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Making their first trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship since a title run in 2008, the No. 21 Miami Hurricanes dropped their tournament finale to the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech by a final score of 8-5.
Miami, which clinched a berth in Sunday's championship via North Carolina's Saturday night win over in-state rival North Carolina State, fell behind early and could not recover in time. The Hurricanes (36-21), who chipped away at the Yellow Jackets' lead in the middle innings, were making only their second-ever appearance in the championship game.
Georgia Tech's red-hot offense jumped over sophomore righthander Javi Salas early, plating four runs in the game's very first inning. After the Coral Gables, Fla. native allowed back-to-back doubles to open the contest, Tech sluggers Jake Davies, Daniel Palka and Zane Evans each connected for RBI singles to open up a sizable 4-0 lead.
Facing an early uphill climb, the Hurricanes would plate one run in the first and two more in the third to remain in striking distance.
Sophomore centerfielder Dale Carey became Miami's first baserunner of the day on a single ripped to leftfield off starter Josh Heddinger. After stealing second and advancing to third on a groundball from Chantz Mack, Carey would cross the plate on an RBI single from Brad Fieger to cut the early deficit to 4-1.
But the Jackets would strike for runs in both the second and third innings, with the Hurricanes facing a five-run deficit heading to bat in the bottom of the third. A big two-run frame, which included RBI's from Mack and senior slugger Rony Rodriguez, cut the Tech lead to a managable 6-3. But an inning-ending double play from senior Peter O'Brien, playing in his third game since returning from a broken wrist that cost him the final 17 games leading into the tournament, ended the threat prematurely.
Miami would get as close as one run on Michael Broad's solo shot that sailed into the leftfield lawn in the sixth inning, trimming the lead to 6-5. But a momentum-shifting two-run seventh for the Jackets, where a two-RBI single from Evans off reliever AJ Salcines opened the lead back up to three runs, would prove too much for the Hurricanes to overcome. Evans then entered the game as a relief pitcher, shutting down the Hurricanes with three scoreless innings and clinching an 8-5 victory.
In postgame honorary celebrations, junior outfielder Chantz Mack and junior righthander Eric Whaley were honored as two of the eleven members of the All-Tournament team. Mack was one of three outfielders selected, while Whaley earned the distinction as one of only two pitchers.