This Week in ACC Baseball (5/16)

This Week in ACC Baseball
ACC Weekly Recap
No. 11 N.C. State vs. No. 7 Louisville: 0-2, 2-4, 1-6. Louisville sweeps series 3-0. The Cardinals continued to show why they are one of the best teams in the nation at home after breaking out the brooms against the Wolfpack. Brendan McKay earned his 10th win of the season, firing 7 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out eight in the win. The powerful lefty also raked two doubles in the weekend series. However, the pitching staff stole all the glory in the series with Drew Harrington and Kyle Funkhouser earning their 10th and seventh wins respectively, each working seven innings. Closer Zack Burdi sealed the deal in the first two games, working 2 1/3 innings while striking out six and consistently flashing triple digits on the radar gun.
Georgia Tech vs. No. 12 Virginia: 3-4, 4-9, 5-4. Virginia wins series 2-1. Matt Thaiss, Pavin Smith and Adam Haseley each smashed two hits in the series opener with Haseley leading the way with a double, home run and 3RBI. Connor Jones earned his 10th win of the season with a complete-game effort, allowing only two earned runs while fanning seven. Ernie Clement, Justin Novack and Cameron Simmons each had three hits in game two and the Hoos’ pitching staff fired another complete-game win after Alec Bettinger scattered six hits and four runs while striking out seven. The Yellow Jackets used a three-headed attack to steal away a win in the finale, getting two hits from Kel Johnson, Trevor Crayport and Ryan Peurifoy. Crayport smacked two homers and Peurifoy added a home run and double. Matthew Gorst took the win after tossing a career-high 6 1/3 innings in relief.
Wake Forest vs. Virginia Tech: 12-6, 13-20, 15-5. Wake Forest wins series 2-1. The Demon Deacons continued their offensive onslaught led by Stuart Fairchild’s big weekend at the plate, finishing 9-for-13 with three doubles, a homer and 10 RBI. Will Craig and Gavin Sheets each added two hits—each going deep once—with 2RBI. The Hokies bounced back in a football game score to even the series at 1-1, with Tom Stoffel, Nick Anderson and Joe Freiday Jr. launching home runs with 3RBI each. VT raked 19 hits in the winning effort. Fairchild and Nate Mondou led the Deacs to the series win with a four-hit effort from Fairchild and Mondou drilling three doubles and 4RBI.
No. 5 Florida State vs. Duke: 4-5, 1-3, 4-3. Duke wins series 2-1. Jack Labosky and Michael Smiciklas provided the Blue Devils with a crucial win to open the weekend affair with each crushing home runs and driving in a pair. Jimmy Herron’s three hit day gave Duke the series win, smacking two doubles in the affair. John Sansone and Taylor Walls each worked multi-hit performances to salvage a win in game three. Herron finished 3-for-5 with two doubles in the losing effort for Duke.
Pitt vs. No. 3 Miami: 6-7, 3-4 (11), 4-8. Miami sweeps series 3-0. Edgar Michelangeli worked a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate with a double, run and RBI as the Hurricanes stole away a win in the opener. Carl Chester added a long ball and 3RBI in the win. Jacob Heyward smashed his first ever walk-off homer to clinch the series in the 11th inning. The junior’s game-winner came with two outs in the frame. While falling in the contest, Pitt outhit Miami, with Frank Maldonado collecting three of the Panthers’ 15 hits. Chris Barr led the sweep with a 2-for-3 day in the finale.
Notre Dame vs. UNC: 0-3, 3-1, 1-8. UNC wins series 2-1. Zac Gallen worked eight scoreless innings in the opener, allowing only two hits while fanning eight. Logan Warmoth smacked a homer and added 2RBI in the win. Michael Hearne’s seven innings of work in game two allowed the Irish to square the series at 1-1. Matt Vierling went 2-for-4 with a home run and 2RBI in the win. Brian Miller and Kyle Datres each hammered out three hits for the Tar Heels in the rubber match, sparking a seven-run second inning en route to a series win.
Clemson vs. Ga. Southern: 12-1, 6-7, 17-4. Clemson wins series 2-1. Chris Okey and Chris Williams stole the spotlight for Clemson in the nonconference series win over Ga. Southern. Okey went 4-for-4 with a 4RBI and a homer in the opener and followed with a two-hit outing with another long ball and 3RBI in the finale. Williams had 8RBI in the two Tigers’ wins and added a homer in each. Seth Beer led the Tigers in the lone loss with a 3-for-4 day.
Boston College vs. Niagara: 7-2, 9-3. BC sweeps series 2-0. Jake Palomaki went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs and RBI in the opener. Michael Strem led the surge in game two with a three hit day. Johnny Adams and Logan Hoggarth finished 2-for-4 with 3RBI.
Standout Performers
Pitcher of the Week: Connor Jones of Virginia tossed his third complete game in the last five starts and became the first to throw three complete games in a season since Will Roberts in 2011. After working out of a rough first inning, Jones seemingly got stronger as the game went along, needing only 10 pitches to fan the side in the ninth. The right-hander picked up his 10th win of the year while pacing the Hoos to their fourth consecutive series win.
Hitter of the Week: Stuart Fairchild of Wake Forest earned his first Hitter of the Week honors after smacking multiple hits in each of the Deacs’ three games with VT. Fairchild raked three doubles, a homer and drove in 13 in the series. The sophomore leads the Deacons with 18 doubles this season and is hitting .314 with 42 RBI over 51 games.
The Final Sprint Toward Durham
With only four of the 10 total spots secured to next week’s ACC Championship, this weekend will certainly add a playoff atmosphere throughout the league. Louisville, Florida State, Miami and Virginia are all in; with the only team eliminated entering the final weekend being VT. Here’s a look at how the conference standings currently line up.
  1. 1.      Miami 19-6
  2. 2.      Louisville 19-8
  3. 3.      Florida State 15-8
  4. 4.      Virginia 16-11
  5. 5.      NC State 13-12
  6. 6.      Clemson 13-14
  7. 7.      Wake Forest 13-14
  8. 8.      Georgia Tech 12-14
  9. 9.      UNC 12-15
  10. 10.    Duke 12-15
  11. 11.    ND 11-14
  12. 12.    Boston College 11-14
  13. 13.    Pitt 10-16
  14. 14.    VT 6-21
Of the seven ACC series this weekend, three involve teams in the Top 10. Miami and FSU battle for bragging rights of the Sunshine State and for the Hurricanes, a possible clinch of the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament. While the Hurricanes currently own a two game advantage over Louisville the loss column, they also own the tiebreaker should they need it at the end of the weekend.
Meanwhile, UNC and N.C. State square off for bragging rights of Tobacco Road with a tremendous amount of pressure on each program. If the Wolfpack can earn a series win or better, it will be assured of advancing directly to pool play while avoiding the play in games between the bottom four seeds in the Top 10. Likewise for the Heels, a sweep almost guarantees a spot in pool play, while a series loss could shuffle them right out of the postseason.
Wake Forest has arguably the most difficult task of the weekend, taking down the highflying Cardinals in Winston Salem. Louisville continued to pound opponents at home after sweeping N.C. State last weekend at Jim Patterson Stadium. Now the Cardinals are hoping for a slip by the top ranked Hurricanes, and an opportunity to steal away the No. 1 seed. While its certainly possible, it won’t be easy with the Deacs’ high-powered offense. This could be one of the best series of the weekend.
In a battle of a team that is in and a team that is out, Duke and Pitt square off with the Blue Devils clinging to postseason life while the Panthers are scratching for any sign of hope of backing in. The Devils enter the series fresh off a series win over Florida State, and certainly have the pitching staff to punch their ticket to the dance. The good news for the Blue Devils, they own tiebreakers with two of the three teams ahead of them with series wins over Clemson and Georgia Tech.
Likewise, Clemson and Notre Dame is an intriguing matchup as well, with the Tigers inside the Top 10 and the Irish owning the hollowed 11 seed. Notre Dame needs a series win and need some help to secure a berth to the dance next week. While the Irish are tied in the standings with Boston College, they swept the Eagles in late March, which is an ace in the hole should they need it.
  1. 1.    Miami (21-7)
  2. 2.    Louisville (21-9)
  3. 3.    Virginia (19-11)
  4. 4.    Florida State (16-10)
  5. 5.    NC State (15-12)
  6. 6.    Georgia Tech (14-15)
  7. 7.    Duke (14-16)
  8. 8.    Wake Forest (14-16)
  9. 9.    Clemson (14-16)
  10. 10.  UNC (13-15)
  11. 11.  Notre Dame (13-15)
  12. 12.  Boston College (12-16)
  13. 13.  Pitt (11-17)
  14. 14.  Virginia Tech (6-24)