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ACC Weekend Preview for March 18th-20th

The ACC enters their second weekend of conference play with the Florida State Seminoles leading the Atlantic Division with a 3-0 record after sweeping Boston College. Wake Forest is second in the division with a 2-1 record while NC State is third at 1-2. Maryland, Clemson, and Boston College all were swept last weekend as they are tied for fourth place in the division.

Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Miami (FL) are in a three way tie for first place in the Coastal Division with a 3-0 record after they each swept their series on the opening weekend. Duke is in fourth place at 2-1 while UNC is fifth at 1-2. Virginia Tech rounds out the division at 0-3 after being swept by Miami (FL).

#4 Florida State (15-2, 3-0 ACC) at #5 Virginia (17-1, 3-0 ACC)

The Florida State Seminoles enter the series with a 15-2 overall record coming off a 5-4 loss to Florida on Tuesday night. They are a perfect 3-0 in the ACC after sweeping the Boston College Eagles last weekend. Interesting enough, the Noles are a perfect 12-0 at home while only being 2-2 on the road this year. (one neutral site win). Number 1 starter Sean Gilmartin has returned to his form from the 2009 season as he will get the ball on Friday night sporting a 4-0 record with a 1.24 ERA in his first four starts. After Gilmartin in the rotation, things are a little hairy as Scott Sitz will get the ball on Saturday as he is 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA and Brian Busch will go on Sunday with a 1-0 record but an ERA of 5.82.

Mike McGee leads the offense with a .400 batting average appearing in all 17 games while driving in 19 runs and hitting three homers. Another hitter to watch this weekend is James Ramsey who is hitting .322 with two homers and 16 RBI. He has been called the toughest hitter on the Noles squad by multiple coaches and can be dangerous.

The Virginia Cavaliers enter the weekend with a 17-1 overall record with the only loss coming to East Carolina back on February 27th. They are currently on an eleven game winning streak with the most recent victory coming on Wednesday against James Madison in Charlottesville.

The Cavaliers will send All-American candidate Danny Hultzen to the hill on Friday to face off against Gilmartin. Hultzen has a 4-0 record with a 0.66 ERA in 27.1 innings pitched. He has only walked four batters while striking out 50 this year. He has held opponents to a .143 batting average against and has only given up two earned runs all season. He will be followed in the rotation by Tyler Wilson who is 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in his first four starts. He has also been excellent with his control as he has struck out 30 batters while walking five in 24.2 innings pitched. Cody Winiarski will take the ball on Sunday with a 2-1 record and a 3.05 ERA in his four starts.

The Cavaliers lineup has been led by catcher John Hicks who is hitting .397 with two homers and 18 RBI. He has shown respectable speed on the basepaths as he has stolen four bases in six attempts. Danny Hultzen is also an accomplished hitter as he is batting .348 with 16 RBI while playing 15 out of 18 games this year.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Fri. – UVA LHP Danny Hultzen (4-0, 0.66 ERA) vs FSU LHP Sean Gilmartin (4-0, 1.24 ERA)
Sat. – UVA RHP Tyler Wilson (3-0, 1.82 ERA) vs FSU RHP Scott Sitz (2-0, 2.35 ERA)
Sun. – UVA RHP Cody Winiarski (2-1, 3.05 ERA) vs FSU LHP Brian Busch (1-0, 5.82 ERA)

Predictions
Brian Foley: UVA 2-1
Mark Rafferty: UVA 2-1
Coach McCarty: UVA 2-1

Duke (15-4, 2-1 ACC) at #14 Clemson (7-7, 0-3 ACC)

The Blue Devils are heading down the road this weekend to Clemson, SC to take on the Tigers at Doug Kingsmore Stadium for a key ACC series for both schools.

The Blue Devils enter the weekend with a 15-4 record and a 2-1 mark in ACC play as they faced the NC State Wolfpack on the opening weekend of play. They are led at the plate by Anthony D’Alessandro who is hitting .403 with a homer and 15 RBI in 19 games this year. Jordan Betts also has to be watched closely as he is hitting .392 with 15 RBI.

The pitching rotation for Duke is led by Chase Bebout who is 2-0 with a 1.09 ERA in 24.2 innings. He has walked seven batters while striking out 30 this year. The Blue Devils have not announced the order of the pitching rotation this weekend but are expected to use Chase Bebout, Dennis O’Grady and Marcus Stroman in each game this weekend.

The Clemson Tigers are on a major slide the last two weeks as they are now on a five game losing streak which has dropped their record to 7-7 on the year and 0-3 in ACC play. They are coming off a 4-3 loss to Presbyterian College on Wednesday. The Tigers have been devasted with injuries over the last couple of weeks as starting shortstop Brad Miller will be out to the end of the month with a broken finger which has limited him to being a pinch runner. The rotation hasn’t been immune from injuries as their best starter Kevin Brady will be out for a couple of more weeks with an arm injury while Dominic Leone hasn’t started a game since the second game of the year on Feb. 19th

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: DU: TBA vs CU: Scott Weismann, RHP (2-2, 4.98 ERA)
Saturday: DU: TBA vs CU David Haselden, RHP (1-1, 2.79 ERA)
Sunday: DU: TBA vs. CU TBA

Predictions
Brian Foley: Duke 2-1
Mark Rafferty: Clemson 2-1
Coach McCarty: Clemson Sweep

#17 UNC (15-3, 1-2 ACC) at Virginia Tech (12-7, 0-3 ACC)

The UNC Tar Heels head to Blacksburg, VA to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in the second weekend series in the ACC for both schools.

The Tar Heels enter the weekend with a 15-3 overall record while being 1-2 in the ACC. Last weekend, UNC had a disappointing series loss to Wake Forest in the opening ACC series for both schools. Levi Michael continues to lead UNC at the plate with a .368 batting average while hitting two homers and driving in 17 runs. Jesse Wierzbicki is right on his heels with a .361 average while hitting four homers and driving 14 runs. Patrick Johnson has been the best starting pitcher with a 3-0 record with a 1.07 ERA.

Virginia Tech enters the weekend with a 12-7 overall record while being swept last weekend by the Miami Hurricanes to open up the ACC portion of the season with a 0-3 record. They have been led by the best “pure” power hitter in the conference in Andrew Rash. He is currently leading the Hokies with a .368 batting average while jacking seven homers and driving in a conference leading 26 runs. He also leads the conference with a .824 slugging percentage. Joe Mantiply serves as the Friday starter as he is 2-2 with a 2.81 ERA in four starts. He has struggled some with his control as he has walked 11 batters while striking out 18 in 25.2 innings pitched.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: UNC RHP Patrick Johnson Sr., 3-0, 1.07 ERA vs VT LHP Joe Mantiply So., 2-2, 2.81 ERA
Saturday: UNC LHP Kent Emanuel Fr., 2-1, 1.61 ERA vs RHP Marc Zecchino RJr., 2-1, 3.38 ERA
Sunday: UNC RHP Michael Morin So., 0-1, 6.33 ERA vs VT RHP Joe Parsons Sr., 3-1, 2.01 ERA

Predictions
Brian Foley: VT 2-1
Mark Rafferty: VT 2-1
Coach McCarty: UNC 2-1

NC State (10-7, 1-2 ACC) at #22 Georgia Tech (14-4, 3-0 ACC)

The NC State Wolfpack head on the road this weekend to visit the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second weekend of ACC play.

NC State enters the weekend with a 10-7 overall record and a 1-2 mark in ACC play after losing two out of three games at Duke last weekend. The lineup is led by Chris Diaz who is hitting .424 with a homer and six RBI in all 17 games this year. Catcher Pratt Maynard has started to turn it on as he is second on the squad with a .358 batting average with a homer and 15 RBI. Cory Mazzoni leads the weekend rotation with a 1-1 record and an ERA of 3.29 in four starts. Grant Sasser has been solid out of the pen as he has not given up a run in nine innings pitched while picking up two saves and going 1-1.

Georgia Tech enters the weekend with a 14-4 overall record and a perfect 3-0 record in the ACC after sweeping the Maryland Terrapins last weekend. The Yellow Jackets currently lead the conference with a team batting average of .326 as freshman Kyle Wren leads the team with a .444 batting average while hitting a homer and 16 RBI. He also has picked up seven stolen bases in ten attempts. Sophomore Brandon Thomas has also been off to a torrid start as he is hitting .387 with 12 RBI while stealing seven bases in eight attempts. The Georgia Tech pitching staff has also been outstanding as they are second in the conference with a team ERA of 2.06. Leading the Jackets has been the duo of Mark Pope (4-0, 0.29 ERA) and Jed Bradley (2-0, 1.85 ERA). Sophomore RHP Buck Farmer has also been solid as he is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: GT RHP Mark Pope (4-0, 0.29 ERA) vs. NCS RHP Cory Mazzoni (1-1, 3.29 ERA)
Saturday: GT LHP Jed Bradley (2-0, 1.85 ERA) vs. NCS RHP Danny Healy (1-1, 3.97 ERA)
Sunday: GT RHP Buck Farmer (2-1, 1.96 ERA) vs. NCS RHP Ethan Ogburn (0-1, 3.97 ERA)

Predictions
Brian Foley: GT Sweep
Mark Rafferty: GT 2-1
Coach McCarty: GT 2-1

Boston College (6-8, 0-3 ACC) at Maryland (9-8, 0-3 ACC)

Boston College heads on the road this weekend to take on the Maryland Terrapins in the second weekend of conference play.

Boston College enters the weekend with a 6-8 overall record while being 0-3 in the ACC after being swept by Florida State last weekend. Freshman outfielder Tom Bourdon leads the offense with a .333 batting average while hitting one homer (inside the park) and driving in five runs on the year. The Eagles pitching staff hasn’t been strong this year as they are last in the conference with a 6.07 team ERA. They got some bad news this week as number 1 starter Mike Dennhardt is out indefinitely with an arm injury he suffered against Florida State last weekend. The Eagles will send LHP Andrew Lawrence to the mound on Friday where he will make his first career start on the mound. He hasn’t recorded a decision yet but sports a 1.69 ERA in 5.1 innings. John Leonard has been the Eagles most consistent starter as he is 2-1 with a 3.08 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched. Nate Bayuk is expected to get the ball on Saturday as he is 2-1 with a 4.58 ERA.

The Maryland Terps enter the weekend with a 9-8 overall record while being a disappointing 0-3 on the year in conference play after being swept by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Terrapins offense has been led by Brandon Padula who is hitting .350 with a homer and seven RBI in 15 games. Ryan Holland has also been solid at the plate with a .347 batting average while driving in eight runs. Eric Potter has been the best weekend starter for the Terps as he is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four starts. David Carroll (3-1, 3.28 ERA) is expected to start on Saturday and Sander Beck (0-2, 4.03 ERA) will get the ball on Friday night.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday (7 p.m.): LHP Andrew Lawrence (0-0, 1.69) vs RHP Sander Beck (0-2, 4.03)
Saturday (3 p.m.): LHP Nate Bayuk (2-1, 4.58) vs RHP David Carroll (3-1, 3.28)
Sunday (Noon): RHP John Leonard (2-1, 3.08) vs LHP Eric Potter (2-1, 2.84)

Predictions
Brian Foley: MD 2-1
Mark Rafferty: MD Sweep
Coach McCarty: BC 2-1

Miami (FL) (9-8, 3-0) at Wake Forest (7-9, 2-1 ACC)

The Hurricanes leave the state of Florida for the first time this season when they head to Wake Forest for an ACC series against the Demon Deacons.

Miami enters the weekend slightly above .500 with a 9-8 record but were very impressive last weekend against Virginia Tech where they won all three games against the Hokies. Rony Rodriguez leads the team in hitting at .280 with two homers and 8 RBI. All-American candidate Harold Martinez has come around a little bit recently but is still hitting .245 with a homer but has driven in a team high 11 runs. Freshman lefthanded pitcher Bryan Radziewski has been great on Friday nights as he is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA in his first four career starts. E.J. Encinosa (1-2, 2.92 ERA) will get the ball on Saturday and Eric Whaley (3-1, 2.16 ERA) will toss for the Canes on Sunday.

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have a 7-9 overall record but are 2-1 in ACC play after taking two out of three games from UNC. The top hitter for Wake Forest has been Matt Conway who is hitting .339 with four homers and 23 RBI. Mac Williamson is also formidable with a .321 batting average with two homers and 14 RBI. The Wake Forest pitching staff has the second worst team ERA in the conference at 4.76. Tim Cooney has been the best starter going 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA in his four starts and will get the ball on Saturday. Austin Stadler will get the ball on Friday night but he has struggled mightily as he is 0-3 with a 8.24 ERA in four starts. Wake Forest has not announced a starter for Sunday yet.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: Miami – LHP Bryan Radziewski vs. Wake Forest – LHP Austin Stadler
Saturday: Miami – RHP E.J. Encinosa vs. Wake Forest – LHP Tim Cooney
Sunday: Miami – RHP Eric Whaley vs. Wake Forest – TBA

Predictions
Brian Foley: UM 2-1
Mark Rafferty: Wake 2-1
Coach McCarty: Miami sweep