University of Florida Ends Four Turks’ Incredible Run

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were not supposed to lose to college baseball’s best team on Sunday. They weren’t supposed to lose because, truthfully, they weren’t supposed to play them at all.

Then again, expectations don’t typically follow the ACC tournament’s lowest seeded team.

The spectacular collegiate postseason run of four Harrisonburg Turks— Alex Cruz, AJ Murray, Thomas Smith, and Charles Sheffield—came to an end yesterday as the Jackets (38-26) fell to the #1 Florida Gators (45-18). Tech starter Jake Davies gave up five hits, four walks, and six earned runs in his first two innings, and the game was out of reach from there as the Gators won 15-3.

But the loss is not the most spectacular part of Georgia Tech’s tournament run; it’s how they got to a regional at all that is so astounding.

Tech entered the ACC tournament as the eight seed, the last team to receive a berth for conference postseason play and a very improbable at large seed for the forthcoming NCAA tournament. They wasted no time in knocking off the conference’s top team in the opening round, besting Florida State 5-4. The Jackets stayed undefeated following their first win by erupting for 17 runs to blow by powerhouse UVA. After beating Clemson 5-1, they became just the third #8 seed to reach the ACC tournament.

They weren’t satisfied with that.

The 2012 Georgia Tech squad became the first #8 seed to ever win the ACC tournament. Coincidentally, it was also their eighth ACC title. Their magnificent tournament run was powered in part by ACC Tourney MVP Jake Davies, who hit well over .400 with four home runs and eleven RBI’s over the tournament’s four-game stretch. It was a lot of hardware to lug back to Atlanta.

They weren’t satisfied with that.

After grabbing the ACC’s automatic NCAA tournament bid, the Jackets were bound for Gainesville, Florida. Davies’ home run derby continued as the Jackets beat the College of Charleston Cougars last Friday, but they were finally taken down by Florida on Saturday to force a rematch with the Cougars on Sunday. The winner would be awarded a second chance against the Gators. The loser would be eliminated.

With their backs against the wall, the Jackets came up with a 3-0 shutout victory over the Cougars. Florida would end Georgia Tech’s impressive run later that afternoon to advance to the NCAA super-regional round.

It’s a bittersweet ending to the season for Cruz, Murray, Smith, and Sheffield, who are now free to play summer ball with the Turks. With an ACC title under their belt, they can advance through summer Valley League with a feeling of having already accomplished something.

Still, with a Valley League title up for grabs, maybe they aren’t quite satisfied with that.


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