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Virginia rallies past Duke in 2009 ACC Baseball Championship, 11-7

Posted Sunday, May 24, 2009

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Durham, NC - Virginia rallied for seven runs in the seventh inning Saturday night to rally past Duke 11-7 and earn a spot in Sunday's title game of the 2009 ACC Baseball Championship.

The sixth-seeded Cavaliers (42-12-1) will face top-seeded Florida State in the 1 p.m. championship contest at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Duke (35-24) saw its chances of advancing to the finals die in a nightmarish seventh inning.

Leading 4-2, Blue Devil reliever Will Currier had two out and nobody on base when he walked Virginia shortstop Tyler Cannon on a 3-2 pitch. When Currier also walked designated hitter Phil Gosselin, he was replaced on the mound by junior right-hander Michael Ness (L, 2-2).

Ness was unable to retire any of the five batters he faced. He hit two Virginia batters and gave up doubles to right-fielder Dan Grovatt and left-fielder John Barr. Another reached on an error.

Dennis O'Grady, Duke's third pitcher of the inning, surrendered a two-run triple to second baseman Keith Werman before getting out of the inning.

Grovatt's seventh-inning double was just a small part of his offensive contribution to the Virginia win. The sophomore slugger tied a career high with four hits -- three doubles and his seventh home run of the season. He scored three runs and drove in three.

Virginia reliever Tyler Wilson (W, 7-3), who relieved starter Robert Morey in the sixth, held the Blue Devils in check until the eighth, when he gave up three straight doubles and three runs. Kevin Arico pitched a scoreless ninth to wrap up the win.

Duke seized an early lead after some sloppy play by the Cavaliers. In the bottom of the third, the Blue Devils had runners at the corners with two outs when leftfielder Jeremy Gould struck out swinging. But the ball got away from Virginia catcher John Hicks for wild pitch, allowing Duke's Ryan McCurdy to score from third. Shortstop Jake Lemmerman bounced a routine grounder to short that Virginia's Cannon threw into right field for an error, allowing Duke's Matt Williams to score. Gould went to third on the play, then scored when the Cavaliers tried to get Lemmerman on a steal attempt.

Notes

 

  • Virginia has been the big inning King for the Cavaliers. Virginia posted a ten-run third inning last night and a seven run seventh in tonight's game. Miami is the only team to post seven runs when they posted the number on Wednesday against Georgia Tech.
  • Two out lightning: The big innings for Duke and Virginia came with two outs in the frame. Duke scored three with two down while Virginia plated seven with two outs in the seventh inning.
  • Déjà vu all over again: for the second consecutive year, Virginia advances to the ACC Championship Game after playing in the final pool play game of the Championship.
  • Virginia equaled a school record for doubles in a game with three two-baggers.
  • The Cavaliers also tallied seven extra base hits in the win.
  • The ACC's final Championship of the year will decide the race for most league titles for the 2008-09 academic year. Virginia, Florida State and Maryland are tied with five titles each.
  • Symmetry denied: Had Duke advanced to the ACC title game it would have been a mirror image of the ACC Men's Basketball Championship Game from earlier this year. In basketball, Duke (with eight league titles since 1992) faced Florida State who entered its first league final. In Baseball, the Noles are a four-time league champion while Duke has never reached the finale.
  • The total attendance for the first eleven games of the Championship is 35,974. At this point, the attendance for the week is the 12th largest in ACC Baseball Championship history.
  • There have been 19 home runs hit in the ten games of the ACC Baseball Championship. None have hit the famous "Durham Bull." However, Virginia's John Hicks hit a home run off the clouds on the lower left portion of the sign on Thursday night but did not hit the bull proper.
  • Game ten duration of 3:49 to raise the average game time to 3:01. There have been 36 hours and 16 minutes of total action so far.
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