ACC Weekend Preview for Feb. 22nd-24th

We enter the opening weekend of the College Baseball season. We will be bringing you an ACC weekend preview throughout the regular season and during the postseason will have previews of every regional. The biggest highlight of the weekend is Wake Forest heading out to Pepperdine for a three game set. We have a great preview on every ACC in our conference preview section broken off by divisions. The Atlantic Division preview is available here and the Coastal Division is available here. I will be updating this post as more information becomes available.

Wake Forest at Pepperdine

Wake Forest enters the season coming off a 34-29 campaign in which they qualified for the NCAA Tournament. They were sent to the Round Rock Regional hosted by Texas. They ended up going 1-2 with a victory over Brown and losses to UC-Irvine and Texas to end their season. The top returning player for the Demon Deacons is Allan Dykstra who finished second on the team in average at .310 and leading the team with 18 homers. Pepperdine will host Wake Forest in the season opener after having a 35-22 record. They qualified for the Long Beach Regional where they lost both games to UCLA and Long Beach State. Brett Hunter is the top returning pitcher for the Waves where rumors have it that he is throwing in the upper 90’s during spring workouts.

Probable Starters
Friday RHP Ben Hunter (8-6, 4.07) vs. RHP Brett Hunter (6-5, 3.94)
Saturday, Game 1 LHP Garrett Bullock (4-3, 5.12) vs. LHP Robert Dickmann (6-4, 3.96)
Saturday, Game 2 RHP Charlie Mellies (1-2, 5.06) vs. RHP Nathan Newman (JC Tr.)
Sunday LHP Mark Adzick (Fr.) vs. LHP Scott Alexander (Fr.)

Wake Forest Game Notes
Pepperdine Game Notes

The CBB predicts that Wake Forest will win two out of three games in the series.

North Carolina at Florida Atlantic

The North Carolina Tar Heels are coming off their second straight appearance in the CWS Championship Series in which they lost again to Oregon State. UNC went 57-16 in 2007 while having a conference record of 21-9. They lost two major figures in their everyday lineup in Josh Horton and Reid Fronk. They also lost two starting pitchers in Robert Woodard and Luke Putkonen. The Tar Heels top players in the everyday lineup returning are Dustin Ackley and Tim Fedroff who had outstanding freshmen campaigns where they forced Mike Fox to put them in the everyday lineup. The FAU Owls went 36-22 while going 15-15 in the Sun Belt conference. They are led by Mike McKenna who is a candidate for All-American awards after hitting .413 with 16 homers in 2007.

Probable Starters
Friday: UNC RHP Alex White (6-7, 4.94 ERA) vs FAU RHP Mickey Storey (3-0, 3.07 ERA)
Saturday: UNC RHP Adam Warren (12-0, 2.17 ERA) vs FAU TBA
Sunday: UNC RHP Rob Catapano (1-1, 4.50 ERA) vs FAU TBA

UNC Game Notes
FAU Game Notes

The CBB predicts the North Carolina Tar Heels will sweep FAU in three easy games.

Cincinnati at Miami (FL)

The Miami Hurricanes open their 2008 campaign with the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Canes had a solid season in 2007 in which they went 37-24 and were knocked out of the Missouri Regional by Louisville. The Hurricanes return one of the best offenses in the nation with Yonder Alonso, Mark Soblewski, Blake Tekotte, and Jemile Weeks. Eric Erickson who was the top starter returns to the Hurricanes. Cincinnati is coming off a 28-28 season with top starting pitcher Don Osterbrock coming back after a 9-1 season with a 2.67 ERA.

Probable Starters

Friday: Cincinnati LHP Dan Osterbrock (9-1, 2.67) vs Miami (FL) LHP Eric Erickson (10-4, 2.50)
Saturday: Cincinnati RHP Michael Hill (5-2, 5.24) vs Miami (FL) RHP Enrique Garcia (8-4, 3.82)
Sunday: Cincinnati RHP-Tyler Smith (NR) vs Miami (FL) LHP- Chris Hernandez (NR)

Miami FL Game Notes
Cincinnati Game Notes

The CBB predicts the Miami Hurricanes will sweep Cincinnati.

Duquesne at Florida State

The Duquesne Dukes went 22-29 while having a conference record of 10-17. They are led by head coach Mike Wilson who is entering his 15th season in charge of the program with a career record of 289-429-1. The Florida State Seminoles continued to qualify for the NCAA Tourney but did not make it to the CWS getting eliminated by Mississippi State in the Tallahassee Regional.

Probable Starters
Friday: DU RHP Gary Pierpoint vs FSU RHP Elih Villanueva
Satuday: DU RHP Ryan Juran vs FSU LHP Matt Fairel
Sunday: DU RHP Paul Bugajski vs FSU RHP Mike McGee

FSU Game Notes
DU Game Notes

The CBB predicts FSU to dominate Duquesne and sweep them.

Mercer at Clemson

The Mercer Bears head into Clemson coming off a 33-25 season while going 17-10 in the Atlantic Sun. They return Billy Shaughnessy who is the top returning hitter after compiling a .333 average. Clemson is coming off a Super Regional appearance where they lost to Mississippi State. The top returning hitter for the Tigers is Doug Hogan who hit .350 last season. There has been a schedule change as Friday’s game has been postponed until Saturday.

Probable Starters

Saturday Game 1: Mercer RHP Boone Webster vs Clemson LHP Ryan Hinson
Saturday Game 2: Mercer RHP Justin Boyette vs Clemson RHP D.J. Mitchell
Sunday: Mercer RHP John Hoelzer vs Clemson RHP Graham Stoneburner

Mercer Game Notes
Clemson Game Notes

The CBB predicts Mercer to take 2 out of 3 against a Clemson team which is still trying to find themselves.

Lehigh at Virginia

The Lehigh Mountain Hawks head down to Virginia to take on the Cavaliers. Lehigh is coming off a 13-30-1 season and a conference record of 2-18. The Virginia Cavaliers are coming off a 45-16 season which saw them host a regional but get ousted by Oregon State. There has been a schedule change with Doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.

Probable Pitchers

Saturday Game 1: Lehigh TBA vs UVA Jacob Thompson (14-0, 1.50 ERA)
Saturday Game 2: Lehigh TBA vs UVA LHP Pat McAnaney or RHP Andrew Carraway
Sunday Game 1 Lehigh TBA vs UVA LHP Pat McAnaney or RHP Andrew Carraway
Sunday: Game 2 TBA

Virginia Game Notes
Lehigh Game Notes

The CBB predicts that UVA will sweep Lehigh and start the season off on the right note.

Youngstown State at Ga Tech

The Youngstown State Penguins head south to visit ACC member Georgia Tech. YSU went 19-37 last year as their pitching staff struggled throughout the season. The Yellow Jackets lost All-American catcher Matt Wieters and center fielder Danny Payne to the MLB draft. Derek Dietrich is the top newcomer on the team after ripping up the Ohio High School circuit the last few years.

Probable Starter

Friday: LHP David Duncan (7-4, 3.72) vs. Lucas Engle (4-6, 5.24)
Saturday: RHP Eddie Burns (3-3, 3.58) vs. Adam Kalafos (4-7, 5.72)
Sunday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (0-1, 11.74) vs. Aaron Swenson (3-2, 6.48)

GT Game Notes
YSU Game Notes

The CBB continues to predict the ACC teams will win a ton of games this weekend with GT sweeping the Penguins.

Appalachian State at NC State

The ASU Mountaineers went 33-26 while going 14-13 in the Southern Conference. NC State returns a veteran squad in the field led by Dallas Poulk. The Wolfpack return their number one starter in Eric Surkamp who was a member of the USA National Team this past summer.

Saturday: Game 1 ASU TBA vs NC State Eric Surkamp
Saturday: Game 2 ASU TBA vs NC State TBA
Sunday: ASU TBA vs NC State TBA

ASU Game Notes
NC State Game Notes

The CBB predicts that NC State will sweep Appalachian State.

Boston College at GA Southern

Boston College heads on the road like they do every season and visit the Georgia Southern Eagles. Boston College returns a veteran rotation led by 2006 CCBL Pitcher of the Year Terry Doyle. Georgia Southern is coming off a 34-28 campaign while going 13-14 in the Southern Conference.

Probable Starters
Friday: GS Drew Murray (4-7 5.66) vs. BC Terry Doyle (Sr, RHP) (4-5 5.87)
Saturday: GS Aaron Eubanks (3-5 4.32) vs. BC Dan Houston (3-4 5.24)
Sunday: GS Andy Moye (NR) vs. TBA

BC Game Notes (HIGHLY UNLIKELY)
Georgia Southern Game Notes

The CBB predicts GA Southern to win two out of three games over the weekend.

Iona at Duke

The Iona Gaels are coming off a tough 2007 season where they went 16-35 overall while struggling in the MAAC to a 8-18 mark. They are led by third year head coach Pat Carey who played at Providence College from 1996-1998 and had a successful coaching career at Rockland Community College. The Blue Devils had an excellent run during out of conference games going 21-3 in those. They struggled in the ACC to a 8-22 record but showed marked improvement under third year head coach Sean McNally. The top two returning players for the Blue Devils are Nate Freiman (.369 BA) and Alexander Hassan (.262) who showed marked improvement near the end of the season.

Probable Pitchers
Friday: Iona TBA vs Duke TBA
Saturday: Iona TBA vs Duke TBA
Sunday: Iona TBA vs Duke TBA

Iona Game Notes
Duke Game Notes

The CBB predicts Duke to sweep the Gaels.

Virginia Tech and Maryland are taking part in the IMICHotels.com INN-vitational Preview and I have posted a preview of this tournament here.