Georgia Tech's Jake Davies was named MVP of the ACC tournament after leading the Yellow Jackets to a conference championship.
GREENSBORO, N.C. — If anyone had told Jake Davies last week that he’d be the MVP of the ACC tournament, he would have called them crazy.
It’s been one of those wild stretches, though, for Georgia Tech’s baseball team.
Mott Hyde homered and Sam Dove had three of Georgia Tech’s 15 hits as the Yellow Jackets topped Miami 8-5 on Sunday to become the first No. 8 seed to win the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
It was Georgia Tech’s eighth ACC baseball title, and first since 2005 — and Davies had a large hand in it.
“I just came in with the idea that it was my last hurrah and I should go play as hard as I could,” said Davies, a senior who hit .438 with four homers and 11 RBIs over the four games and also pitched six innings in a victory.
Georgia Tech (36-24) won four games in Greensboro to earn conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament 64-team field, which will be announced Monday.
“First of all, we needed to win a couple just to get in the NCAA tournament,” Davies said. “I think in the first game (with two homers against Florida State), I picked up some of the other guys, and then the rest of the guys picked it up on their own. When you’ve got 27 guys in the dugout with the same idea, it’s a hard train to stop.”
Miami (36-21) will also be in the field, as it was named a host site Sunday along with fellow ACC members Florida State, North Carolina, N.C. State and Virginia.
Davies was named to the all-tournament team along with three fellow Jackets including Zane Evans, the catcher who earned his sixth save of the season by pitching the final three innings without allowing a baserunner Sunday.
Second baseman Thomas Smith and outfielder Brandon Thomas also made the squad, along with Miami outfielder Chantz Mack and pitcher Eric Whaley.
Jarrett Didrick (2-0) was the winning pitcher in relief of Josh Heddinger, allowing two runs on two hits with a strikeout and two walks in four innings of work. Evans struck out three in earning his sixth save.
“I thought my team played great baseball all week in one of the toughest tournaments in the country,” Tech coach Danny Hall said. “We played our best baseball. We got timely hits when we needed them, we made plays when we needed to, we made pitches when we needed to and got contributions from everybody.”
Michael Broad homered for Miami, while Dale Carey added a pair of singles and Brad Fieger a single with two RBIs.
Tech jumped on Miami starter Javi Salas (6-3) for four runs in the first inning, and he lasted just 1 1/3 innings.
“Georgia Tech’s win shows you the strength of our conference,” said Miami coach Jim Morris, who was the Yellow Jackets’ coach for the school’s first four ACC titles from 1985-88. “We got outplayed today. They just outhit us, outpitched us and outplayed us. Those guys battled hard and deserved to win.”
The Hurricanes trailed 6-1, but cut it to 6-5 before Evans’ two-run single in the seventh provided insurance for the Yellow Jackets.
The rest of the all-tournament team was comprised of N.C. State pitcher Carlos Rodon and third baseman Trea Turner, Clemson first baseman Jon McGibbon, Florida State shortstop Justin Gonzalez and Virginia outfielder Colin Harrington.
Mississippi State wins SEC title, 3-0 over Vandy
HOOVER, Ala. — Ross Mitchell helped Mississippi State continue its torrid pitching and claim the Southeastern Conference tournament title with a 3-0 win over Vanderbilt on Sunday.
The Bulldogs (39-22) ride a hot streak into the NCAA regionals, having won eight of their last nine games after league coaches picked them to finish fifth in the SEC West. It’s Mississippi State’s seventh SEC tournament title and first since 2005.
The overflow crowd of 12,526 was mostly decked out in Mississippi State maroon.
“I don’t know if you could have a better homefield advantage 2 1/2 hours from your campus than we did today,” Bulldogs coach John Cohen said.
The pitching was awfully good, too.
Caleb Reed relieved Mitchell, who’s from Murfreesboro, Tenn., and got Connor Castellano to ground into a double play in the ninth before hitting Andrew Harris with a pitch. Staff ace Chris Stratton finished it off when Tony Kemp grounded to short with runners on the corners.
“Caleb came in after me and had an amazing double play that Adam (Frazier) turned,” Mitchell said. “Stratton came in and does what he does. He’s the best pitcher in the nation.”
Starter Brandon Woodruff allowed one hit and two walks in the first three innings. Mitchell gave up five hits.
Frazier, the tournament MVP, scored one run and drove home another and finished with 12 hits in six games.
Mississippi State, which came in ranked 11th in the SEC in hitting and first in earned run average, allowed seven runs in its five wins at Regions Park.
Frazier scored the game’s first run on a two-out wild pitch by Tyler Beede (1-5) in the third inning. The Bulldogs scored twice in the fourth with a single, two walks — one with the bases loaded — and a hit batter to take a 3-0 lead.
Steven Rice walked Frazier, the only batter he faced, on four straight pitches to bring home a run.
“That’s how we play,” Frazier said. “A sac bunt here and there, a sac fly, a walk or hit by pitch. That’s what we need to get runs in sometimes.
“Three runs up for our pitching staff, we felt pretty comfortable.”
It’s only the second championship game shutout in the 15-year-old current format, the first being Florida’s 5-0 shutout of the Commodores last season. They are 1-5 in the SEC title game under coach Tim Corbin.
“We’re proud of what we’ve done to this point,” Vandy’s Connor Harrell said. “We ran into a tough arm, but there’s a bigger championship coming.”
Vanderbilt had made the title game with a five-run, six-steal ninth inning to beat Florida. This time, the Commodores hit into two double plays and left 10 men on base.
Conrad Gregor lined to first base for an inning-ending double play in the first with runners at first and third, and the Commodores got few scoring opportunities after that.
“That was kind of the story of the day,” Gregor said. “Those close hits didn’t get through.”
Added Corbin: “It’s like they carried that defensive and pitching momentum the rest of the game.”
Now, the Commodores await their NCAA regional destination after starting the season 13-19. They had won nine in a row going into Sunday.
“It really doesn’t matter where we go at this point,” Corbin said. “They don’t care. It doesn’t matter. We’ve seen everything and faced everything. We’re looking forward to playing again, that’s for sure.”