The ACC enters another week of action with the marquee series taking place in Charlottesville Virginia between the #29 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies and the number 1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers. Two other series this weekend feature ranked squads facing off with #17 Clemson visiting #5 ranked Georgia Tech and #21 ranked North Carolina visiting #14 ranked Miami. The rest of the action sees #8 ranked Florida State visiting Duke, NC State at Maryland, and Boston College hosting Wake Forest.
#29 Virginia Tech at #1 Virginia
By: Allen Kha
The Virginia Tech Hokies head on the road to Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend to take on the Virginia Cavaliers in what should be a very contested and heated in-state battle. Virginia Tech enters the weekend with a 24-11 overall record while being 8-7 in the ACC. The Hokies are on a confidence-high, having won their past two weekend series against then-No. 4 Florida State and then-No. 14 Miami.
The Hokie offense is led by Austin Wates at the plate as he has a .436 average while hitting four homers and driving in 30 runs. Buddy Sosnoskie, Steve Domecus are also batting well, batting .364 and .360 respectively.
Scouts will be on hand to watch Wates, whose blend of hitting ability, athleticism, and speed make him a potential first-round selection in this year’s Draft.
The Hokies’ pitching staff has been led by Jesse Hahn who has a 5-2 record with a 2.28 ERA in eight starts. Tech’s other two starters also possess winning records, although Hahn is the bona fide ace of the staff.
Virginia enters the weekend with a 27-8 overall record while being 10-5 in ACC play. The Cavaliers won a huge ACC series last weekend against previously-No. 2 Georgia Tech which saw the team rise back to the No. 2-ranking according to most polls, but dropped a mid-week game to No. 29 VMI. The Cavaliers’ offense is extremely prolific, hitting .341 with 425 hits and 288 runs on the season, although it has slumped from last week’s .350 with 262 runs. This past week has seen near-all Virginia player’s batting averages drop around 10 percentage points—Virginia has had problems leavings runners on base, in particular.
Virginia left 10 runners on base against VMI, and will need to figure out how to capitalize on opportunities if it wants to advance deep into the postseason, let alone beat a hungry Virginia Tech squad. Keith Werman leads the team with a .464 batting average. Phil Gosselin, Stephen Proschia, and Jarrett Parker also figure to be difference-makers for the Cavaliers.
Danny Hultzen, one of the best pitchers in the ACC, comes into Friday’s game with a 5-1 record and 2.04 ERA. Robert Morey and Cody Winiarski will most likely pitch Saturday and Sunday.
The onus is all on Virginia to prove that it can overcome adversity again and finally capitalize on opportunities to score and win. If Virginia can hit in the clutch and not strand runners in key moments, the Cavaliers should do well in the series regardless of Tech’s play.
Record crowds are expected.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: Virginia Tech – LHP Justin Wright (4-3, 4.02 ERA) v. Virginia – LHP Danny Hultzen (5-1, 2.04 ERA)
Saturday: Virginia Tech – RHP Matthew Price (4-2, 5.75 ERA) v. Virginia – RHP Robert Morey (4-2, 4.40 ERA)
Sunday: Virginia Tech – RHP Jesse Hahn (5-2, 2.28 ERA) v. Virginia – RHP Cody Winiarski (4-0, 4.70 ERA)
Brian Foley- UVA 2-1
Kyle Tait- VT 2-1
Allen Kha- UVA 3-0
Skip McCarty- UVA 2-1
#17 Clemson at #5 Georgia Tech
The Clemson Tigers make the trip down the Atlanta this weekend to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a matchup between division leaders. Clemson enters the series with a 23-11 overall record while being 10-5 in ACC play which is good enough to be tied with Florida State for first place in the Atlantic Division. They enter the weekend on a two game losing streak as they lost the final game of their last ACC series to Duke and picked up a mid-week loss to Western Carolina. The Tigers are led on offense by Kyle Parker who is hitting .368 with 12 homers and 33 RBI. The best pitcher for the Tigers has been Casey Harman who is 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA in eight starts this season. He has held opponents to a .199 average against him.
Georgia Tech enters with a 28-5 overall record while being 12-3 in ACC play. They picked up a mid-week victory over archrival Georgia on Wednesday by a score of 25-6 while coming off a series loss to Virginia last weekend. The Yellow Jackets led the entire ACC in both batting average (.341) and ERA (3.52) as they have been the most consistent team in the conference this season. They are led on offense by Matt Skole who is hitting .387 with 11 homers and 38 RBI in only 33 games this season. Chase Burnette (.376) and Tony Plagman (.372) are two other hitters hitting above .370. Deck McGuire headlines the pitching staff as he is 5-2 with a 2.26 ERA while pitching two complete games.
Probable Starting Rotation
Friday, April 16 (7 p.m.) – Russ Chandler Stadium
Georgia Tech – Deck McGuire, Jr., RHP (5-2, 2.26 ERA, 60 K’s)
Clemson – Casey Harmann, Jr., LHP (5-0, 2.76 ERA, 40 K’s)
Saturday, April 17 (1 p.m.) – Russ Chandler Stadium
Georgia Tech – Brandon Cumpton, Jr., RHP (5-0, 5.95 ERA, 25 K’s)
Clemson – Scott Weismann, So., RHP (3-1, 3.80 ERA, 39 K’s)
Sunday, April 18 (1 p.m.) – Russ Chandler Stadium
Georgia Tech – Jed Bradley, So., LHP (4-2, 3.83 ERA, 54 K’s)
Clemson – Will Lamb, So., LHP (3-2, 4.36 ERA, 12 K’s)
Brian Foley: Georgia Tech 3-0
Kyle Tait: Ga Tech 2-1
Allen Kha: Ga Tech 2-1
Skip McCarty: GT 2-1
#8 Florida State at Duke
The Florida State Seminoles head to Duke this weekend to take on the Blue Devils in a key ACC series for both squads. Florida State is currently tied with Clemson 10-5 conference record while being 26-8 overall. FSU is coming off a loss on Wednesday to Jacksonville in Tallahassee by a score of 10-8 but they picked up a win over Florida 3-2 on Tuesday. They are led on offense by Tyler Holt who is hitting .362 with seven homers and 29 RBI. He has also stolen eight bases in nine attempts. The pitching rotation has been led by Sean Gilmartin who is 5-2 with a 3.04 ERA.
Duke enters the weekend with a 20-14 overall record while being 5-10 in ACC play. They are coming off a 1-0 victory over UNC Greensboro on Wednesday but lost to Davidson on Tuesday by a score of 4-2. They are led on offense by Jeremy Gould who is hitting .319 with three homers and 26 RBI this season. Chase Berbout entered the weekend rotation last week where he picked up a win as he is 4-0 in seven appearances (six starts) with a 3.21 ERA.
Probable Starting Rotation
Saturday, April 17 (2 p.m.)
Duke Starter: Dennis O’Grady, RHP (0-2, 4.34 ERA)
Florida State Starter: Brian Busch, LHP (4-0, 1.78 ERA)
Brian Foley: Duke 2-1
Kyle Tait: FSU 2-1
Allen Kha: FSU 2-1
Skip McCarty: FSU 2-1
#21 North Carolina at #14 Miami (FL)
By: Allen Kha
North Carolina heads south this weekend to take on the Miami Hurricanes in Coral Gables. North Carolina enters the weekend with a 22-13 overall record while being 6-9 in the ACC. Jesse Wierzbicki is the top hitter on the team with a .355 average while hitting seven homers and driving in 39 runs. Matt Harvey has been the true ace for the Tar Heels as he is 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in eight starts this season. Miami enters with a 24-9 overall record while being 11-4 in the ACC. They are led on offense by Yasmani Grandal who has a .414 average with seven homers and 37 RBI. The top pitcher for the Hurricanes has been Chris Hernadez who has a 4-2 record with a 2.45 ERA in seven starts. Miami have had the best team pitching in ACC play, posting a 3.03 ERA in 15 ACC contests.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: UNC – RHP Matt Harvey (4-1, 2.08) v. Miami – LHP Chris Hernandez (4-2, 3.08)
Saturday: UNC- RHP Chris Munnelly (1-0, 5.23) v. Miami – LHP Eric Erickson (3-1, 2.81)
Sunday: UNC – RHP Patrick Johnson (3-3, 3.13) v. Miami – RHP Jason Santana (3-2, 4.46)
Brian Foley- Miami 2-1
Kyle Tait- Miami 3-0
Allen Kha- Miami 2-1
Skip McCarty- Miami 2-1
NC State at Maryland
NC State heads up to College Park this weekend to take on the Maryland Terrapins. NC State enters with a 22-13 overall record while being 6-9 in ACC play. The Wolfpack have lost three out of their last five games as they picked up a victory over North Carolina last weekend and over NC Central on Tuesday. They lost two games in the UNC series to the Tar Heels and lost to UNC Wilmington 7-4 on Wednesday. They are led by Dallas Poulk at the plate with a .367 average while hitting eight homers and driving in 42 runs in his 35 games played. Grant Sasser has worked out of the bullpen all year as he is 2-2 with a 2.28 ERA in 13 appearances this season.
Maryland enters with a 14-21 overall record while being 4-11 in ACC play. They are currently on a two game winning streak after grabbing the final game of their series against Boston College and picking up a 10-7 victory over UMBC on Wednesday. The Terps are led on offense by Brandon Padula who is hitting .405 with three homers and 27 RBI. Brett Harman leads the rotation with a 4-4 record and a 4.53 ERA.
Friday (6:00): UMD LHP Eric Potter (2-5, 6.69) vs. NC State RHP Jake Buchanan (3-3, 4.38)
Saturday (1:00): UMD RHP Brett Harman (4-4, 4.53) vs. NC State RHP Cory Mazzoni (4-2, 5.56)
Sunday (1:00): UMD RHP Sander Beck (0-5, 7.85) vs. NC State Alex Sogard (0-1, 4.43)
Brian Foley: NC State 2-1
Kyle Tait: NC State 3-0
Allen Kha: NC State 3-0
Skip McCarty: NC State 2-1
Wake Forest at Boston College
Wake Forest heads to Chestnut Hill this weekend to take on the Boston College Eagles. Wake Forest enters the weekend 10-25 overall record while being 2-13 in ACC play. They are led on offense by Steven Brooks who is hitting .341 with four homers and 21 RBI while stealing 19 bases in 22 attempts. Tim Cooney has been solid on the hill for the Deacons as he is 3-2 with a 3.47 ERA.
Boston College enters with a 16-17 overall record while being 6-9 in ACC play. They are led on offense by Anthony Melchionda who is hitting .339 with three homers and 19 RBI. The best pitcher for the Eagles has been Pat Dean who is 5-0 with a 2.93 ERA in only six starts this season as he has battled arm issues throughout the season.
Friday: BC LHP Pat Dean (5-0, 2.93) vs. WF LHP Tim Cooney (3-2, 3.47)
Saturday: BC RHP Mike Dennhardt (2-5, 7.28) vs. WF LHP Austin Stadler (1-2, 6.99)
Sunday: BC RHP John Leonard (1-0, 1.29) vs. WF RHP Justin Van Grouw (1-2, 5.02)
Brian Foley: BC 2-1
Kyle Tait: BC 2-1 (if all are played, 1 Game will be PPD due to “Field conditions”)
Allen Kha: BC 2-1
Skip McCarty: BC 2-1