents in extra innings this season. …freshman second baseman Frankie Ratcliff tied an ACC Championship record (15 other players) with seven at-bats in the game. …used six pitchers. …3-4-5 hitters went 7-for-15 with five runs scored. …scored nine of its 10 runs in the sixth and ninth innings. …led off three innings with a hit. …hit two home runs and has hit 63 home runs over its last 33 games. …freshman leftfielder Zeke DeVoss hit a game-tying grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning; the grand slam was Miami’s third of the season.