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May 30, 2010
By Rob Daniels
GREENSBORO, N.C. - This one goes to 11. Even if he won't take it.
Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin, known to his players by his No. 11 jersey, claimed an ACC championship in his native state Sunday after falling short in three previous ventures to the final in those borders. Catcher Rafael Lopez' two-out, two-strike single in the bottom of the seventh plated the go-ahead run, and the Seminoles went on to an 8-3 win over a determined and sleep-deprived NC State club at the 2010 ACC Baseball Championships.
"We're always proud to be a part of this, but this was special because we came in with a bit of a struggle," Martin said, referring to a sweep at Clemson that ended the regular season. "I was so pleased with the way our young men bounced back and got the job done. It was a great win for our program. We got our ears pinned back, and we didn't feel sorry for ourselves. We fought back."
The day had a scary moment. Wolfpack catcher Chris Schaeffer and FSU's James Ramsey collided about 15 feet from the plate on Ramsey's tag-up dash home in the eighth inning. Schaeffer was knocked unconscious and taken to a local hospital after leaving the field on a stretcher by ambulance, but was said to be OK.
"He had strength in his hands and feet," NC State coach Elliott Avent said. "And his eyes were moving pretty good. He just had no idea where he was."
NewBridge Bank Park proved to be a hitter-friendly venue that witnessed 51 home runs by 36 different players in 13 games. But reliever Sean Gilmartin, a converted starter, shut down the Pack bats in the middle of the game to help FSU prevail. Three shutout innings in this place and this weekend are rather impressive.
Gilmartin's stellar relief work kept the game close, and the Seminoles tied the game at 2 on a sacrifice fly and took the lead when Lopez roped a liner to right for the tie-breaking RBI.
Mike McGee's homer in the eighth gave FSU some room, and after the collision at the plate, it was a 6-3 game.
The Pack, which entered as the seventh seed in the eight-team field, impressed a lot of people with its resilience. First baseman Harold Riggins was named Most Valuable Player in a losing cause.
Florida State was one out from elimination, but Boston College came back from that precarious spot to defeat Miami early in the tournament and keep the Noles alive. That, of course, was not the Eagles' primary motivation, but the Noles tipped their caps to a team that was hundreds of miles away by the time Sunday rolled around.
"Maybe you don't even look to your own team," Seminole center fielder Tyler Holt said. "Maybe BC gave us that little spark. They gave us a chance. And as a team, we got this thing done."
Subsequent wins over BC and Virginia put the Noles in the title game, and they got to face a Wolfpack club that advanced with 10-9 win over Virginia Tech that ended at 1:24 a.m. Sunday. Pack coach Elliott Avent said there were no excuses and no reasons for anything but pride.
"Kinda like being in Vegas," he said. "No clocks."
2010 ACC All-Tournament Team
C: Steve Domecus, Virginia Tech
1B: Harold Riggins NC State, MVP
2B: Dallas Poulk, NC State
3B: Harold Martinez, Miami
SS: Stephen Cardullo, Florida State
OF: Kyle Wilson, NC State
OF: Tyler Holt, Florida State
OF: Austin Wates, Virginia Tech
UTL/DH: Michael Broad, Miami
P: Justin Wright, Virginia Tech
P: Jake Buchanan, NC State
2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship
NewBridge Bank Park -- Greensboro, N.C.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Championship Game: #7 NC State vs. #5 Florida State
Florida State (42-17, 18-12 ACC)... ...improves to 42-17 overall and 61-30 all-time in the ACC championship. ...won its fifth ACC championship. ...won its first championship in the state of North Carolina. ...is 5-4 all-time in the championship game. ...has a championship winning percentage of .670, the highest mark in league history. ...left 14 runners on base. ...scored six runs in the seventh and eighth innings. ...sophomore lefthanded pitcher made his first relief appearance since appearing in the 2009 championship game against Virginia. ...senior shortstop Stephen Cardullo and junior leftfielder/righthanded pitcher Mike McGee each hit three home runs in the Seminoles' four games. ...sophomore rightfielder James Ramsey was 4-for-5 with two runs scored; his four hits were a season-high.
NC State (38-22, 21-9 ACC)... ...falls to 38-22 overall and 76-66 all-time in the championship. ...is 4-8 all-time in the championship game. ...sophomore first baseman Harold Riggins was named the tournament most valuable player; is the second Wolfpack (Matt Donahue, P, 1992) to earn MVP honors. ...used five or more pitchers in three of four games. ...used 18 players in the game. ...is only the third No. 7 seed to play in the championship game.