DURHAM, N.C.—After an uninspired performance in a loss to North Carolina State on Wednesday night in the ACC tournament, Florida State knew it would need to play better Thursday afternoon against Clemson.
“Guys knew going in we had to put together one of our best performances,” right fielder James Ramsey said. “We had our back against the wall a little bit, especially after getting shut out last night and making a couple errors.”
The Seminoles played clean baseball and lefthander Sean Gilmartin beat the Tigers for the second time in the last week. The win keeps Florida State alive for the ACC championship and helps the Seminoles as they make their case for a national seed.
“Every game at this point of the season is important,” coach Mike Martin said. “A lot of questions still to be answered in the minds of the committee members.”
Ramsey gave the Seminoles a big lift Thursday, going 2-for-3 with four RBIs and a home run. The home run came in the sixth inning, and gave Gilmartin a three-run cushion.
Gilmartin pitched well despite two kinds of heat in Durham Bulls Athletic Park—the temperature and scouting variety. A large contingent of high-profile scouts on hand included J.P. Ricciardi, special assistant to Mets general manager Sandy Alderson.
Gilmartin, who is projected as a late first-round or sandwich pick, is used to scouts closely watching him. The heat in Durham, however, was new to him.
“That was the first game I’ve pitched that was this hot for me,” Gilmartin said.
According to the National Weather Service, the temperature reached 90 degrees in Durham slightly before first pitch. Gilmartin tried to brush aside the heat, but Martin said he was proud of his ace for gutting through six innings in the heat and humidity.
The result gives both teams 1-1 records in pool play in the ACC tournament and means Clemson no longer controls its own destiny. Coach Jack Leggett said not having to scoreboard watch is one of the biggest benefits of the double-elimination format used in regionals and at the College World Series, as well as at the Big 12 and SEC tournaments.
Instead, Clemson needs to beat North Carolina State and hope Georgia Tech beats Florida State in order to advance to the title game.
“That’s the tough thing about the format instead of true double-elimination where you worry about yourself,” Leggett said. “Instead you’re sitting around thinking about other teams.”