DURHAM, N.C. - Virginia (43-12-1) defeated Florida State (42-16) 6-3 on Sunday afternoon inside the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the Tampa Bay Rays Triple A affiliate the Durham Bulls, to capture the 2009 ACC Baseball Championship. The Cavaliers scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie en route to their second conference championship in school history.
Heading into the championship game, Florida State was the top fielding team in the tournament, committing just one error in three games. But on Sunday, it was a trio of errors that proved costly for the top seeded Seminoles as three of the six Cavalier runs were unearned including two of the three runs scored in the ninth. Seminole pitchers also combined for a season-high five wild pitches.
Virginia left fielder John Hicks gave the Cavaliers their first lead of the game lacing a two-run single to left with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth off Seminole reliever Sean Gilmartin (11-3). UVa would plate its third run of the inning as Dan Grovatt scored on a passed ball. A pair of errors by the Seminoles in the ninth opened the door for the Cavaliers in the inning.
With the loss, Florida State fell to 4-4 all-time in the ACC championship game, while dropping to 0-3 all-time in playing for the conference title in Durham.
Jason Stidham was responsible for all three runs on Sunday finishing the game 2-for-3 with a single and his 11th home run of the season. Mike McGee had a perfect day at the plate going 4-for-4 with a double and three singles. Geoff Parker picked up his first collegiate hit in the bottom of the sixth lacing a two-out single to right.
Florida State grabbed the early lead on a two out, two-run home run off the bat of Stidham in the bottom of the first. Following a single through the left side by McGee, Stidham stepped in and drilled a 1-0 offering from Virginia starter Andrew Carraway into the bleacher seats in right for his second home run of the tournament.
Virginia answered right back with a run in the top of the second to cut the Seminole lead in half. Grovatt led off the inning with a single through the right side and moved into scoring position on an errant throw by McGee on a failed pickoff attempt at first. Three batters later Steve Proscia drove in Grovatt for the first Cavalier run of the game on a double to left center just beyond the diving glove of left fielder D'Vontrey Richardson.
After issuing three walks in the third, McGee escaped a bases loaded jam getting Hicks swinging on strikes for the second time in as many at-bats to maintain FSU's 2-1 advantage.
The Seminoles added to their lead in bottom of the third on Stidham's third RBI of the game. Following back-to-back singles by Stephen Cardullo and McGee, Stidham found the hole on the left side of the infield scoring Cardullo for the third Florida State run of the game.
The lead was short lived as the Cavaliers plated a pair in the fourth to tie the game at 3-3. Tyler Cannon led off the inning with a walk. After moving to second on a wild pitch by McGee, Cannon would come around to score on an RBI bloop single to left center by Franco Valdes. Valdes brought home the game-tying run scoring on a passed ball.
Neither starting pitcher would factor in the decision as McGee threw 3.2 innings, lasting one inning longer then Carraway, who left Sunday's game after just 2.2 innings of work.
Cardullo made an outstanding diving catch in the fifth that saved a couple Virginia runs from scoring. With runners at second and third and two outs, Proscia sent a line drive off John Gast headed towards the gap in left center but Cardullo timed his jump perfectly to make the catch to his left to keep the game deadlocked at 3-3.
UVA put runners at first and third with two outs in the seventh, but Parker got Cannon on a called third strike for the final out of the inning.
Gast and Parker combined to throw 4.1 scoreless innings giving up three hits and two walks while striking out four.
Florida State squandered a golden opportunity to go in front in the bottom of the eighth as the Seminoles loaded the bases with one out. McGee led off the inning with a double off the blue monster in left, followed by walks to Stidham and Parker Brunelle. UVa's Tyler Wilson (8-3) then got pinch hitter Tommy Oravetz swinging on strikes and Jack Posey to fly out to right to end the threat.
Virginia's Kevin Arico struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 10th save of the season.
Florida State will now a wait to see the other three teams joining the Seminoles in Tallahassee for the NCAA Baseball Regional which begins Friday, May 29. ESPN will announce the 64-team field on Monday, May 25 at 12:30 p.m. EST.
2009 ACC Baseball Championship All-Tournament Team Catcher - Franco Valdes, Virginia First Base - Dustin Ackley, North Carolina Second Base - Jason Stidham, Florida State Third Base - Mickey Wiswall, Boston College Shortstop - Jake Lemmerman, Duke Outfield - Mike McGee, Florida State Outfield - Dan Grovatt, Virginia* (Tournament MVP) Outfield - Wilson Boyd, Clemson Utility/DH - Danny Hultzen, Virginia Pitcher - Pat Dean, Boston College Pitcher - Casey Harman, Clemson www.seminoles.com