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CBD Column: 2011 ACC Grades

College Baseball Daily kicks off our annual look back at how successful teams were during the 2011 season today as we look at the ACC schools. The conference sent two teams to the College World Series in North Carolina and Virginia. The Florida State Seminoles joined the Tar Heels and Cavaliers in the Super Regionals while Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL) and NC State all making the NCAA Regionals. You can check out our grades of each school’s year and a brief recap of the season.

Boston College

The Eagles underwent a coaching change in the summer of 2010 with Michael Gambino taking over for Mik Aoki who left for Notre Dame. They ended up finishing the season with a 17-33 overall record and a 7-22 record in conference play. The question going into the year was who would be the number 1 starter for the Eagles? The answer during the early part of the season was Mike Dennhardt but he ended up blowing out his elbow in the first weekend of ACC play at Florida State leaving a major hold in the rotation. Number 2 starter John Leonard was highly inconsistent going 4-7 with a 5.38 ERA. The Eagles never really had a number 3 starter as they went pitcher by committee on Sundays throughout the year.

The Eagles offense lost star third baseman Mickey Wiswall to the draft so the middle of the Eagles order was left without a power hitter to drive in runs. The Eagles were never able to find someone to step into the role with Andrew Lawrence leading the team with five homers and there was not another player on the team to hit more than a single homer on the year.

The Eagles did not qualify for the ACC or NCAA Tournament in 2011.

Grade: D+

Clemson

The Tigers went a respectable 43-20 while finishing in second place in the ACC Atlantic Division with a 17-13 record. The Tigers went into the season with a solid pitching rotation but with a ton of injuries on the staff saw five different pitchers making seven or more starts. Both Justin Sarratt and Dominic Leone became key members of the pitching staff during the year with Sarratt going 7-2 with a 2.57 ERA and Leone going 6-2 with a 3.70 ERA. The biggest disappointment on the hill was Will Lamb who appeared in 10 games going 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA.

Everyone knew that Brad Miller was going to be the leading hitter for the Tigers in 2011 and he did not disappoint as he hit .395 in 56 games but who was going to replace the power numbers of Kyle Parker? Both Richie Shaffer and Chris Epps stepped up their games with Shaffer hitting 13 homers and Epps hitting 10.

Clemson’s postseason was rolling as they won their first two games against Sacred Heart and Coastal Carolina fairly easily. They had two chances to defeat the Uconn Huskies but were not able to do it as they dropped the first game 7-6 before a 14-1 defeat to end their season.

Grade: B+

Duke

The Blue Devils went 26-30 and 7-23 in ACC play as they missed the ACC tournament again. The major question with the Blue Devils has been the pitching rotation which finished the season with a 4.70 ERA. Marcus Stroman did step up this season to become one of the best pitchers in the conference as he went 3-4 with a 2.80 ERA while also picking up four saves. His stats might not have been impressive but he clearly was their best pitcher all season. Dennis O’Grady was solid going 6-3 with a 3.65 ERA. The issue with the pitching staff is after those two as only one pitcher in Chase Bebout had a sub 4 ERA. Bebout went 2-4 with a 3.38 ERA.

The Blue Devils finished the year with the fourth lowest batting average as a team at .270 with Jeff Kremer leading the team with a .347 batting average. Anthony D’Alessandro was the only other hitter above .300 at .303.

The Blue Devils did not qualify for the ACC or NCAA tournament in 2011.

Grade: D

Florida State 

The Seminoles finished the 2011 campaign with a 46-19 overall record while winning the ACC Atlantic Division title with a 19-11 mark in conference play. The question for the FSU pitching staff was who was going to be the number 2 and 3 starters in the rotation. That question would never really be answered by the end of the season as they struggled to find a solid number 2 or 3 after number 1 starter Sean Gilmartin who went 12-2 with a 2.09 ERA. Four other pitchers made seven or more starts on the year with Hunter Scantling having the most success with a 3-3 record with a 4.45 ERA.

The Noles as always are known for a potent offense and the 2011 season was no different as they hit .293 which was fifth best in the conference while leading the ACC with 61 homers. Junior James Ramsey was the most dangerous hitter at a .364 batting average with ten homers and 67 RBI. Jayce Boyd was second on the team with a .343 batting average, eight homers, and 60 RBI.

Florida State won the Tallahassee Regional by going a perfect 3-0 before taking on the Texas A&M Aggies where they lost in three games to end their season.

Grade: B+

Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets tied with the Virginia Cavaliers for the Atlantic Division crown with a 22-8 record while having an overall record of 42-21. GT entered the season in need of a true number one starter with the loss of Deck McGuire. Everyone thought that Jed Bradley would step into the role but Mark Pope actually took over that role. Pope had a great season going 11-4 with a 1.74 ERA in 16 starts. Sunday starter Buck Farmer had an impressive season also going 11-3 with a 2.91 ERA while also making all 16 starts. Jed Bradley was a mild disappointment going 7-3 with a 3.49 ERA in his 16 starts. Luke Bard did an excellent job at becoming a closer converting eight saves while going 2-2 with a 2.72 ERA.

The Yellow Jackets’ lineup was crushed with graduation numbers heading into the 2011 season so they expected some underclassmen to contribute. Matt Skole led the team with a .348 batting average with 10 homers and 58 RBI. Jake Davies also had a strong season with a .347 batting average while hitting five homers. Kyle Wren become an excellent pest for the Yellow Jackets as he was a machine at getting on base at a .412 clip while stealing 16 bases.

Georgia Tech hosted a regional in Atlanta but went a disappointing 2-2 with losses to Austin Peay and Mississippi State while defeating Southern Miss and Austin Peay.

Grade: B

Maryland

The Terps were under second year head coach Erik Bakich who brought in nearly an entire new team. Things were looking up for the Maryland program heading into the year. They competed well in their opening weekend at Texas including taking a game but everything went downhill after that. They finished the season with a 21-35 record while going 5-25 in conference play.

The only positive on the Maryland pitching staff was Korey Wacker who went 2-4 including three saves with a 2.73 ERA in 17 appearances. David Carroll (5-5, 4.70), Eric Potter (3-7, 4.80 ERA), and Sander Beck (2-5, 5.59 ERA) was expected to be the weekend rotation with Carroll the only one that ended up sticking the entire season.

The offense was an issue throughout the season as they finished with a .247 batting average with Charlie White leading them with a .304 batting average. Ryan Holland was up and down throughout the year hitting three homers with a .282 batting average while driving in 30 runs.

Maryland did not take part in the ACC or NCAA Tournament in the 2011 season.

Grade: F

Miami (FL)

The Hurricanes finished the season with a 38-23 overall record while being 19-10 in ACC play. The biggest question mark was the pitching staff. Freshman LHP Bryan Radziewski ended up serving as the number 1 starter throughout the year. He went 9-2 with a 3.35 ERA in 16 starts. Eric Whaley actually had the best season for the weekend starters going 7-5 with a 2.70 ERA while E.J. Encinosa was the other weekend starter going 5-6 with a 3.45 ERA.

The Canes offense finished eighth in the ACC with a .275 batting average. Zeke DeVoss was the leading hitting at .340 while Nathan Melendres was second on the team at .326. Rony Rodriguez (.308 BA) and Harold Martinez (.301 BA) were the only two other hitters above .300 on the year.

They qualified for the 2011 NCAA Tournament where they went to the Gainesville Regional. They went 2-2 with wins over Jacksonville twice and losing to Florida twice.

Grade: C

North Carolina

Heading into the 2011 season, it was expected to be a “transition” year for the Tar Heels. It was far from it though. The Tar Heels went an impressive 51-16 while going 20-10 in the ACC Coastal Division for a third place finish.

The Tar Heels pitching staff was a major question mark with Patrick Johnson leading the rotation. He was outstanding throughout the year though becoming an excellent number 1 man in the ACC. He went 13-2 with a 2.47 ERA. He actually finished second on the team in ERA behind freshman Kent Emanuel who served as the number two starter on the year. He went 9-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 20 appearances including 16 starts. Michael Morin good job at the backend of games even though things were a little hairy as he got 10 saves but had a 4.64 ERA while going 4-2 in 32 appearances.

The Tar Heels offense was expected to be led by Levi Michael. He struggled somewhat throughout the season by hitting .289 with five homers and 48 RBI. Freshman Colin Moran came out of nowhere it seemed as he led the team in hitting (.335), homers (9), and RBI (71) on his way to winning ACC Freshman of the Year. Tommy Coyle was only other Tar Heel hitting above .300 at .311 while also driving in 36 runs.

The Tar Heels won the Chapel Hill Regional in three games before taking on Stanford in the Super Regionals. UNC quickly dispatched the Cardinal back to Palo Alto in two games to advance to the College World Series. UNC went 1-2 in Omaha with two losses to Vanderbilt bookended around a win over the Texas Longhorns.

Grade: A+

NC State

The Wolfpack went 35-27 with a 15-15 record in conference play. The Wolfpack needed to find some pitching during the 2011 season but the only starter that was consistent was Cory Mazzoni who went 6-6- with a 3.30 ERA in 16 starts. Rob Chamra was also solid in the rotation going 8-3 with a 4.35 ERA. Reliever Chris Overman was the star of the team making 30 appearances while going 6-3 including seven saves and an ERA of 2.39.

The star of the Wolfpack offense was Pratt Maynard who hit .323 while hitting five homers while driving in 41 runs. Harold Riggins (.314 BA) and Chris Diaz (.306 BA) were the only two everyday starters above .300 on the year. Brett Williams ended up leading the team with six homers.

NC State got sent to the South Carolina Regional where they went 1-2 with two losses to Stetson while defeating Georgia Southern.

Grade: B

Virginia

The Cavaliers were our pick to win the 2011 ACC Coastal Division heading into the year. They did not disappoint by going 56-12 and 22-8 in conference play. The major question was who else would step up in the rotation behind Danny Hultzen. Both Tyler Wilson (10-0, 2.24) and Will Roberts (11-2, 1.79 ERA) stepped up. Branden Kline was key at the backend of game by becoming one of the top closers in the country with a 4-1 record and 18 saves while accumulating an ERA of 1.88.

The other question was whether the Cavs were going to have enough offense to go with the pitching staff. They ended up having five everyday starters break .300 with senior outfielder leading the pack with a .362 average.

They took care of business in the post-season by winning the Charlottesville Regional and then defeating UC-Irvine in the Super Regional matchup before going 2-2 in the College World Series with both wins coming over Cal and both losses coming to South Carolina.

Grade: A

Virginia Tech 

The Hokies went 30-25 while going 11-19 in ACC play. They were coming off the 2010 season in which they made the Columbia regional final against South Carolina.

The Hokies pitching staff was inconsistent throughout the year with Joe Parsons leading the squad with a 7-3 record while sporting a 3.21 ERA. The other two weekend starts in Joe Mantiply (5-8, 4.36 ERA) and Marc Zecchino (6-5, 4.66 ERA) were up and down on the year. Both Ronnie Shaban and Jake Joyce led the squad with three saves each.

Virginia Tech’s offense finished fourth in the conference in hitting at .294. Andrew Rash was by far the best hitter on the team with a .335 batting average, 18 homers, and 53 RBI which were each team highs. Tony Ballisteri (.318 BA), Tim Smalling (.314 BA), Jake Atwell (.304 BA), and Michael Seaborn (.303 BA) were the other hitters on the team to break the .300 mark.

Virginia Tech did not qualify for the ACC or NCAA Tournament in 2011.

Grade: C-

Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons made a massive improvement during the 2011 season going 25-31 while improving in ACC play to a 15-15 record. The Wake Forest pitching staff was a disaster in 2010 with a team ERA of 6.29. They improved to a 4.70 mark in 2011 with Brian Holmes leading the staff. He went 3-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 15 appearances (11 starts). Tim Cooney was solid also with a 7-3 record with a 3.01 ERA. Michael Dimock was very impressive out of the bullpen making 28 appearances with a 5-1 record including four saves and an ERA of 1.87.

The Deacons struggled on offense as they finished with an embarrassing team batting average of .225. They had no hitters hit above .275 with Mac Williamson leading the team with a .273 batting average with 12 homers. Carlos Lopez was right behind Williamson in homers with 11 while hitting .270.

Wake Forest qualified for the ACC Tournament as they went 0-3 and where not eligible for the NCAA postseason with a sub .500 record.

Grade: B