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May 29, 2010
By BILL HASS
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Virginia won one for pride Saturday.
With nothing tangible at stake, the Cavaliers used some two-out magic to beat Miami 12-8 Saturday in the ACC Baseball Championship at NewBridge Bank Park.
The outcome sent Florida State into Sunday's 1 p.m. championship game. The Seminoles, who finished Division A pool play Friday, tied Virginia with a 2-1 record but they had the tiebreaker because they beat the Cavaliers Thursday. "Obviously, all of us Seminoles are elated," said Florida State coach Mike Martin. "It just goes to show you the strength of our league; you never know what is going to happen. I said from day one that any of these eight teams can win it (ACC Tournament). It was a typical bracket in the ACC so to speak. You just come to expect the unexpected in this league."
O'Connor said people might have wondered what the Cavaliers had to play for going into the Miami game, knowing they couldn't make the championship.
"But our players and our team have a tremendous amount of pride in what they do and we showcased that today," he said. "It would have been easy for us to go out there and not give it our all and look forward to next weekend (in NCAA regional play)."
Even though O'Connor said it "felt weird" to leave the event with nothing to show for it, he was pleased with his team's play.
"We feel good," he said. "We just won two out of three, we beat two really good clubs, and hopefully we're at home next weekend."
Virginia clubbed three home runs, each with two outs. Dan Grovatt delivered the first, a solo shot in the first inning, to get the Cavs on the board. Steven Proscia belted a two-out homer in the sixth inning, a three-run blast that put his team ahead for good, 9-7.
Phil Gosselin added three insurance runs with his home run with two outs in the seventh.
"Two outs is when the game is won and lost," Gosselin said. "On the mound, in the box, whoever wins the battle is probably going to win the game and we were able to capitalize on some two-out situations and it made a big difference for us."
Proscia said he had grounded out with two outs and runners on base in his previous at-bat, so he was determined to do something when the opportunity came against Miami pitcher Sam Robinson.
"They were working me away practically the whole game," he said, "so I was looking for something away and he hung a changeup and I was able to put a good swing on it."
Virginia banged out 15 hits against six Hurricane pitchers. O'Connor said his team swung the bats more aggressively than he had seen in a couple of weeks.
The beneficiary of the outburst was Danny Hultzen, who picked up his ninth win despite perhaps his worst outing of the season. He was touched for seven runs, including three home runs.
"I made a lot of mistakes today and they capitalized on them," Hultzen said. "That's what good teams do. I can't blame it on the ballpark; I threw the ball, they hit it."
Hultzen, who said he couldn't remember giving up three homers before, had surrendered just six all season in 86 2/3 innings.
One thing Hultzen, the ACC Pitcher of the Year, did well was handle Player of the Year Yasmani Grandal. The Miami catcher struck out swinging, struck out looking and flied out in three at-bats against Hultzen. He struck out his final time up against Brenden Kline.
Grandal shrugged off the 0-for-4 performance.
"I had one off-day the whole season and I'm glad I got it out of my system," he said. "You've just got to let it go and come back next weekend (in the regionals)."
The Hurricanes (40-17) bolted to a 6-2 lead in the top of the third inning but contributed to their own downfall with three errors and shaky pitching.
"We just got out-played today," said coach Jim Morris. "You look on the board and we got out-hit, we got out-pitched and we got out-defensed. They out-played us in every phase of the game. It's not a good combination if you expect to win."
Morris believes the opposition in any NCAA regional won't be any tougher than what they just played.
"The NCAA regional is never as tough as the ACC tournament," he said. "Never. It's been that way the entire time I've been in the ACC at Miami. There will be some good teams, don't get me wrong. But the talent that we've seen in this league is as good as a talent as we'll face."
Harold Martinez slugged his 19th home run for the Hurricanes and Nathan Melendres and Zeke DeVoss also homered.
Proscia had three hits to lead Virginia's attack.
2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship
NewBridge Bank Park -- Greensboro, N.C.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Game 10: #4 Miami vs. #1 Virginia
Virginia (47-11, 23-7 ACC)... ...improves to 47-11 overall and 45-63 all-time in the ACC championship. ...scored 12 runs against Miami after scoring 10 runs against the Hurricanes in last weekend's (May 20-22) three-game series. ...matched a season-high with 15 hits (Virginia Military Institute, Apr. 14) after combining for 11 safeties in its first two games against Boston College and Florida State. ...matched a season-high with four home runs. ...junior rightfielder Dan Grovatt and sophomore third baseman Steven Proscia combined to go 5-for-10 with four runs batted-in and four runs scored.
Miami (40-17, 20-10 ACC)... ...falls to 40-17 overall and 8-10 all-time in the ACC championship. ...has played Virginia four times in its last six games. ...was 1-2 against Virginia in a three-game series (May 20-22). ...is eliminated from championship game contention. ...matched a team-high (four times) with four home runs. ...had all but two batters in its starting lineup record a hit. ...sophomore third baseman Harold Martinez, sophomore centerfielder Nathan Melendres, and freshman designated hitter Michael Broad have each homered in the same game twice in the championship.