May 22, 1999
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Florida State’s three trips to Durham Bulls Athletic Park as the top seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament have been far from fruitful.
The regular-season champions arrived this time sporting a record ACC regular-season mark of 22-2. They bowed out of the double-elimination tourney Saturday without the hardware after an 8-7 loss to Clemson – a team that won its ninth straight one-run game.
It’s the first time since 1993 that the Seminoles (48-12) won’t be in the ACC title game as the Tigers will take on defending champion Wake Forest. Florida State also failed to win the title here as the No. 1 seed last year and in 1996.
“At this point in the year you don’t dwell on any of the negatives,” said Florida State coach Mike Martin. “We started practicing in September for one reason – and that starts on Monday (in the NCAA tournament). Sure, we’re disappointed. I didn’t want to go home.”
The top-seeded Seminoles almost pulled out a win after trailing 8-2 heading to the bottom of the eighth inning. The nation’s third-ranked team scored three runs, and added two more in the ninth. The Seminoles had runners on first and second with one out before Chris Heck struck out the final two batters for his fifth save.
“I didn’t look at it as us dominating anybody this season,” Florida State third baseman Kevin Cash said. “We had a lot of close ball games. I don’t think anything changed. We didn’t get it done, they outplayed us.”
Jason Harris, 0-for-10 in the tourney before Saturday, banged out two doubles and drove in three runs for the No. 3 seeded Tigers (37-23), who haven’t won an ACC baseball title since capturing consecutive crowns in 1993-94.
Matt Additon (6-4), a reliever most of the season and Clemson’s No. 5 starter, worked 7 1-3 solid innings. He allowed five runs and struck out five despite an hour-and-a-half rain delay.
Meanwhile, Chris Chavez (6-5), one of the clutch pitchers in the ACC tourney the last four years for the Seminoles, struggled from the outset and gave up five runs in four innings to suffer the loss.
“We’ve put ourselves in good position now,” Clemson coach Jack Leggett said of the NCAA tournament. “There were times during the course of the year where we were a little bit frustrated, so yes, this is a good accomplishment to get to this point.
“All we asked at the beginning was that we take care of our own destiny. Now we know what we’re capable of playing like.”
By DAVID DROSCHAK AP Sports Writer
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