Yellow Jackets win ACC title
by Joedy McCreary
Associated Press Sports Writer
May 26, 2014 04:00 AM | 1264 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Georgia Tech had to play its way into the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament.

The Yellow Jackets never played themselves out.

A.J. Murray drove in three runs, and Georgia Tech won its second ACC title in three years, beating Maryland 9-4 on Sunday.

Freshman Connor Justus capped a three-run eighth inning with a two-run single that helped send the ninth-seeded Yellow Jackets (36-25) to their ninth conference title.

They claimed the ACC’s automatic NCAA tournament berth, matched Clemson for the most titles in league history and became the lowest seed to win the tournament, though this was the first year the field expanded to 10 teams.

“Getting into the championship round’s the hardest thing,” Tech coach Danny Hall said. “So once you get there, if you play well, you’ve got a chance to win. These guys, they played their hearts out the whole week.”

Blake Schmit homered and Anthony Papio drove in two runs for sixth-seeded and Big Ten-bound Maryland (36-21), a strong candidate to receive its first NCAA tournament invitation since 1971.

“The teams we played this week are as good, if not better, than the teams we’re going to face next weekend in the regional,” Papio said.

Georgia Tech fell behind 4-3 in the sixth before tying it on Mitch Earnest’s sacrifice fly an inning later.

Then, the Yellow Jackets took control with a big eighth.

Daniel Spingola led off with a double to left. Former Harrison High School standout Matt Gonzalez bunted him to third, and pitcher Kevin Mooney’s throw to first sailed well into the seats. Spingola scored to make it 5-4 and Gonzalez moved to second.

Murray then walked and went to second on a wild pitch, and Justus’ single through a drawn-in infield scored them both, making it 7-4.

Gonzalez and Murray added RBI singles in the ninth.

Winning pitcher Jonathan Roberts (1-2) worked a scoreless inning of relief for Georgia Tech, which won the event as the No. 8 seed two years ago — also the last time it was played in Greensboro.

The Yellow Jackets beat Wake Forest in a play-in game Tuesday and went 2-1 in round-robin pool play.

“We fought our way in by winning the game against Wake,” Hall said, “and then (we) went on a great run.”

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