Home Big seventh, fueled by missed call, lifts Florida State past UVA in ACC Tournament

Big seventh, fueled by missed call, lifts Florida State past UVA in ACC Tournament

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A missed call on a fly ball to the warning track helped Florida State put up the deciding runs in a 12-7 win over Virginia on Friday at the ACC Tournament in Charlotte.

The win sends FSU (41-14) to the ACC Tournament semifinals, and sends UVA (41-15) back home to get ready to host an NCAA Tournament Regional that will begin on Friday, May 31, at The Dish.

Already up 7-2 with two outs in the seventh, Daniel Catu hit a fly ball to deep left-center that UVA centerfielder Bobby Whalen caught, before hitting the wall, taking a couple of steps, then dropped the ball as he was stumbling to regain his balance.

That wasn’t just a catch in baseball; if this was a football game, Whalen made the catch and then a football move.

Second-base umpire Greg Street ruled that the ball was still live, and Catu reached third with what appeared to be a two-run triple.

Virginia coach Brian O’Connor challenged the call on the field, because obviously, but, incredulously, the call was upheld on replay, keeping the two runs on the scoreboard.

Alex Lodise and Drew Faurot followed with back-to-back two-out RBI hits, extending the FSU lead to 11-2.

It didn’t seem that big a deal at the time, until the ‘Hoos rallied for five runs in their half of the seventh, on two-run homers from Ethan Anderson and Luke Hanson, and a solo shot from Casey Saucke, that made it 11-7.

Which means, yeah, yeah, woulda been a different game without the gifted runs.

The ‘Noles tacked on a run in the eighth on a solo homer from James Tibbs.

It was almost like this one was two different ballgames – the wild stuff in the late innings being Game 2, and Game 1 being a bit of a pitchers’ duel between UVA’s Joe Savino and FSU’s Jamie Arnold.

Virginia took the early lead in the bottom half of the third on a two-out RBI Texas League double from Whalen that scored Griff O’Ferrall, who had extended the inning with a two-out single one batter earlier.

FSU finally broke through on Savino (2-2, 3.95 ERA) in the fourth, on a two-run single from Tibbs, then tacked on two more in the fifth on a Max Williams RBI groundout, and a bases-loaded walk to Tibbs from reliever Blake Barker.

An O’Ferrall solo homer leading off the bottom of the sixth got Virginia back to 4-2, ahead of the wild seventh, which played out for nearly an hour in real time.

Savino ended up taking the loss, and was charged with four runs, all earned, on six hits and two walks, with four strikeouts, in four and two-thirds innings of work.

Arnold (10-3, 2.48 ERA) got the win. He was charged with two runs on four hits and a walk, with nine strikeouts, in six solid innings on the mound.

The loss for Virginia almost certainly eliminates the Cavaliers from contention for a Top 8 national seed, which would put UVA in position to host both a Regional and, pending success there, a Super Regional.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].