DURHAM, N.C. – Sophomore Michael Guldberg timed his first home run of the season as his three-run moonshot broke the dam, powering Georgia baseball to a 9-2 win over NC State on Saturday afternoon in the ACC Tournament semifinals at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The No. 6 Yellow Jackets (41-16) also got sensational outings on the mound from senior starter RHP Keyton Gibson and redshirt junior RHP Jonathan Hughes who held the Wolfpack (42-17) to just six hits overall and 10 left on base
Gibson and Hughes (8-2) worked the longest outings of the season on Saturday, giving just one run apiece while striking out three and four batters, respectively. In 5.0 innings of work, Hughes allowed just two hits over the 20 batters he faced in 72 pitches.
Beyond Guldberg, there were plenty of heroes at the record for Tech. Nick Wilhite finished 3-for-4, highlighted by a two-RBI single up to the middle of a five spot in the eighth inning. Tristin English (2-for-4) had his second home run of the tournament and a double. Luke Waddell went 2-for-3 from the leadoff spot while Baron Radcliff and Colin Hall both had key doubles, including the back-breaking two-RBI rope down the right-field line to start the eighth.
For NC State, leadoff left-fielder Jonny Butler led the way offensively with two hits. The Wolfpack used six pitchers out of the bullpen, while starting RHP Jason Parker (4-3) took the loss, surrendering four runs on five hits in 4.2 innings of work.
The Yellow Jackets will play for its first ACC Championship since 201
DANNY HALL: Really proud of my two senior pitchers, Keyton Gibson threw three innings on Wednesday, so the plan was to just get another three out of him, and then we got greedy and said, we got three, let's get four, and then we got to the fourth, and he almost got through the fourth but didn't, and we went to Jonathan. Five innings, two hits, one run, came in and just really settled the game. Then I thought we had a lot of contributions, a lot of guys getting on, but Michael, that was obviously a big hit, home run in the game, and he had a fantastic year.
done with just getting base hits and getting on base, and he happened to hit a home run which couldn't have been better at giving me some comfort. And then we were able to, you know, expand the lead in the eighth inning. And very proud of Baron Radcliff, struggled early in the game, kept his poise. Then came up in a big moment against a lefty and hit a double down the right field line for two more runs. Definitely a great team win, and, you know, give us a chance to play for the title tomorrow.
Q. Michael, tell us how it felt your first home run of the season. MICHAEL GULDBERG: Felt great. It's been a long season and I haven't been able to get out of the ballpark yet, but it felt good to find the barrel and see it go.
Q. Danny, North Carolina State had a chance to score early and Keyton found a way to get the big outs and that, along with Jonathan settling the game down, so did a good job of doing the same thing.DANNY HALL: I said that in the locker room after the game that keyed to early early pitches to get out of trouble when he needed to, and so did Jonathan. NC State is a really good team. They've got a lot of guys that can really hit over there. To limit them to two runs, six hits, can say enough about the way everybody pitched.
Q. Jonathan, it's been a long way back for you. I can only imagine, what this moment must feel like, after all you have been through the last two years, but you can get through, A, your emotions right now and, B, how has this process gone to Get to this point where you are right now, JONATHAN HUGHES: I would say it's very exciting. I've been trying to produce all year, help my team win, any way it fit. I was happy I could come after Keyton and get as many outs as I could. I just tried to stay focused and finish the game.
Q. Danny, kid or what in your mind's eye before the game? What are you thinking about as far as here is how we can fit them, using many numbers of arms or how you thought you could get things going? I think it was quite how it played out. DANNY HALL: We knew we were going to have some different guys, and most of the guys we pitched all year have been bullpen guys, especially Keyton and Jonathan. But Keyton of late has thrown the ball really good, he has started for us in the past. He's a senior. Jonathan is a senior, and you child or heard Tristin English talk about it last night, that our seniors had never won a career in the ACC baseball tournament.
So as a group, you know, I think they ' re very focused on trying to win as many as we can here. I was told by Jason Howell today because we looked at a lot of video, we were doing our homework this morning, and we obviously considered Cort Roedig to start as well, but after the game yesterday, I think Jason said something to Keyton to the affect of, hey, you may start tomorrow, and Keyton looked at him and said, I want the ball
So when someone tells you they want the ball I've been around this game long enough to know that, you
So, to Keaton's credit, he stepped up, and then Jonathan came in and backed him up. Between the two of them did a tremendous job.
Q. Where do you think this win puts you in the scheme of things as far as finishing in the top eight? DANNY HALL: Okay. Let me think about that, how I really want to answer this for a while.
I say it this way: Louisville won the regular season championship. We beat them 2 out of 3 at Louisville. NC State was third, so we beat them tonight. We have beaten Georgia 2 out of 3, who everybody has as a top-eight national seed. We have a win over UCLA, a win over West Virginia. Someone said today if they added up our profit now in the ACC and the SEC, that we were something like 25-12.
So if that is not good enough to be a top-eight national seed in the league that we play in and the way our team has played down the stretch here, then I have no idea what somebody might be looking at.
Q. Good answer, Coach. (Laughter.) I want to go back to the senior class for a minute. Michael, I'm curious from your perspective as an under classman how much the leadership of that senior class has meant. Seems like this team has a vibe about it right now. MICHAEL GULDBERG: A lot of it. The leadership on this team is really, really good, all the young guys, myself, the freshmen, we look up to them. There's a lot of energy and we're just having a great time.
Q. Danny, the explanation we were given in the press box on Tristin's strange at-bat in the eighth inning was that it was not reviewable because they called a fair ball. All they can review is hit by pitch. Is that an indictment of the replay review situation that does not include that, or an indictment of just incompetence by a field crew that did not see that the ball came off and his helmet? DANNY HALL: No, and that's what was explained to me, too. So I think by the letter of the rule, they did what they had to do. I don't know if they looked to see the ball became a dead ball after hit his bat and then hit his helmet.
The way I would understand it – and I don't know if that would be reviewable , quite honestly. They may have just looked, did it hit the bat, and the ball was called fair, in and out, on the field. The way it was explained is that it can review it, because it was called fair. So I just say that, you know, that's what happened. It's not an easy call. Based on the letter of the rule, they probably did what they were supposed to do.
Q. Michael, were you getting jealous of Tristin and Kyle and Baron? MICHAEL GULDBERG: Everybody has been counting me I've gotta get mine.
DANNY HALL: You almost got two tonight?
MICHAEL GULDBERG: I capped the second one.
Q. JONATHAN HUGHES: Well, it's been a long time running, four years has been a long time. Like he said, the senior class hasn't won a game here at all. Every single time we go back disappointed, but I think this group of guys just really came together and worked hard, and we don't want to end it here. We didn 't want to end it.
We want to keep playing, so Tristin preached early in the game, right before the game was saying, hey, we' re only guaranteed next game, let 's play and get another one. We want to play with each other. This is a great group of guys, we want to keep going, so I think that means a lot.
MICHAEL GULDBERG: I mean, just what he said, you know, the more games we win, the more we get to play together and we're just thrilled to be playing together.
Q. Coach, talk to us about playing against North Carolina tomorrow. How are you guys going to play against a good team like that. You are going to have to make an order to win tomorrow? DANNY HALL: I mean, I think North Carolina is an excellent team, thinking that when we played them early in Atlanta.
They have great players, they have good pitchers, they're well-coached. I mean, it's going to be a – hopefully a great game tomorrow, but I think they're very, very good. So, you know, they've won their way into the championship and, you know, I'm sure they'll be ready to go, but they're an outstanding team.
· Georgia Tech advances to the ACC Tournament title game for the first time since 2014. The Yellow Jackets have won nine ACC Tournament championships in program history.
· The Jackets are 9-3 all-time in championship game appearances Tech is 19-4 over its last 23 games.
Tech improved to 81-63 (.563) all-time in the ACC Tournament.
Tech moved to 72-60 (. 545) in its 40th-straight appearance in the preliminary rounds of the ACC Tournament
· With Michael Guldberg's home run, all nine of the players in Georgia Tech's usual lineup (that's been used in its current order in 17 games have home runs on the season.