(Courtesy: UofL Athletics) DURHAM, N.C. - In a game of runs, No. 7 Florida State delivered the decisive shot in the title game of the 2018 ACC Championship scoring three runs in the 10th inning of Sunday afternoon's 11-8 win against the No. 24 Louisville baseball team at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Drew Mendoza's two-run double in the 10th gave the Seminoles (43-17) the lead for good as they won their second straight ACC Championship. In just the third ACC Championship finale to go to extra innings and the first since 2003, Florida State scored the final six runs of the game to clinch the ACC's automatic berth in the 2018 NCAA Championship.
The Cardinals (43-17) showed tremendous fight in their first ACC Championship final appearance overcoming an early 5-1 deficit to take an 8-5 lead in the fifth. However, Louisville was unable to fend off the rally from the Seminoles. Louisville's Devin Mann, Josh Stowers and Adam Wolf were named to the 2018 ACC Championship All-Tournament Team.
Mann was 3-for-5 with a home run, double, two RBIs and two runs scored in Sunday's game. The junior second baseman finished 8-for-17 with two homers, three doubles, one triple, eight RBIs and eight runs scored in the four games in Durham. Stowers homered and walked in the title game loss and the junior outfielder finished the week 7-for-17 with two home runs, two doubles, one triple, 10 RBIs and six runs.
Freshman catcher Zach Britton added a three-run homer and sophomore Danny Oriente had two hits, drove in one run and scored once. Logan Wyatt added two singles, one RBI and one run scored and finished 5-for-12 with four walks and three RBIs in the ACC Championship.
The Seminoles started fast in Sunday's finale plating two runs in the first inning on a double to left center by Cal Raleigh. Jackson Lueck reached base on a fielder's choice and Rhett Aplin walked before Raleigh drove both home with his double.
Playing in the program's fourth postseason conference title game under head coach Dan McDonnell, Louisville plated its first run of the game in the second on a RBI groundout off the bat of Oriente. Wyatt started the inning with a single through the right side, moved to second on a walk to Stowers and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Drew Campbell before scoring on the ground out to third.
FSU added to its advantage with a three-run third inning, including two earned runs following an error by the Cardinals. Mendoza started the scoring with a RBI single up the middle to plate Raleigh, who reached on an error earlier in the frame. Steven Wells scored on a wild pitch for the second run before Rafael Bournigal's RBI single sent Mendoza home.
The Cardinals cut into the deficit in the bottom of the third on a two-run homer for Mann. Following a one-out walk by Tyler Fitzgerald, Mann launched the 0-2 pitch from Andrew Karp over the 32-foot wall in left center for his second home run of the week and the sixth of the season.
An inning later, Louisville gained its first lead of the day scoring four runs on a pair of home runs by Stowers and Britton. Stowers led off the frame by sending a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left center for his second four-bagger of the week and the ninth of the season. Following back-to-back singles by Campbell and Oriente, Britton pulled a 0-1 pitch into the seats in right center for his second homer of the season and a 7-5 lead.
The cushion increased to 8-5 in the fifth inning on a RBI single up the middle by Wyatt. Mann led off with a double down the left field before scoring on Wyatt's second hit of the game.
FSU started its comeback with an unearned run in the sixth to narrow the margin to 8-6. An inning later, Florida State pulled even in the seventh with a pair of runs on two hits. Reese Albert led off with a double to left field before scoring on a RBI single from Bournigal, who moved to second on the throw home by the Cardinals. A sacrifice bunt by J.C. Flowers moved Bournigal to third before a throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed him to score the tying run.
The score remained even until the 10th inning, when the Seminoles gained command for good with their three-run frame. After loading the bases on a walk to Lueck, a single by Aplin and a walk to Wells, Mendoza drove a 2-0 pitch to right field allowing both Lueck and Aplin to score on his one-out double. Albert followed with a RBI groundout to score Wells for the final run.
Sophomore Michael McAvene took the loss for the Cardinals after the righthander allowed three runs on one hit in 1.2 innings of relief. Righty Bryan Hoeing gave Louisville a strong relief outing as the junior did not allow an earned run in 3.1 innings of relief early in the game.
Louisville will learn its 2018 NCAA Championship assignment when the field of 64 is announced Monday at noon ET on ESPNU. The 16 NCAA Regional hosts for the 2018 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship will be released on www.NCAA.com/CWS and ESPN BottomLine tonight at approximately 8:30 p.m., ET.
Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter at @UofLBaseball and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ulbaseball.
2018 ACC BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
C - Cal Raleigh, Florida State
1B - Chris Williams, Clemson
2B - Devin Mann, Louisville
3B - Drew Mendoza, Florida State
SS - Logan Davidson, Clemson
OF - Seth Beer, Clemson
OF - Josh Stowers, Louisville
OF - Chris Cappas, Pitt
UT/DH - Jackson Lueck, Florida State
P - Drew Parrish, Florida State
P - Adam Wolf, Louisville
MVP - Cal Raleigh, Florida State