GREENSBORO, N.C. - Georgia Tech wasted little time in delivering the first upset of the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship.
Jake Davies hit a pair of two-run home runs as the Yellow Jackets defeated Florida State, 5-4, on Wednesday, earning only the third win for a No. 8 seed over No. 1 in the 39-year history of the tournament.
Buck Farmer threw six solid innings and Alex Cruz stranded the tying run on second base in the eighth for Tech (33-24), which made amends for three regular-season losses to the Seminoles and bolstered its NCAA tournament resume.
"I would certainly hope it enhances our cause," coach Danny Hall said. "Let's put it that way."
At the very least, the result sets the Jackets up nicely. They only had to use two pitchers in winning the first of their three round-robin games, and they'll be off on Thursday.
They got off to a great start on Wednesday when Davies delivered an opposite-field drive inside the left-field foul pole to give his club a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
"I thought I might slice it into the corner," Davies said, "but it kept on going. I tried to touch the first base coach's hand and almost missed the base."
Georgia Tech joins the 2001 NC State Wolfpack and the 1985 Wake Forest Demon Deacons on the short list of No. 8s that have knocked off the nominal top dog.
"After you just sit there and watch your team get the lead, it makes you feel pretty comfortable," said Farmer, who allowed three hits in six innings. "You can throw strikes and know you have your offense behind you."
The Jackets did their damage against FSU's No. 3 starter, Scott Sitz, on whom coach Mike Martin called in the name of preserving the rhythm to which his staff has been accustomed.
Brandon Liebrandt, the Seminoles' normal starter on Fridays in the regular season, will get the ball this Friday.
Davies went deep again in the fifth to make it 5-0, but the Noles weren't done. They crawled back into contention with a three-run bottom of the fifth and might have accomplished even more if not for Davies' diving stop of a hard grounder with the bases loaded and none out.
FSU had the sacks full again with two out in the eighth, but Cruz induced Stephen McGee to end the threat.
Cruz permitted a solo homer to James Ramsey with two out in the bottom of the ninth, but that only served to make it a one-run game.
FSU (43-13) isn't especially disturbed about things. In 2010, the Seminoles dropped their tournament opener and went on to win the event. They went 24-6 in 2012 regular-season play, tying a conference record for league wins, and will be considered dangerous until and unless they are eliminated.
"We feel fine about the position we're in," Ramsey said. "We're going to play every game in attack mode."
theacc.com/WFMY News 2