May 29, 2005
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The #7 seeded Virginia Cavaliers (41-18) dropped a hard-fought 4-3 decision to the #1 seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (42-16) in the 2005 ACC Championship in front of 6,251 spectators at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The Cavaliers, who were making just their third ever ACC Championship appearance and their first since 1996, saw a six-game winning streak against the Yellow Jackets come to an end when a seesaw title game went in favor of the top seed in the tournament. In a contest that featured several lead changes, the Yellow Jackets turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead when it scored two pivotal runs in the seventh inning to claim the victory.
Virginia won three consecutive games to advance to the ACC Championship contest after defeating #2 seed Clemson twice (8-1 & 5-4) and #6 N.C. State once (12-2) from May 24-28. Prior to today's contest, UVa had swept Georgia Tech in a pair of ACC weekend series in both the 2004 and 2005 regular seasons to record the longest winning streak in the series history against the Yellow Jackets. The Cavaliers ended ACC Tournament play with a record of 3-1 overall and turned in one of the best tournament finishes in school history.
Virginia scored the first run of the game and took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Tim Henry doubled down the left field line to lead off the side before scoring a run on a wild pitch by Georgia Tech's starting pitcher Tim Gustafson later in the inning.
Georgia Tech tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the third inning with a mini two-out rally. The Yellow Jackets' Whit Robbins walked to reach base before eventually moving to third base. Three batters later, Robbins scored a run when Tyler Greene connected on a RBI-single up the middle to knot the score at one apiece.
Georgia Tech took its first lead of the game in the top of the fourth inning and the Cavaliers found themselves trailing for the first time in the ACC Tournament when Tech's Wes Hodges walked to reach base, advanced to third base on a single by Matt Wieters, then scored on a double play groundout by Steve Blackwood to give the Yellow Jackets a 2-1 lead.
But UVa answered back in the bottom of the fourth inning and tied the game at 2-2 when Tom Hagan lifted a solo home run to left field. Hagan's home run was his first of the season and was the Cavaliers' first of the tournament - as his opposite field shot carried over the wall and onto the grass embankment.
Virginia regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning and took a 3-2 lead by scoring its final run of the game. UVa's Henry singled through the left side and stole second base before scoring two batters later on a RBI-groundout by Zimmerman.
The Cavaliers held onto their one-run lead until the top of the seventh inning when the Yellow Jackets scored a pair of runs to take a 4-3 lead for good. Georgia Tech loaded the bases with two outs and scored a pair of runs - the first run scoring on a bases loaded walk by Jeff Kindel and the second run scored when Mike Trapani crossed the plate on a wild pitch by UVa's Pat McAnaney. Trapani's run would eventually prove to be the game-winner.
Virginia's Sean Doolittle (3-1) was dealt his first loss of the season and his career when he allowed two runs on one hit and struck out one batter in 1.2 innings of action. UVa starting pitcher Robert Poutier went 3.0 innings and allowed two runs on one hit and struck out three batters in a no-decision.
Georgia Tech's Jordan Crews (2-1) picked up the win after going 3.2 scoreless innings in relief action while allowing just one hit. Tech's Matt Wieters pitched 1.0 inning and struck out one batter to post his sixth save to seal the win. The Yellow Jackets' starting pitcher Tim Gustafson went 4.1 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out two batters.
The Cavaliers will find out their postseason fate when Virginia awaits the 2005 NCAA Regional selection which will be announced on Monday, May 30th at 11:30 AM.
-- UVa --
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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