U.Va. waits to
see if at-large bid looms
By Sean Ryan
SALEM, Va. – Virginia entered Saturday’s elimination game of the
ACC tournament against top-ranked Florida State with a golden opportunity: to
add a very quality win to help its NCAA tournament aspirations.
Daniel Davidson didn’t allow the Cavaliers to cash in.
Davidson worked into the eighth, allowing three
hits and striking out seven, as the Seminoles squeaked past the Cavaliers 2-0 at
Memorial Stadium. FSU (49-9-1) advances to play North Carolina State, while U.Va.
(29-25) will wait until Monday’s selection show to see if they’ve done enough
work to be invited to the field of 64.
“It was one of his better outings, and probably the best outing
in his last four,” Seminoles coach Mike Martin said. “…It was a big lift for
this baseball team.”
Davidson, a senior, improved to
9-0 this year and 15-0 in his FSU career by constantly changing speeds and
getting ground-ball outs. He induced 15 groundouts, including six to shortstop
Stephen Drew. He also retired 18 straight at one point.
“Around the third inning, when I was hitting with my curve ball
and my change up and was locating my fastball,” said Davidson of when he felt he
had good stuff.
The Seminoles didn’t do much against lefty
Andrew Dobies (6-3), who allowed six hits and two earned runs in 6.2 innings.
Tony Richie continued his solid tourney by stroking a two-out single for a 1-0
lead in the third. Chris Hart hit a deep fly to left field to score Blake
Balkcom, who had doubled as part of his 2-for-3 day, in the sixth.
“Obviously, Andrew gave us a great opportunity,” Cavaliers coach
Dennis Womack said. “Dobies just about matched Davidson pitch for pitch.”
Added Dobies: “I felt I pitched pretty
decent…the other guy pitched great. I have to roll with the punches, I guess. I
knew I had to keep the runs down. Davidson is a hell of a pitcher.”
Virginia threatened in the eighth
and ninth innings. Kyle Werman singled to chase Davidson with two outs, and Matt
Street singled off reliever Kevin Lynch. All-world closer Daniel Hodges entered
and got Matt Dunn – one of Friday’s heroes for the Cavs – to ground out sharply
to Drew, who was shading up the middle a bit and tagged second to get out of the
In the ninth, Mark Reynolds and Chris Sweet
singled with two outs before Eric Christensen grounded to short to end the game. FSU has now given up three runs in three games.
While the Seminoles’ bed is made for the NCAA tourney, Virginia
likely will have a couple of restless nights.
“My gut tells me that things around the country would have to
break for us,” Womack said. “I know most people we played would say: yeah,
they’re one of the top 64 teams in the country.”
Martin argued that the ACC should definitely get five and said
from seeing other regional teams, the Cavaliers fit the mold.
“I like Virginia; I wish we could get six,” Martin said. “I don’t
like the odds right now.”
Working in Virginia’s favor is an RPI that
should settle in the low-to-mid 20s in a league that is ranked as the best in
the country. Couple that with the fact that of the Cavaliers’ 25 losses, 13 have
been by two runs or less. And nine have been by one run.
“First of all, if you look at our schedule…and also, we haven’t
really had a bad loss,” Womack said. “Most of our losses, a large percentage
have come against ranked teams.”