Virginia Tech would like to be one of the 16 teams hosting an NCAA regional, and the Hokies are making an excellent case for it.
Poquoson's Chad Pinder knocked in the winning run with a sacrifice fly to center in the seventh inning as the 21st-ranked Hokies (38-19) clinched a berth in Sunday's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament final, completing a 3-0 run through pool play with a 3-2 victory over Georgia Tech in Durham, N.C.
It will be Tech's first appearance in a conference championship game since the Atlantic 10 tournament in 2000. The Hokies will face North Carolina or N.C. State, who play each other Saturday night.
It was a day of mixed emotions, plenty of offense and little defense for William and Mary in the double-elimination Colonial Athletic Association baseball tournament in Harrisonburg. The Tribe (36-21) went 1-1 for the day and will play an elimination game at 1 p.m. against Northeastern.
After squandering a big lead in a game that was suspended Thursday night because of rain, produced a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to overcome James Madison 20-19.
But in its next game, the Tribe's usually excellent pitching staff against struggled as W&M fell to Towson 20-13. That win put the Tigers (28-28) in control of the tournament, needing just one win in their last two games to claim the championship and an automatic NCAA tournament berth.
The sixth-seeded Dukes, who trailed 12-3 with W&M batting in the bottom of the third inning when play was stopped Wednesday night, led 19-16 on their home field with two out and nobody on base in the bottom of the ninth.
But Derek Lowe singled, Ryan Brown hit an RBI double, Willie Shaw walked and Michael Katz was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Ryan Lindemuth hit a tying two-run single through the left side, and Ryan Hissey hit the winning single up the middle.
Thirteen batters were hit by pitches, and there were 45 hits -- 22 by the Tribe. Eleven pitchers were used -- five by the Tribe. The victory was beyond unusual for W&M, which has relied on excellent pitching throughout the year.
JMU got back in the game by scoring six runs in the fourth inning off J.T. Castner, who failed to record an out. Even Brett Koehler, one of W&M's top pitchers all year, gave up six runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Jonathan Sarty had five RBI for W&M, Hissey had four hits and Shaw scored four runs.
For JMU, Johnny Bladel, Ty McFarland and Cole McInturff all had four hits. Bladel drove in five runs and scored four, while McFarland scored three and drove in four.
Soon afterward, JMU was eliminated with an 11-7 loss to Northeastern.
Against Towson, life got no better for W&M's pitching. Jason Inghram, one of the few W&M pitchers who didn't work against JMU, yielded 11 earned runs and 13 hits in 3 2/3 innings. Castner gave up four runs in a third of an inning.
W&M led 4-2 before yielding six runs in the bottom of the third. The Tribe cut it to 13-11 before Towson scored four runs in the sixth.
Against the Tigers, Lindemuth was 4-for-5 with a homer, three runs and six RBI. Towson's Brendan Butler was 3-for-5 with a homer, three runs and six RBI. ...
In the night's last game, top seed UNC Wilmington was ousted with a 5-4 loss to Northeastern. Pete Castoldi's single to right field lifted the Huskies to their second walk-off victory of the tournament.
Hampton won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's top prize for women's all-sports excellence for the 12th year in a row, and Norfolk State took top men's honors for the ninth consecutive year.
Hampton (100.5 points) won its 12th straight Mary McLeod Bethune Women's All-Sports Award.
The Spartans' men tallied 82.8 points to win their 10th Talmadge Layman Hill Award overall. Bethune-Cookman was second with 68 points.
Christopher Newport women's lacrosse standout Stephanie Green was named the 2013 USA South Woman of the Year, bestowed upon the student-athlete who best exemplifies collegiate achievement in service, leadership, athletics, and academics.
A two-time all-conference defender, she helped guide the squad to four consecutive USA South regular-season and tournament championships.The Pasadena, Md., native graduated Summa Cum Laude and compiled a 3.92 grade-point average while majoring in neuroscience. She was named the Christopher Newport Female Student-Athlete of the Year for the 2010-11 academic year. She is also a member of four honor societies.
Green has been involved in service and leadership projects throughout her tenure at CNU. In that time, she founded AdaptLax, which is an organization designed to provide athletic opportunities to individuals with disabilities, specifically in lacrosse. She even received a Ferguson Fellowship Grant to help kick off the program.
Virginia's Jarmere Jenkins, the tournament's third seed, edged Southern California's Ray Sarmiento 7-6, 2-6, 6-4 to reach the NCAA singles quarterfinals in Urbana, Ill.
Jenkins, who has won three matches in singles since being named the outstanding player in U.Va.'s run to its first team championship, faces Texas' Soren Hess-Olesen on Saturday.
Jenkins and teammate Mac Stysingler got to the doubles quarterfinals, outlasting Mississippi State's Malte Stropp and Jordan Angus 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. The Cavaliers next will face Bob van Overbeek and Stephane Piro of Florida in the quarterfinals.
In the NCAA round of 16, William and Mary's Maria Belaya and Jeltje Loomans lost 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 to Nebraska's Patricia Veresova and Mary Weatherholt, the No. 3 seeds.
The defeat left Belaya and Loomans, who led the Tribe to the CAA team crown, one victory short of All-America status.
Track and field:
Norfolk State senior Keith Nkrumah and junior James Taylor advanced through the first round of the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Greensboro, N.C.
Nkrumah won his heat in the 110-meter hurdles in 13.83 seconds, making him the No. 6 qualifier out of 24 who advanced to Saturday's national quarterfinal round. Athletes must place in the top 12 of the quarterfinals to advance to Eugene, Ore., the site of the outdoor nationals next month.
Taylor was second in his heat of the 200 meters in 20.92. He is the No. 11 qualifier in the field of 24.
Taylor, Nkrumah, Damian Smith and Kenneth Smith will also compete in the 4x100 relay Saturday. The women's 4x100 relay of Torie Cunningham, Brittney McCants, Qua'Nesha Wallace and Champagne Bell will also run Saturday, while freshman Kiara Howell will participate in the shot put. ...
Thomas Porter became the first U.Va. athlete to qualify for the NCAA Championships next month in Oregon.
Porter finished seventh in the men's 10,000 meters in 30 minutes, 0.23 of a second.
At the Division III championships in LaCrosse, Wis., Christopher Newport's Enuma Ezenwa placed 21st in the heptathlon with 4,199 points, the third-highest total in CNU history.