This is Part 1 of our two part ACC Weekend Preview for the first week of conference action from March 6th-8th. In this preview, we look at Clemson vs North Carolina, Boston College vs Florida State, and NC State vs Miami (FL). You can view the second part of our conference preview by clicking here.
#18 Clemson at #3 North Carolina
The Clemson Tigers open the ACC schedule with an overall record of 5-2 with the two losses coming to in-state rivals Furman and South Carolina. The Tigers are led by Jack Leggett who is in his 16th season as the head coach.
The Clemson offense has struggled in the early part of the season with a .248 average which is down from the 2008 team average of .285. The leading hitter right now for Clemson is Ben Paulsen who is hitting .464 with only a homer and seven RBI. Wilson Boyd (.316) and Brad Miller (.304) are the only other Tigers above .300. The biggest problem in the lineup has been the slow start from Kyle Parker who is only hitting .130 after being a First Team Freshman All-American last season.
The Tigers pitching staff has been outstanding with a team ERA of 2.35 and holding opponents to a .203 batting average in the first seven games of the season. They are led by Massachusetts native Chris Dwyer who has started his collegiate career in outstanding fashion with a 2-0 record and a 0.00 ERA in 11.2 innings while only allowing two hits. He pitched on Wednesday this week against Furman where he failed to give up a hit. He might make the start for the Tigers on Sunday as the rotation is not set for the weekend yet. The other two starters for Clemson are Trey Delk (1-0, 1.93 ERA) and Kevin Brady (0-0, 2.00 ERA) have both started two games. Brady started on Wednesday night against UNC-Asheville where he pitched three innings in a likely tuneup for the weekend.
North Carolina Tar Heels enter the weekend with an 8-1 record with the single loss coming against Coastal Carolina. They are led by Mike Fox who is entering his 11th season in charge of the program.
The offense for the Tar Heels has been solid during the early part of the season averaging 7.8 runs a game while having a team average of .331. The Tar Heels’ leading hitter right now is junior catcher Mark Fleury who is hitting at a .444 clip. (CCBL All-Star Game participant). Fleury has been a force at driving in runs with 17 RBI while hitting three homers. He took over the everyday catching duties this season as Tim Federowicz left after being selected by the Boston Red Sox. Kyle Seager is second on the squad with a .438 average with three doubles out of his 14 hits on the season. Dustin Ackley who has been named to All-American teams during his first two seasons at North Carolina has the third highest batting average at .433 while only driving in four runs.
I believe that North Carolina has the best rotation in the conference led by Alex White. They have a team ERA of 2.22 with a complete game shutout on the year. The weekend rotation during the early portion of the year has been Alex White on Fridays, followed by Adam Warren on Saturdays, and Matt Harvey on Sundays. Alex White has started off slow with a perfect 2-0 record with a 3.18 ERA which is the highest out of the three weekend starters. Matt Harvey is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA as he has started two games with a relief appearance. Adam Warren has the lowest ERA on the starting staff at 1.59 in two starts where he has a 1-0 record.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday Alex White, RHP (Jr., 2-0, 3.18) Trey Delk, RHP (Sr., 1-0, 1.93)
March 7 2 p.m. Adam Warren, RHP (Sr.,1-0 , 1.59) Graham Stoneburner, RHP (So., 0-1, 6.00)
March 8 1 p.m. Matt Harvey, RHP (So., 3-0 , 3.00) Chris Dwyer, LHP (Fr., 1-0, 0.00)
Brian’s Prediction: UNC sweeps Clemson
Vu’s Prediction: UNC takes two out of three games.
Boston College at #6 Florida State
The Boston College Eagles head down to Tallahassee to take on the Florida State Seminoles sporting a 8-2 record with the two losses coming to Florida Gulf Coast and Towson. The Eagles are led by third year head coach Mikio Aoki.
The offense for the Eagles has been the best part of the squad as they have a team batting average of .346 with none of the Eagles everyday starters below .300. The leading hitter right now is leadoff hitter and outfielder Robbie Anston who is hitting at a .426 clip with three stolen bases in four attempts. Tony Sanchez who entered the season as the Eagles best pro prospect is second on the squad with a .419 average while hitting three homers and 12 RBI.
The Eagles pitching staff has a staff ERA of 5.87 but that number is inflated as the Eagles have given up more then 10 runs in three out of their first 10 games. The top pitcher during the first two weekends has been J.B. McDonald who is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings pitched. He is holding opponents to a .159 batting average. Pat Dean, Mike Dennhardt, and John Leonard have each had one quality start this season while being absolutely torn apart in the other one. Dean has a 1-1 record with a 3.75 ERA while Dennhardt is 2-0 with a 6.94 ERA and finally Leonard is 1-0 with a 9.31 ERA. Mike Belfiore who is on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list leads the BC bullpen with a team high four saves in five appearances but has an ERA of 6.75. Nate Bayuk has been serving as a lefthanded specialist where he has pitched in seven games while giving up only three hits.
The Florida State Seminoles enter the weekend on a three game losing streak as they have a 6-3 overall record with the three losses against Auburn, Jacksonville, and North Florida. They are led by Mike Martin Sr. who is in his 30th season in charge of the Seminole baseball program.
The Seminoles have a young squad which has a team batting average of .338 against some inferior opponents so the stats are skewed some. Tyler Holt is the leading hitter with an outstanding average of .556 with 10 extra base hits out of his total of 16. Ohmed Danesh is second on the squad with a .393 average with a homer and seven RBI. The Seminoles also have six other players who are hitting over .300 or higher during the early portion of the season.
The Seminoles pitching staff has a staff ERA of 4.68 during the beginning of the season. The Seminoles will send Geoff Parker, John Gast, and Sean Gilmartin to the mound this weekend. Parker currently has 1-0 record in two starts with a 5.79 ERA. Gast has a 1-0 record with an ERA of 8.59 in two starts while Gilmartin is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA. Jimmy Marshall has recorded the only save for the Seminoles this season while pitching in three games while totally three total innings.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: BC RHP JB McDonald (1-0, 0.69 ERA) vs FSU LHP, Sean Gilmartin (2-0)
Saturday: BC LHP Pat Dean (1-1, 3.75 ERA) vs FSU RHP, Geoff Parker (1-0)
Sunday: BC RHP Mike Dennhardt (2-0, 6.94 ERA) vs FSU Florida State – LHP, John Gast (1-0)
Brian’s Prediction: FSU takes two out of three games.
Vu’s Prediction: The Seminoles sweep the Eagles.
NC State at #9 Miami (FL)
The NC State Wolfpack enter the weekend with an overall record of 7-2 as they enter with a seven game winning streak after losing to Rhode Island and Xavier to start the season. They are led by Elliot Avent who is entering his 13th season in charge of the Wolfpack program.
The NC State hitters have started off the season with a .295 team batting average and are led by freshman catcher Pratt Maynard who has a .367 average and a team leading three homers. He is also fourth on the team with nine RBI. Drew Martin is second on the squad with a .357 average while two sport athlete Russell Wilson has struggled early in the year with a .263 average but a team high six stolen bases without being caught.
The pitching staff for the Wolfpack has a staff ERA of 3.10 with one complete game shutout on the year. The Wolfpack’s rotation has seen Zak Sinclair, Jake Buchanon, and Jimmy Gillheeney all make two starts on the season. Sinclair has a 1-0 record with a 1.08 ERA in 8.1 innings of work. Jake Buchanon has a 1-0 record in three appearances (two starts) while accumulating a 1.50 ERA in 12.0 innings of work. Jimmy Gillheeney had a 2-0 record with a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings. Sam Brown has recorded the only save for the Wolfpack during the first nine games of the season.
The Miami Hurricanes enter the weekend with an identical 7-2 mark with losses to Rhode Island and Rutgers during the non-conference part of the schedule. They are led by Jim Morris who is entering his 16th season in charge of the Hurricane program and his 31st overall season as a head coach in college baseball.
The Hurricanes are hitting at a .331 clip through the first nine games of the season. The top everyday hitter for the Canes is David DiNatale who is hitting .441 with twelve hits in the first nine games of the season. Freshman Harold Martinez is second on the squad with a .375 average while being tied for the team lead with two homers. Nathan Melendez (.353), Scott Lawson (.343), Ryan Jackson (.333), and Chris Hermann (.321) all have been nice additions to the everyday lineup. Jackson entered the season as one of the top shortstops in the nation.
The Miami Hurricane pitching staff has a team ERA of 2.57 in the first nine games of the season. Chris Hernandez (TCBB 28th best player) entered the year as the top pitcher on the staff as he has a 2-0 record with a 4.09 ERA in two starts. David Gutierrez has been the most dominant starting pitcher with a 1-0 record and an 0.75 ERA in his two starts this season. Kevin Youst has also made two starts where he has not gotten a decision with a 1.50 ERA. Iden Nazario in addition has made two starts with a 2-0 record and a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings of work.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: NC State LHP Jimmy Gillheeney (2-0, 2.08) vs UM LHP Chris Hernandez (2-0, 4.09)
Saturday: NC State RHP Jake Buchanan (1-0, 1.64) vs UM RHP David Gutierrez (1-0, 0.75)
Sunday: NC State TBA vs UM LHP Iden Nazrio (2-0, 4.09)
Brian’s Prediction: UM takes two out of three games.
Vu’s Prediction: Miami (FL) wins two out of three.