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May 28, 2011
DURHAM, N.C. - Florida State (42-16) kept its 2011 ACC Baseball Championship title game hopes alive with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Georgia Tech (40-19) in a game that began shortly after 9 a.m.
Florida State's victory eliminates both Georgia Tech and Clemson from title contention.
The Seminoles never relinquished the lead they gained in the third inning. Singles by Rafael Lopez, Mike McGee and Jayce Boyd loaded the bases with one out. Sherman Johnson walked to force in one run and Justin Gonzalez drove in the second with a towering sacrifice fly to deep right field. Boyd's single extended his hitting streak to 15 games. A walk to Stuart Tapley loaded the bases and Tech tallied the third run when starter Buck Farmer (10-3) threw away an attempted pick-off at second base.
The Seminoles extended their lead in the fourth. Lopez doubled off the left-field wall with one out, his 17th double of the season. He advanced to third on a grounder and scored when James Ramsey beat out a bang-bang, infield single.
Ramsey, who also reached on an error in the first, has reached base in 48 straight games.
McGee didn't allow a hit until a two-out, infield single by Brandon Thomas in the fifth.
McGee was cruising with one out in the sixth, when he began to struggle with his control. A single and two walks loaded the bases and brought in reliever Brian Busch, who got out of the jam with an inning-ending double play.
McGee (3-3), who remained in the game as the DH, walked five but allowed only two singles in 5.1 innings in earning the win. He said he ran out of gas in the sixth.
Georgia Tech got to Busch in the seventh. Mott Hyde and Sam Dove opened the inning with singles. Brandon Thomas moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt and Zane Evans drove in both with a single, making the score 4-2. A hit batter and a walk loaded the bases for Jake Davies but he flied out to end the inning.
The Yellow Jacket bullpen issued three walks in the bottom of the seventh but Florida State couldn't take advantage. DeAndre Smelter, Tech's third pitcher in the inning, ended the threat when Gonzalez popped out.
Busch retired the first batter in the eighth and then gave way to Florida State closer Daniel Bennett.
Thomas led off the Tech ninth with a double and Evans singled him to third, bringing up the top of the Tech order with no outs. But Connor Winn, running for Evans, was picked off first, after a Bennett fake to third. Kyle Wren struck out and Jacob Esch popped out to end the contest.
Bennett called the pick-off play. "We practice it every day. With a new guy in, we thought he would not really be looking for it."
Bennett picked up his 14th save.
The win was the 20th of McGee's career, along with 18 saves and 52 home runs. Mike Martin says over his long coaching career at FSU he has "not seen a guy do as much on the mound and on the field."
Florida State awaits the outcome of the NC State-Clemson game. The Wolfpack will advance to Sunday's title game with a win, while a Clemson victory gives Florida State the Pool B title.
In the Tournament's first elimination game, Florida State scores three times in the third inning in a 4-2 win over Georgia Tech ... the Seminoles can advance to Sunday's championship game if Clemson beats NC State later this afternoon ... should the Wolfpack beat the Tigers, NC State will advance to the title game ... Saturday's game marks the 104th meeting between the two teams with the Seminoles holding a 64-40 series advantage ... FSU's Daniel Bennett pitches 1.2 scoreless innings and picks up his team-best 14th save.
James Ramsey has now reached base in 48 consecutive games and in 57 of 58 games overall ... Jayce Boyd has extended his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in ACC.
RF Brandon Thomas breaks up Mike McGee no-hit bid with an infield single in the fifth inning ... with his seventh inning lead-off single, 2B Mott Hyde extends his hitting streak to 11 consecutive games ... SS Jacob Esch has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games.
Making his fifth start of the season, Florida State RHP Mike McGee does not allow a base hit until Brandon Thomas' infield single with two outs in the fifth inning ... in his four previous starts, McGee has a 6.00 ERA allowing 13 hits in 18 innings ... the win was the 20th in McGee's four-year career, good for sixth among active ACC pitchers ... the Seminoles have turned seven double plays in their three ACC Baseball Championship games.