Duke beats State for first ACC baseball tournament title

Duke pitcher Marcus Johnson celebrates with catcher Michael Rothenberg after their win over NC State in the ACC Tournament championship game Sunday (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

CHARLOTTE — Duke rode the standout pitching of Cooper Stinson and a bullpen that didn’t allow a run the entire tournament to beat NC State 1-0 at Truist Field on Sunday to win the ACC baseball tournament championship for the first time in school history.

Stinson, a junior right-hander who came into the game with a 5.87 earned run average, allowed only three hits while striking out six and walking only one through six innings. He was followed on the mound by Jimmy Loper and Marcus Johnson, who closed out the Blue Devils’ 12th straight win to earn his seventh save of the season.

Duke (32-20) got the only run it needed in the top of the fourth when Ethan Murray led off with a double, went to third on a fly out by R.J. Schreck and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Peter Matt.

State’s best scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the sixth. After Austin Murr reached on an error and advanced to third on another Duke miscue, he left early on a fly ball to center hit by teammate Jonny Butler. The ball was deep enough to get the run home, but because Murr had to go back to third and tag up again, he was unable to advance.

The loss wasted a stellar pitching effort from the Wolfpack tandem of Matt Willadsen and Chris Villaman and prevented State (30-17) from winning its first ACC title since 1992. Willadsen and Villaman combined for nine strikeouts while allowing only five hits.

Both teams will be among those selected to the NCAA Tournament when the field is announced on Monday.

Northeastern 11, UNCW 10 (10 innings)

The Huskies beat the Seahawks in extra innings for the second straight day, winning the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship on a home run by Max Viera with one out in the bottom of the 10th at UNCW’s Brooks Field.

Brooks Baldwin had a pair of homers while Cole Weiss and Noah Bridges had two hits apiece for the Seahawks, who took their first lead of the day at 10-9 in the eighth. But they weren’t able to close the game out.

Landen Roupp was the losing pitcher for UNCW (32-22) despite striking out nine in 3 ⅔ innings of relief. Roupp pitched a shutout in the Seahawks’ tournament opening win and finished the tournament with 21 strikeouts.

UNC lost Saturday’s game against Northeastern 7-5, also in 10 innings.

Samford 8, WCU 6

Only two outs away from forcing a winner-take-all championship in the Southern Conference baseball tournament Sunday, the fourth-seeded Catamounts were stunned as Samford used a pair of ninth inning homers to capture the title.

WCU (28-22) entered the final frame leading 6-4, but with one out, the second-seeded Bulldogs tied the game on a home run by Towns King. Two batters later, Max Pinto ended the game — and the Catamounts’ hopes — with another two-run homer to right-center.

The walkoff rally spoiled a masterful pitching performance by WCU junior Tristen Campbell, who struck out six and induced four double plays in his career-long 8⅓ inning effort.

Justice Bigbie led the Catamounts with three hits while Luke Robinson hit a two-run homer to help his team build a lead that lasted until the game’s final four hitters.

Wingate 4, Columbus State 2

The Bulldogs advanced to the Division II College World Series for the first time in school history by rallying past Columbus State in the Southeast Region championship game in Tigerville, S.C.

Wingate (34-12) trailed 2-1 before taking the lead with a two-run seventh on RBI singles by Andrew McKay and Carson Simpson. It added another run in the eighth on a double by Logan McNeeley to finish off the tournament unbeaten.

Austin Mitchell went the first seven innings for the Bulldogs before Brody McCullough finished the final two innings for the save.

Wingate will be one of eight teams competing for the national championship next week at the USA Baseball Training Complex in Cary.