DURHAM, N.C. – Clemson tallied five runs in three of the first four innings and held off a late Florida State (37-20) rally as it captured the 2016 ACC Baseball championship with an 18-13 marathon victory over the Seminoles on Sunday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The two teams decided the 43rd league championship in a game marred by rain delays that totaled nearly five hours.
FSU now turns its attention to the NCAA Tournament as is set to make its 39thconsecutive appearance, 37th straight under the direction of head coach Mike Martin and 53rd overall. The Seminoles, selected as one of 16 regional hosts on Sunday evening, will find out the remaining teams in the Tallahassee Regional when the brackets are released live on ESPNU on Monday at 12 p.m.
“We battled; we came up short,” said head coach Mike Martin. “You tip your hat to the other club. We go to the most important weekend of the year now, and that’s to see what we can do to accomplishing our goal, and that’s getting to Omaha.”
All-Tournament first baseman Dylan Busby capped off a solid four-game stretch for the Seminoles as he finished 3-for-5 with three RBI, three runs and two home runs against the Tigers (42-18). Busby, who had the first multi-home run performance of his collegiate career, finished among the in the top five players in the tournament in hits (nine-1st), runs (six-1st), home runs (four-1st), RBI (10-1st), slugging percentage (1.294-1st) and batting average (.529-2nd).
FSU also received two RBI apiece from the combination of John Sansone (1-6, run), Cal Raleigh (1-2, run) and Tyler Holton (1-2, HR). Freshman outfielder Jackson Lueck, the Seminoles’ other All-Tournament selection, ended his first ACC Championship with a 1-for-4 outing that included one RBI, one run and his ninth double of the season.
Lueck received the All-Tournament accolades after capping off his stretch in Durham by hitting 7-for-14 from the plate (.500 batting average), with five runs, three doubles and a .714 slugging percentage.
Clemson assumed a 3-0 lead in the top of the first after the combination of a fielding error at short and a walk allowed Chase Pinder and Seth Beer to reach base for the Tigers.
Chris Okey recorded the first hit, a double high off the left field wall, resulting in three runs crossing the plate for the Tigers. Pinder scored from second and Beer crossed the plate on a throwing error by DeLuzio. An errant throw from Cal Raleigh to Jim Voyles, in the attempt to tag the sliding Beer, allowed Okey to score from third for the three-run advantage.
Taylor Walls manufactured the first FSU run of the game in the bottom of the first inning, leading off the frame with a walk. After a walk by Jackson Lueck moved Walls to second, who then stole third base, and scored two pitches later on a sacrifice fly to left field by Raleigh.
The Tigers then tacked on five runs in the second inning. It began with a muffed throw by Ed Voyles at first base, who allowed Clemson’s Mike Triller to reach base. Chris Williams and Jordan Greene loaded the bases for the Tigers with a hit by pitch and a walk, respectively, before a sacrifice fly by Pinder moved the Clemson lead to 4-1 with a sacrifice fly.
Seth Beer continued the second inning for Clemson with a walk, loading the bases for the second time in the frame. Okey reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Greene from third, before a single through the right side of the infield by Eli White plated Williams for the 6-1 advantage. Reed Rohlman drove in the final two runs of the inning with a single through the right side of the infield, scoring Okey and White for the 8-1 Clemson lead.
The Tigers had their third straight multi-run inning in the third as they quickly loaded the bases with the combination of Wilson, Triller and Williams. Pinder slapped a bases clearing triple into the right centerfield gap, extending the Clemson lead to 12-1. White quickly followed with a double to left, scoring Pinder, as the Tigers established a 13-1 advantage.
Clemson’s offense remained in overdrive to open the fourth with back-to-back hits by Wilson and Triller, putting runners at the corners. Williams sent a double down the left field line, scoring the combo to give the Tigers their 10th hit of the day and a 15-1 lead. Three batters later White drove a double to left to plate Triller for third run of the frame. Okey upped the lead to 18-1 for the Tigers with a double off the top of the left field wall, scoring White and Beer in the process.
Lueck jumpstarted the FSU offense in the bottom of the fourth with a double to right. He quickly scored the second Seminole run of the game with a single up the middle by Raleigh. Pinch hitter Tyler Holton blasted a two-run home run over the right field wall, making for an 18-4 Clemson lead.
Busby continued to swing the hot bat in the ACC Tournament as he hit his third home run in as many days, this time over the left field wall, to cap off a four-run inning for the Seminoles who trailed 18-5 through four complete innings.
FSU scored eight runs on five hits in the bottom of the eighth and in the process trimmed the Tigers’ lead to five runs. Busby opened the inning with a leadoff single to right field before a two-run double down the right field line by Nick Graganella scored the combination of Busby and Hayden Kelly, who reached base on a walk.
Hank Truluck and Walls each walked to load the bases for John Sansone, who delivered a two-RBI single to right field, bringing home Truluck and Graganella to cut the deficit in half. Lueck grounded to short, scoring Walls from third as the Seminoles trailed 18-10.
The home half of the eighth continued for FSU when Bryan Bussey delivered a double into right field, plating Sansone. The Seminoles concluded their scoring on a two-run home run to centerfield by Busby, who moved his home run total on the year to 12 for the Noles.
Seminole fans can always stay up-to-date with the Florida State Baseball team by following the official twitter page of the Seminoles (@FSUBaseball).