ACC Weekend Preview (April 2nd-4th)

The ACC heads into the fourth weekend of conference action with Georgia Tech leading the Coastal Division while Clemson leads the Atlantic Division. Georgia Tech will host the Duke Blue Devils this weekend as they look to continue their strong start to the conference season. Clemson will host Boston College after the Tigers lost two out of three games at Virginia last weekend. The other series of the weekend sees Virginia heading to NC State, Virginia Tech going to Florida State, Wake Forest visiting Miami (FL), and North Carolina visiting Maryland in a battle of 2-7 teams in the ACC.

#2 Virginia (22-4 overall, 7-2 ACC) at NC State (16-9, 3-6 ACC)

Written by Allen Kha

The Virginia Cavaliers head on the road to Raleigh, North Carolina this weekend to take on the NC State Wolfpack. Virginia enters the weekend with a 22-4 overall record while being 7-2 in the ACC. They are led on offense by Stephen Proscia and Dan Grovatt, who are hitting .303 and .354 with 33 and 24 RBI respectively. Starters Keith Werman, Phil Gosselin, and John Barr check in with batting averages above .400; and Tyler Cannon and Kenny Swab both check in hitting .385. Last year’s star Virginia player Jarrett Parker is finally starting to heat up, notching the rally-starting hit in the bottom of the ninth inning against Clemson last Friday and a grand slam on Wednesday against Towson.

Danny Hultzen, one of the best pitchers in the ACC, comes into Friday’s game with a 4-1 record and 1.58 ERA. Robert Morey and Cody Winiarski will most likely pitch Saturday and Sunday.

NC State enters the weekend with a 16-9 overall record while being 3-6 in ACC play. The Pack won its midweek game against fellow Virginia state university Old Dominion. The Wolfpack’s offense is extremely prolific, hitting .348 with 36 HR on the season already. They are led on offense by Kyle Wilson who is hitting .424 with two homers and 14 RBI. He also has picked up 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts. Andrew Ciencin, Dallas Poulk, Drew Poulk, and Chris Schaeffer are also top hitters, all batting above .350 on the season.

Jake Buchanan has been the top starting pitcher this year for NC State, notching a 3-2 record with an ERA of 4.61.

Virginia will look to assert itself as the No. 1-team in the nation, and should be able to handle an NC State team that does not possess elite pitching. Should the games turn into offensive shootouts, Virginia should be able to see a offensively-loaded NC State team through.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday: UVA LHP Danny Hultzen (4-1, 1.58 ERA) vs. NC State – RHP Jake Buchanan (4-2, 4.62)
Saturday: UVA RHP Robert Morey (3-1, 3.06 ERA)  vs. NC State – RHP Cory Mazzoni (3-1, 4.54)
Sunday: UVA RHP Cody Winiarski (3-0, 4.85 ERA) vs. NC State – LHP Alex Sogard (0-1, 4.50)

Predictions
Brian Foley: UVA 2-1
Allen Kha: UVA 3-0
Kyle Tait: UVA 2-1
Skip McCarthy: UVA 2-1

Virginia Series Notes
NC State Series Notes

Duke (16-9, 3-6 ACC) at #3 Georgia Tech (22-3, 8-1 ACC)

Duke makes the trek down to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this weekend. Duke enters the weekend with a 16-9 record while being 3-6 in the ACC. The Blue Devils won two mid-week games this week with wins over High Point (13-1) and NC Central (11-2).

The Blue Devils offense has been led by Jeremy Gould who is hitting .327 with two homers and 19 RBI. Will Piwnica-Worms is second on the squad with a .302 average while hitting two homers and driving in a team high 27 runs. Christopher Manno made his first start of the season last week against Boston College where he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before tiring. He enters the weekend with a record of 1-0 with a 1.74 in 20.2 innings of work.

Georgia Tech enters the weekend with a 22-3 overall record while being 8-1 in ACC action. They split their mid-week games this week by defeating Georgia State 14-3 on Tuesday but dropped a tough 7-4 decision on Wednesday to Kennesaw State.

The best player on the Georgia Tech team by far is Deck McGuire who is expected to be selected in the Top 15 selections in the 2010 MLB Draft. He has a 4-1 record with a 1.17 ERA including two complete games. The offensive production by the Yellow Jackets offense has been led by Cole Leonida who is hitting .385 with six homers and 33 RBI. Matt Skole is second on the team with a .375 batting average while hitting seven homers and driving in 27 runs.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday: Duke – LHP Christopher Manno,  (1-0, 1.74 ERA) vs RHP Georgia Tech – Deck McGuire (4-1, 1.17 ERA)
Saturday: DukeLHP Eric Pfisterer (2-2, 6.31 ERA) vs Georgia Tech: RHP Brandon Cumpton (4-0, 5.29 ERA)
Sunday: Duke – RHP Dennis O’Grady (0-0, 2.75 ERA) vs Georgia Tech - LHP Jed Bradley (3-1, 3.82 ERA)

Predictions
Brian Foley: GT 2-1
Allen Kha: GT 3-0
Kyle Tait: GT 2-1
Skip McCarthy: GT 2-1

Duke Series Notes
GT Series Notes

Virginia Tech (18-9, 4-5 ACC) at #5 Florida State (20-4, 6-3 ACC)

The Virginia Tech Hokies head down to Tallahassee Florida to take on the Florida State Seminoles in an ACC series. Virginia Tech enters the weekend with a 18-9 overall record while being 4-5 in ACC play. The Hokies picked up two mid-week victories over Virginia Military Institute (11-3) and East Tennessee State (14-3).

The Hokies offense has been led by Austin Wates who is hitting .427 with three homers and driving in 25 runs on the year. Buddy Sosnoskie is right behind him with a .419 average with four homers and 18 RBI. Jesse Hahn has been the most consistent starting pitcher this year as he is 4-2 with a 1.66 ERA while striking out 35 batters in 38 innings.

Florida State enters the weekend with a 20-4 overall record while being 6-3 in the ACC. They are coming off into the series with Virginia Tech on a six game winning streak as they picked up a mid-week victory over Florida on Tuesday 7-2 to extend it. The Seminoles offense has been led by Sherman Johnson who checks in with a .367 average while hitting three homers and driving in 25 runs. The Seminoles pitching staff has been led by Sean Gilmartin who is 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA through his first six starts of the season.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday: VT – LHP – Justin Wright (3-3, 4.24 ERA) vs FSU – LHP – Sean Gilmartin (4-1, 2.06 ERA)
Saturday: VT – RHP – Matthew Price (3-1, 3.41 ERA) vs FSU – LHP – John Gast (4-1, 3.69 ERA)
Sunday: VT – RHP – Jesse Hahn (4-2, 1.66 ERA) vs FSU – RHP – Geoff Parker (1-0, 6.23 ERA)

Predictions
Brian Foley: FSU 2-1
Allen Kha: FSU 3-0
Kyle Tait: FSU 3-0
Skip McCarthy: FSU 2-1

VT Series Notes
FSU Series Notes

Boston College (11-13, 3-6 ACC) at #12 Clemson (18-7, 7-2 ACC)

Boston College heads down to South Carolina this week to take on the Clemson Tigers in a key ACC matchup for both teams. Boston College enters with an overall record of 11-13 while being 3-6 in the ACC. The Eagles have won four out of their last five games with the only loss coming to Duke last Saturday in the second game of a doubleheader. They picked up a mid-week victory over crosstown rival Northeastern by a score of 5-4.

The Eagles offensive attack has been led by Senior centerfielder Robbie Anston who is hitting .357 while scoring 26 runs and stealing eight bases in 10 attempts. Freshman Matt Watson is second on the squad with a .333 average while hitting three homers and driving in 19 runs. The BC pitching staff has been a question mark during the season after Pat Dean (4-0, 2.37 ERA). Mike Dennhardt had a so-so performance last week against Duke where he let up three runs in six innings but has been inconsistent as he is 1-4 with an ERA of 8.04.

Clemson enters the weekend with an overall record of 18-7 while being 7-2 in the ACC. They are entering the weekend series on a slump as they have lost five out of their last six games with the latest defeat to Coastal Carolina on Wednesday evening by a score of 4-3 in 11 innings.

The Tigers are led on offense by football quarterback/designated hitter Kyle Parker who is leading the team with a .394 average with 11 homers and is second on the team with 26 RBI. Jeff Schaus is second on the squad with a .323 average with six homers and 33 RBI. The Clemson pitching staff has been led by Will Lamb who is a perfect 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in six appearances (5 starts).

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday: BC Mike Dennhardt RHP So. 1-4 8.04 vs CU Casey Harman LHP Jr. 4-0 2.25
Saturday: BC Pat Dean LHP Jr. 4-0 2.37 vs CU Will Lamb LHP So. 3-0 1.88
Sunday: BC Taylor Lasko RHP So. 1-0 3.06 vs Scott Weismann RHP So. 3-1 3.15

Predictions
Brian Foley: Clemson 3-0
Allen Kha: Clemson 3-0
Kyle Tait: Clemson 3-0
Skip McCarthy: Clemson 2-1

Clemson Series Notes
Boston College Series Notes

Wake Forest (9-18, 2-7 ACC) at #15 Miami (FL) (17-7, 7-2 ACC)

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons make the trip down to Coral Gables Florida to take on the Miami Hurricanes. Wake Forest enters the weekend with a 9-18 record while being 2-7 in the ACC. They are coming into the series on a 2-4 in the last six games with them dropping a 17-12 decision on Wednesday to Elon.

They are led on offense by Senior catcher Mike Murray who is hitting .347 with three homers and 23 RBI in 26 games. Steven Brooks is seocnd on the squad with a .340 average while hitting three homers and driving in 13 runs. Freshman LHP Tim Cooney has been the most consistent starting pitcher as he is 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA in six games.

The Hurricanes head into the weekend with a 17-7 overall record while being 7-2 in ACC play. Catcher Yasmani Grandal leads the Miami Hurricanes offense as he is hitting .411 with three homers and 22 RBI on the year. After Grandal, there is a large dropoff in batting averages until you get down to Chris Pelaez who is hitting .329 with 4 homers and 18 RBI. Harold Martinez is third on the squad with a .326 average including six homers and 25 RBI. Chris Hernandez leads the pitching staff with a 3-2 record with a 2.68 ERA in 37 innings pitched. He is holding opponents to a .215 batting average.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday: Wake – RHP Michael Dimock (1-4, 5.74) vs. Miami – LHP Chris Hernandez (3-2, 2.68)
Saturday: Wake – LHP Tim Cooney (3-1, 2.97) vs. Miami – LHP Eric Erickson (2-1, 3.34)
Sunday: Wake – LHP Austin Stadler (1-1, 4.58) vs. Miami – RHP Jason Santana (2-1, 5.34)

Predictions
Brian Foley: Miami (FL) 3-0
Allen Kha: Miami (FL) 3-0
Kyle Tait: Miami (FL) 3-0
Skip McCarthy: Miami (FL) 3-0

Miami FL Series Notes
Wake Forest Series Notes

#22 North Carolina (18-9, 2-7 ACC) at Maryland (11-15, 2-7 ACC)

The North Carolina Tar Heels head up to College Park Maryland this weekend to take on the Maryland Terps in an ACC series. North Carolina enters the weekend with a record of 18-9 while being 2-7 in ACC play. They enter the weekend on a two game winning streak after defeating Winthrop 14-5 on Tuesday and Richmond 17-6 on Wednesday.

The Tar Heels offense has been led by Jesse Wierzbicki who is hitting .362 with six homers and 30 RBI. Ryan Graepel is second on the squad with a .341 average while hitting two homers and driving in 26 runs. Matt Harvey has been the Tar Heels number 1 starter throughout the season with a 3-1 record and an ERA of 1.85 in six starts. He has held opponents to a .172 average against.

The Maryland Terrapins enter the weekend with an overall record of 11-15 while being 2-7 in ACC play. They are also coming off two mid-week victories over VCU (7-2) and Navy (5-1).  They are led on offense by freshman outfielder Brandon Padula who is hitting .452 with two homers and 19 RBI. Brett Harman has been the number 1 starter for the Terrapins this season as he is 3-3 with a 4.32 ERA.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday, 6:00 p.m.: UNC RHP Matt Harvey (3-1, 1.85) vs UMD RHP Brett Harman (3-3, 4.32)
Saturday, 1:00 p.m.: UNC RHP Patrick Johnson (2-2, 3.25) vs UMD RHP Sander Beck (0-4, 8.36)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.: Pitching matchups TBA

Predictions
Brian Foley: UMD 2-1
Allen Kha: UNC 2-1
Kyle Tait: UNC 2-1
Skip McCarthy: UNC 2-1

UNC Series Notes
UMD Series Notes