Eighth-inning home runs lift Duke baseball to ACC championship game against Florida State

After being held back for seven innings, Duke’s offense exploded in the eighth inning with two monster home runs, lifting the Blue Devils into the ACC championship game.

Alex Stone and Devin Obee each slammed two-run home runs during a six-run eighth-inning rally that broke a tie and lifted Duke to an 8-2 win over Miami in the ACC baseball tournament semifinals at Truist Field.

The Blue Devils (38-18), seeded No. 6 in the tournament, advance to Sunday’s ACC championship game to face fifth-seeded Florida State at noon. Miami (27-30) saw its miracle run from the No. 11 seed to the semifinals end.

Stone, Duke’s senior catcher, fouled off three consecutive pitches with on a 2-2 count before picking on a slider. He launched the ball 409 feet into the centerfield bleachers to put Duke in front for good.

“That’s just want-to, there’s no coaching there,” Duke coach Chris Pollard said of Stone’s battle with Miami’s Myles Caba. “That’s just a senior, a veteran guy, a captain, a guy that’s meant so much to this program, in a big spot, saying I’m not going down without a lot of flight.”

With two outs and one man on, Obee hammered a 455-foot blast to left field to give Duke more breathing room.

Charlie Beilenson, Duke’s fourth pitcher of the game, retired Miami in order in the ninth inning to send the Blue Devils to the title game.

“This is like a dream come true for us,” Beilenson said. “I mean, we’ve been talking about the ACC championship since the beginning of the season. So I’m proud of these guys and I know we’re gonna tear it up.”

Prior to hitting 864 feet of home runs in the eighth inning, Duke collected only three hits against Miami. But the game was tied 2-2 because Duke’s pitching was on its way to holding Miami to only two hits in the game.

While Miami starting pitcher Herick Hernandez held Duke hitless over the first four innings, Miami took a 2-0 lead on Daniel Cuvet’s two-run home run in the fourth inning. That was Miami’s lone hit against four Duke pitchers over the first seven innings.

Duke finally solved Hernandez in the fifth inning when Logan Bravo drew a lead-off walk and Chase Krewson followed with a single to center field. Two outs later, Kyle Johnson drew a walk to load the bases.

Hernandez walked Zac Morris to force in Duke’s first run.

The Blue Devils collected two hits while tying the game at 2-2 in the seventh inning. Obee singled with one out and moved to third on Wallace Clark’s double. Pinch-hitter Jimmy Evans drove in Obee with a fly ball to left field.

That set the stage for Duke’s eighth-inning outburst.

Seminoles oust Wake Forest

Earlier Saturday, Florida State reached its first ACC tournament championship game since 2018 with its win over Wake Forest.

Ranked No. 10 nationally, the Seminoles fell behind 3-0 in the second inning before their offense got going with three runs in the second and two more in the third.

Max Williams had three hits and four RBIs, including a sixth-inning home run for the Seminoles.

Drew Faurot had two hits and drew a walk while driving in two runs and scoring twice.Daniel Cantu went 2 for 5 with a triple, RBI and two runs scored for Florida State.

Wake Forest (38-20), ranked No. 22 nationally, awaits Monday’s NCAA Tournament pairings announcement to learn where it will play in the regionals next weekend.