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Duke 3, Miami 2

CHARLOTTE, N. C-- After playing the hero in Duke’s ACC Baseball Championship opener on Wednesday, Michael Rothenberg somehow one-upped himself on Thursday.

Rothenberg’s one-out home run in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the No. 9-seeded Blue Devils to a 3-2 win over fourth-seeded Miami, clinching the Pool D championship and sending Duke into Saturday’s 1 p.m. semifinal game.

Rothenberg, who delivered a grand slam in Wednesday’s tournament-opening win over Florida State, capped an amazing day in which he drove in all three runs for the Blue Devils after coming through with a game-tying two-run single in the bottom of the seventh.

Duke (30-20) extended its ACC-leading win streak to 10 consecutive games and further enhanced an NCAA tournament resume that has grown more vibrant throughout the final weeks of May. Miami (32-18), which also remains a prime candidate for NCAA selection despite Thursday’s loss, closes out ACC Championship play on Friday with a 3 p.m. game versus No. 5 Florida State.

With Thursday’s score knotted at 2-2, Rothenberg stepped in to face All-ACC first-team closer Carson Palmquist, who had retired four straight batters after coming on in the bottom of the eighth. Rothenberg, a switch-hitter batting right against the left-handed Palmquist, worked the count to 1-2 before sending the fourth pitch over wall in left field for his ninth home run of the season and the Duke win.

Zeroes lined both halves of the scoreboard runs column until the top of the sixth, when Christian Del Castillo and Yohandy Morales led off with back-to-back doubles to put Miami in front 1-0. Morales then took third on fielder’s choice and scored on a throwing error by Duke shortstop Ethan Murray to give the Hurricanes a two-run edge.

After mustering just two hits and three base runners through sixth innings, the Blue Devils broke through against Miami reliever Spencer Bodanza to tie the score in the bottom of the seventh. RJ Schreck led off with a single, and Peter Matt followed with a double to right center to put two runners in position for Rothenberg, who hits in Duke’s No. 5 slot.

Rothenberg rapped a single up the middle to score both runners and tie the score at 2-2.

The Blue Devils threatened for more as a double by Erickson Nichols loaded the bases, but Daniel Federman – the Hurricanes’ third pitcher of the day – coaxed Chad Knight into an inning-ending double-play grounder to short.

Marcus Johnson (5-3), who relieved Duke starter Jack Carey on the mound and allowed two hits over the final three innings, picked up the win.

Ga. Tech 9, Louisville 8

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Georgia Tech simply refused to lose on Thursday.Andrew Jenkins’ two-out double to-left center and an ensuing Louisville fielding error led to two runs in the bottom of the 12th inning, lifting the second-seeded Yellow Jackets past the stunned seventh-seeded Cardinals for a 9-8 win in Thursday’s ACC Baseball Championship marathon at Truist Field.

Georgia Tech (29-22) earned a spot in Saturday’s 5 p.m. semifinal game. The Yellow Jackets will represent Pool B and face the winner of Thursday night’s late Pool C game between third-seeded NC State (28-15) and No. 10 seed Pitt (23-19).

Louisville (28-22) carried a three-run lead into the bottom of eighth, and solo home runs by Alex Binelas (in the top of the 11th) and Ben Metzinger (in the top of the 12th) put the Cardinals up by a run twice in extra innings. But Georgia Tech answered on each occasion.

Seven of the Yellow Jackets' last 11 games have now been decided by one run, with Georgia Tech winning five of them.

Metzinger, who hit three runs during the tournament after hitting none during the regular season, put the Cardinals up 8-7 in the top of the 12th. But Georgia Tech’s Trey Gonzalez singled with out in the bottom of the inning, and Justyn-Henry Malloy worked Louisville reliever Luke Smith for a two-out walk that set the stage to Jenkins.

Jenkins’ lined a hard-hit shot to left-center that easily scored Gonzalez, and Malloy also raced home when the ball got past centerfielder Luke Brown to give Georgia Tech the win.

Binelas’ home run – his fourth of the tournament and 19th the year – had earlier put the Cardinals up 7-6 . But Georgia Tech tied things up in the bottom of the 11th on Drew Compton’s one-out RBI double, forcing the teams to play on in a game that took five hours and seven minutes to complete to complete.

The extra-inning drama almost made a footnote of a dramatic Georgia Tech rally in the game’s earlier stages. Louisville took  a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the eight, but a fielding error and a one-out walk to Gonzalez left the door open for freshman Kevin Parada. The Yellow Jacket catcher sent the third pitch he saw from reliever Adam Elliott over the wall in left for a three-run homer that tied the game at 6-6.

The Cardinals attempted to regain the lead on a squeeze play in the top of the ninth inning after Cooper Bowman led off with a walk, stole second and reached third Trey Leonard’s sacrifice bunt. But Levi Usher missed on his attempt to get a suicide squeeze bunt down, and Parada was waiting on Bowman as he reached the plate.

The ball came out of Parada’s grasp as he made the tag, but the out call stood after a lengthy video review.

Louisville bowed out of the tournament despite hitting 11 home runs in two games, including a two-run shot by Lucas Dunn in the first inning and a solo shot by Henry Davis that helped stake the Cardinals to an 4-0 lead through 2 ½ innings on Thursday.

Jenkins delivered a two-run homer in the bottom of the third to keep Georgia Tech in it, and the Yellow Jackets eventually found a way.


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