GREENSBORO, N.C. — Jon McGibbon’s three-run home run in the ninth inning lifted Clemson past Florida State 9-7 at the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament.
McGibbon finished with four RBIs Friday for the fifth-seeded Tigers (33-25). They can claim a spot in the championship game if they beat eighth-seeded Georgia Tech on Saturday in their Pool A finale.
Clemson trailed 7-6 entering the ninth when Phil Pohl singled with one out and was replaced by pinch-runner Dominic Attanasio.
Pinch-hitter Mike Dunster then singled, and McGibbon followed by sending Robert Benincasa’s 0-1 pitch over the fence in right-center.
Justin Gonzalez homered and drove in two runs for the top-seeded Seminoles (43-14). They fell to 0-2 in the round-robin tournament.
Georgia Tech routs UVa 17-5, stays perfect at ACC
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Zane Evans homered and drove in six runs and Georgia Tech routed Virginia 17-5 to remain unbeaten in the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament.
Mott Hyde and Jake Davies each homered and drove in three runs on Friday. The Yellow Jackets (34-24) scored six runs in the third inning, then added four runs in the fourth to build a 10-3 lead and claimed a mercy-rule-shortened victory.
Eighth-seeded Georgia Tech is in control of Pool A and will earn a spot in the championship round with a win Saturday against Clemson.
Brandon Downes had an RBI single and Keith Werman added a run-scoring sacrifice bunt for the fourth-seeded Cavaliers (37-17-1), who led 3-0 in the third before Georgia Tech erupted.
Florida advances with 7-2 win over South Carolina
HOOVER, Ala. — Brian Johnson pitched a five-hitter and Mike Zunino hit a two-run homer to lead Florida to a 7-2 win over South Carolina Friday night, eliminating the two-time defending national champions from the Southeastern Conference tournament.
The Gators (42-17) face Vanderbilt on Saturday for a shot at the championship. The Gamecocks (40-17) went 1-2 at Regions Park.
Johnson (7-4) pitched his first career complete game and had retired nine straight before giving up back-to-back hits and a run in the ninth.
“He didn’t misfire all night,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “He executed his pitches all night long, and that’s really what you have to do against a team like South Carolina.”
Johnson struck out five, didn’t walk anybody and coasted through on 89 pitches. And he finished, despite the ninth-inning run.
“I felt good,” said Johnson, who also had an RBI on a bases loaded walk in the fifth. “I came in in the eighth and told Sully I wanted to finish it.”
His last trip to Hoover didn’t end as well. He sustained a concussion after getting struck in the back of the head by a ball in last season’s tournament.
The Gamecocks only managed one other threat off Johnson before the final inning. They had back-to-back singles to open the sixth but Johnson got Joey Pankake to ground into a run-scoring double play.
Casey Turgeon added a two-run single in the three-run fifth to make it 7-0.
Zunino had an RBI groundout in the first and then delivered his league-leading 16th home run with a shot over the left-field fence in the third for a 4-0 lead.
“We wanted to come out early and often and that’s what we talked about right before the game,” said Nolan Fontana, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and three runs scored for the Gators.
Turgeon, Preston Tucker and Josh Tobias also had two hits for the Gators.
Chase Vergason went 2-for-3 for South Carolina.
The Gamecocks had beaten Florida twice in the College World Series to claim the national title last season, but were outhit 11-5.
Starter Colby Holmes (6-1) couldn’t make it out of the third in his first loss of the season.
“We’ve had a lot of games this year where our pitching has carried us,” South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said. “We weren’t very good tonight and you can’t do that against a team like Florida when Brian Johnson’s on the mound.
“He’s very good. He’s going to pitch on the next level and probably for a long, long time.”
The Gamecocks won national titles after winning one game in last season’s SEC tournament and going 0-2 in 2010.
“The good news is we have played pretty well after this, after not being very good here,” Tanner said. “Hopefully that trend will continue.”
Mississippi State rallies past LSU 4-3 to advance
HOOVER, Ala. — Matthew Britton’s single up the middle brought home the winning run in Mississippi State’s 4-3, 10-inning victory over top-seeded LSU Friday in the Southeastern Conference tournament.
LSU second baseman JaCoby Jones made a diving stab for the ball but couldn’t come up with it. Britton was hitting .149 coming in, but wound up getting swarmed by teammates who get to face Kentucky Saturday for a berth in the championship game.
“When I saw (Jones) dive, my stomach kind of dropped because I thought he got it,” Britton said. “I just kept running until I saw that the ball got past him. I felt pretty happy about it.”
Mitch Slauter drove a one-out double to the center field wall for the Bulldogs (37-22), who had rallied with two runs in the ninth and one in the eighth.
Reliever Nick Rumbelow came in to face Britton, who entered as a pinch-runner in the ninth and scored the tying run off the Tigers (43-16).
He grew up in Cullman, Ala., about an hour away from Regions Park and frequently attended SEC tournaments.
“I always dreamed about playing,” Britton said. “When I got the opportunity, it was a big deal to me.”
Wes Rea opened the ninth with a double down the right-field line off LSU closer Nick Goody that was just inside the foul line and out of reach of a diving Mason Katz, starting the rally.
“A big game that you seemingly have in hand, and then you can’t hold the lead in the ninth inning,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “For a long time we were very fortunate to be shutting them out.
“We made some tremendous defensive plays.”
Daryl Norris and Adam Frazier both singled and Luis Pollorena, who pinch-ran in the eighth, drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly to center.
Pollorena has only three at-bats this season.
“There was no doubt in my mind he was going to make contact,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said.
Goody got Hunter Renfroe to pop up to send it to extra innings.
Jonathan Holder (2-0), who hasn’t allowed a run in 22 appearances this season, pitched around an error for a scoreless top of the 10th. Holder ran his streak of scoreless innings to 26-1/3 to break Bobby Reed’s school record.
He already had two saves in the tournament.
LSU took a 3-0 lead after two innings but couldn’t score again.
“Our kids stayed with it and showed great fortitude,” Cohen said. “When you get behind 3-0 against a very, very good LSU club, it is easy to say, ‘Well, we’ve got regionals next week and we played well down the stretch.’ These kids did not have that attitude.”