John Sansone homered and Florida State beat North Carolina State 6-2 on Sunday in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game before a title game record crowd of 9,759 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Sansone hit a three-run blast in the third inning and Danny De La Calle drove in two runs to help the fourth-seeded Seminoles (41-19) win their sixth ACC tournament title and their third since 2010.
Championship MVP Boomer Biegalski (7-4) relieved starter Bryant Holtmann in the fourth and struck out five in 4 1-3 innings for his second victory at the tournament. Closer Billy Strode walked one in the ninth before earning his 14th save.Trailing 3-0 after three innings, NC State got two runs back in the fourth in somewhat unconventional fashion.
After Holtmann issued a pair of base hits and a walk to load the bases, Jake Fincher greeted Biegalski’s entrey into the game with a high pop fly that fell amidst several Seminoles between the mound and home plate.
Wolfpack runner Joe Dunand broke from third and was originally called out as the throw beat him to the plate. But because the infield fly rule had been invoked, the play at home was not a force-out. After several minutes of discussion, Dunand was ruled safe and Fincher automatically out, making the score 3-1.
Meanwhile, both of NC State’s other runners moved up on the play. The runner on third – Bubby Riley – raced home on a wild pitch as Biegalski worked to Josh McLain and slid in safely, pulling the Wolfpack within 3-2.
But the Seminoles answered quickly in the bottom of the fourth, with Danny De La Calle’s bases-loaded single drove home two runs to push FSU’s lead to 5-2. The inning that began so strangely ended in similar fashion, as NC State turned a double play – with the outs coming at home plate and third base – to avoid further damage.
That ended the scoring on both sides until the bottom of the seventh, when Quincy Nieporte’s two-out RBI double provided FSU with an insurance run and the final 6-2 margin.
“Early in the game we had opportunities but didn’t take advantage of them,” Wolfpack shortstop Logan Ratledge said, “but at the same time, that’s baseball.”
Florida State, which entered the tournament having lost five straight, went 4-0 this week. The sixth-seeded Wolfpack (34-21) had won 13 of 15, including a 3-0 finish in pool play, before falling in the title game.
“If we can take a couple of lessons from the week and a couple of lessons from this year as we’ve gotten better, we’ll get better hopefully we’re celebrating a championship next Sunday,” N.C. State coach Elliott Avent said.
The Wolfpack players hope to head into the NCAA tourney with confidence.
“When we play with confidence, we can compete with anyone in the country,” said Pack catcher Andrew Knizner.
Of note: The crowd of 9,759 on Sunday broke the previous championship game record of 8,697 for the 2013 meeting between North Carolina and Virginia Tech, which was also played at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The total attendance of 64,140 for this year’s ACC Baseball Championship ranks as the third-highest in tournament history.
2015 ACC Baseball Championship All-Tournament Team
C – Andrew Knizner, NC State
1B – Christopher Barr, Miami
2B – Ryne Willard, NC State
3B – Kyle Fiala, Notre Dame
SS – Logan Ratledge, NC State
OF – Ben DeLuzio, Florida State
OF – Bubby Riley, NC State
OF – Nick Solak, Louisville
Util/DH –Chris Marconcini, Florida State
P – Boomer Biegalski, Florida State
P – Brian Brown, NC State
MVP – Boomer Biegalski, Florida State
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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