Virginia Tech gutted out a 9-8 win over #2 seed Clemson on Friday in the ACC Baseball Tournament. Centerfielder Sean Ryan’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth provided the go-ahead run, and closer Ben Rowen shut down the Tigers in the top of the ninth.
The Hokies, the #6 seed, improved to 38-19 with the win. They will now face #7 seed NC State on Saturday. If they manage to defeat the Wolfpack, then Virginia Tech will play for the ACC Championship on Sunday.
Tech got off to a great start with a 5-run first inning. The big shot of the first inning was provided by designated hitter Buddy Sosnoskie, who hit an opposite field three-run homer that put the Hokies up 5-0. Sosnoskie went 2-for-3 on the day.
The lead was short-lived thanks to a big fourth inning by Clemson. They previously chipped away at the lead in the second inning with a two-run homer by Brad Miller, and then scored four more runs in the fourth to take the lead. It was a disastrous inning defensively for Virginia Tech. The Hokies committed three errors, and starting pitcher Matthew Price threw two wild pitches.
By the end of the inning, Clemson led 6-5 despite having just three hits for the game. Price left the game after 4.1 innings, allowing six runs, only three of which were earned. He struck out six and walked two.
The Hokies tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, and then retook the lead in the fifth 7-6 after Ronnie Shaban doubled in Austin Wates. Wates had another great day, going 3-for-4 with an RPI and two runs scored. In the sixth, Andrew Rash extended the lead to 8-6 on a huge home run to left center.
However, this game was destined to be decided late. Clemson rallied to tie the game at eight heading into the bottom of the eighth. With Andrew Rash at second base, Sean Ryan came up to the plate and hit a single into center field. Rash rounded third and made a great outside slide to beat the tag, and the Hokies held a 9-8 lead. It was Ryan’s only hit of the day.
Closer Ben Rowen gave up a single in the top of the ninth, and the runner advanced to second on a groundout. With a runner on second with two outs and the game on the line, Rowen had to face Kyle Parker. Parker is Clemson’s top player, a possible first round pick, and he’s also the starting quarterback for the Tiger football team.
Rowen was able to win the battle, recording the out when Parker grounded out sharply to first, and the game ended.
Virginia Tech’s matchup with NC State is scheduled for 8pm on Saturday night. It will be televised regionally by RSN. Check your local listings to see if the game will be available.
For complete information on the ACC Baseball Championship, including matchups, game trackers, and television information (all games are televised), see the 2010 ACC Baseball Championship Page at theacc.com.