This Week in ACC Baseball (5/2)

Photo courtesy of Boston College
This Week in ACC Baseball
ACC Weekly Recap
No. 21 Virginia vs. Pitt: 5-1, 7-6, 9-1. Virginia sweeps series 3-0. Virginia continued its hot play with a series sweep over Pitt. Connor Johns tossed a complete game one-run game in the opener and Ernie Clement and Matt Thaiss added two hits each. Clement added three more hits and Adam Haseley moved to 7-2 with a five-hit shutout over eight innings of work in the finale.
Notre Dame vs. Ohio: 2-1, 5-8, 1-9. Ohio wins series 2-1. Peter Solomon worked six strong innings with 10Ks in the opener and Brandon Bielak added three innings of relief in the Irish’s opening win. Matt Vierling had two hits in game one and three in game three to lead the Irish. Cavan Biggio, Jake Shepski and Nick Podkul added two hits each in the game two loss.
No. 9 Louisville vs. St. Johns: 8-4, 6-5, 4-0. Louisville sweeps series 3-0. A combined team hitting performance throughout the weekend helped the Cardinals roll to the sweep. Corey Ray smashed two home runs and Brenden McKay added two doubles while working 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball to open the series. The Cardinals pitching was solid throughout as Drew Harrington and Kyle Funkhouser each worked seven innings for wins.
VT vs. Boston College: 5-0, 0-2, 1-4. Boston College wins series 2-1. Joe Freiday smacked a double and home run to lead the Hokies to a win in the opener. Mike King fired a complete game in the rubber match to propel the Eagles to the series win. Nick Sciortino led the Eagles with two hits in the final two games. Nick Anderson paced the Hokies with two hits in the final two affairs.
Duke vs. No. 6 N.C. State: 2-3, 2-12, 2-1. N.C. State wins series 2-1. Brock Deatherage delivered a game-tying triple in the eighth and Evan Mendoza smacked a game-winning RBI in the ninth for a win in game one. Brian Brown tossed seven shutout innings in game two and Michael Smiciklas’ game-winning RBI in the ninth handed the Blue Devils their lone win on the weekend. Brian McAfee worked 6 1/3 innings before handing the ball to the bullpen for the victory.
Georgia Tech vs. No. 15 Costal Carolina: 9-1, 9-8, 4-2. GT sweeps series 3-0. Brandon Gold set the tone with eight innings of one-run work while Kel Johnson and Brandt Stallings added four hits in game one. Carter Hall, Matt Gonzalez and Stallings hammed out eight combined hits to lead the Yellow Jackets back from down four in the ninth to claim the series. Jake Lee worked six innings in the finale after the game was shortened to seven innings due to lightning.
No. 3 Miami vs. Florida A&M: 13-3, 11-2, 12-7. Miami sweeps series 3-0. Brandon Lopez and Johnny Ruiz were Rattlers’ killers in the weekend series combining for a 15-19 outing with 11 RBI and 14 runs. Chris Barr, Jacob Heyward, Willie Abreu, Carl Chester and Randy Batista each turned in multi-hit games with Batista smashing his first career grand slam in the finale.
Standout Performers
Pitcher of the Week: Mike King of Boston College tossed a complete game while allowing only one run in the series clincher for the Eagles. King fanned six batters while allowing two walks to earn his fifth win of the year. It was the junior’s third complete of his career and first of the season.
Hitter of the Week: Miami’s Brandon Lopez and Johnny Ruiz earned Co-Hitter honors after a combined 15-for-19 effort in the sweep over Florida A&M. Lopez worked an 8-for-11 weekend at the plate, scoring nine times with 3RBI and a double while Ruiz went 7-for-8 with five runs and 8RBI.
Conference Matchup of the Week: No. 9 Louisville vs. No. 25 North Carolina
A crucial ACC matchup sets up a showdown in Durham this weekend with two stellar pitching staffs and the hot swinging Cardinals’ bats. Carolina enters the weekend with a 9-12 mark in the ACC Coastal division and still has a glimmer of a look at the top where Miami and Virginia occupy the top spots. Meanwhile, Louisville is a half a game behind Florida State in the Atlantic division and is in the middle of a five game winning streak after sweeping Florida A&M last weekend.
After taking last weekend off, the Heels welcome the Cardinals for their first meeting in ACC action. Carolina has met Louisville four times prior to this weekend, with the first contest playing in 1995. Louisville’s lone win over UNC came last season in the ACC Tournament.
Carolina will attempt to cool the Louisville lineup with the arms of Zac Gallen and J.B. Bukauskas with the third starter yet to be named. The Heels’ duo of Gallen and Bukauskas are a combined 10-5 with Bukauskas losing only once this season while posting a 3.10 ERA. He leads the conference with 86 strikeouts. Carolina has a 2.97 team ERA leaving the Cardinals with plenty of work to do at the plate.
The Heels swing at a .290 clip with four hitters above .300 on the season. Brian Miller’s .363 leads the way followed by Tyler Ramirez’s .351. Miller is fifth in the ACC in hits and second to Louisville’s Corey Ray for stolen bases.
Speaking of Ray, he is a one-man offensive unit at the top of the Cardinals’ order. The junior hits .316 with a team-leading 13 home runs and 50 RBI, not to mention his ACC best 35 stolen bases. When Ray gets on base, good things have come to the Cardinals. Louisville is one of the best hitting teams in the nation, with an ACC best .325 average. Blake Tiberi swings a .349 stick with 15 doubles and six homers while the team has raked 107 total doubles this season.
Louisville will roll out the trio of Brendan McKay, Drew Harrington and Kyle Funkhouser with McKay and Harrington toting a combined 17-3 and a 2.04 ERA. Each worked six innings or more last weekend versus St. Johns and with a solid bullpen to back them up, Carolina has an equally difficult task.
Last Meeting: Louisville won 7-4 last year in the ACC Championship. Carolina owns a 3-1 record in the previous meetings, as this will be the first ACC series between the teams.
OUTLOOK: This is one of the best ACC series of the season with a Carolina team that has been on roller coaster of a ride and a Louisville team that has been dominant at home. However, the Cardinals have struggled away from the Derby City, posting a 3-6 mark in ACC contests. Runs could be a plenty due to the power of both lineups, however, with two stellar pitching staffs, five runs might be enough to secure a win. UNC needs this series to pull back into the top three in the Coastal while Louisville tries to remain at the top with Florida State. Don’t worry with the brooms this weekend, but the men in blue will take 2-of-3.
Preview of the Week’s Key Matchups: No. 3 Miami at Georgia Tech
If this past weekend was any indication of how powerful Miami’s lineup can be, Georgia Tech better be at its best this weekend. Brandon Lopez and Johnny Ruiz were swinging at beach balls after a 15-for-19 weekend and the scary part is neither leads the team in hitting, as Zack Collins holds that honor with a .417 average and team-leading nine long balls with 42 RBI. The Hurricanes’ lineup is stacked top to bottom, with Carl Chester and Willie Abreu always ready to chip in with 27 combined extra base hits.
The pitching rotation expected is Thomas Woodrey, Michael Mediavilla and Danny Garcia with Mediavilla holding an 8-1 record and Garcia’s ERA is a dominant 2.70. Woodrey is the best shot for Tech to dent the board early and often with a 4.88 ERA in 55 innings of work. The bullpen has been solid as well with Bryan Garcia anchoring down the back end with a 1.82 ERA and 10 saves in 21 outings. Garcia boasts 40 strikeouts to only 10 walks in his 24 2/3 innings.
The Yellow Jackets will oppose the Hurricanes’ lineup with the rotation of Brandon Gold and Ben Parr with the final starter TBA. Gold worked eight innings of one-run ball in the win over No. 15 Coastal Carolina last weekend to earn his fifth win this season. His 2.36 ERA is one of the best in the ACC and Parr looks to add to his 7-0 record in what would be only his second start of the year. If the starters can get the ball to closer Matthew Gorst with a lead, odds are it’s a win. The powerful righty is a perfect 10-of-10 in saves opportunities with a 0.68 ERA in 20 appearances over 26 innings. The downfall of the pitching staff is the team’s ERA is 4.34, leaving plenty of scoring opportunities for the Hurricanes this weekend.
Last Meeting: Miami swept GT 3-0 last season to end the regular season. The Hurricanes outscored the Yellow Jackets 42-5 in the series.
OUTLOOK: It’s a battle of Coastal Division No. 1 and No. 3 with the Yellow Jackets 4.5 games behind the Hurricanes for first. Meanwhile, scorching hot Virginia has pulled into second the division, leaving Tech with plenty of work to do this weekend to maintain position near the top. With UNC at three games under .500 in fourth and in a big time matchup with Louisville, this weekend could be huge for Georgia Tech.
The biggest key in this series is limiting Miami to the big inning, as the Hurricanes scored double-digit runs in six of its 16 games in April and racked up 36 runs in the three game series with Florida A&M. Both have won their last three and a sweep by either could be huge in the seeding for the upcoming ACC Championship later this month. Tech has been decent at home but the Hurricanes have been solid on the road and will take 2-of-3 this weekend.
Other ACC games this weekend include: Wake Forest travels to Boston College while Florida State welcomes Bowling Green. N.C. State looks to stay atop the Atlantic in a series with Clemson and Pitt heads to South Bend to battle Notre Dame. Other games include Alcorn State at Virginia Tech and Gardner-Webb at Duke.