Around the ACC: Opening Weekend Baseball Recap

COASTING THROUGH THE WEEKEND: Five of six Coastal Division teams are still undefeated following the first weekend of the season.

For Miami and Georgia Tech, it was a traditional weekend sweep.  After rain postponed Miami’s opener and forced a Saturday doubleheader, the Hurricanes picked up three wins in two days against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.  The Yellow Jackets swept the Akron aroundtheacc3Zips in Atlanta.

For North Carolina and Virginia, the path to a 3-0 record has been a little more unorthodox.  Both teams had a game out of their weekend sets canceled due to wintry weather that passed through North Carolina.  The Tar Heels picked up wins against Seton Hall on Friday and Sunday, while Virginia won on the road against East Carolina on Friday and Saturday before taking an early trip back to Charlottesville.  Both of those teams, coincidentally, had games schedule for Monday against different opponents than their weekend foes and earned win No. 3 of the year in those contests.  For North Carolina, it was a 7-1 win against Coastal Carolina. The Cavaliers picked up a victory against St. Peter’s.

Virginia Tech’s weekend, however, was the most impressive of the five undefeated Coastal programs.  The Hokies, along with Kent State, took part in a weekend event at UNC Wilmington.  Virginia Tech picked up two wins each against the Golden Flashes, a team that went to last year’s College World Series, and the Seahawks, a team that also made the NCAA Tournament.  Four wins in three days against NCAA Tournament teams? Yeah, the Hokies will take it.  The Hokies scored 34 runs in the four games.

TALE OF TWO PITCHERS: Two of the preseason favorites for ACC Pitcher of the Year are North Carolina’s Kent Emanuel and NC State’s Carlos Rodon.  Both were the Opening Day starters for their respective squads, but the results were as different as possible.

In the first four innings of NC State’s 6-3 loss to Appalachian State, Rodon surrendered three home runs.  He would hang around until the sixth inning and strike out eight batters, but his final line would also include five earned runs and the first loss of his career.  The remainder of the App State-NC State series was canceled due to inclement weather, so the Wolfpack were unable to claim any redemption on Rodon’s behalf.

There were no home runs in Chapel Hill that day, as the lone run of UNC’s 1-0 win against Seton Hall came when Chaz Frank plated freshman Skye Bolt with a sacrifice fly. Emanuel pitched a shutout for the Tar Heels, striking out five Pirates without a single walk and only four hits.  It was Emanuel’s second shutout of his career, with his first coming as a freshman in 2011 against Texas in the College World Series.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Virginia Tech’s Chad Pinder was named ACC Player of the Week, while Georgia Tech’s Buck Farmer was Pitcher of the Week.

Pinder had five RBI in Virginia Tech’s opener against Kent State, and hit two homers during the weekend at Wilmington.  Pinder was 5-14 on the weekend, but was also walked twice and hit by four pitches to post a .550 on-base percentage.

Farmer was the Yellow Jackets’ opening day starter, and he did not disappoint.  He pitched eight shutout innings against Akron, striking out 14 Zips without a single walk.  With only four hits (and 97 pitches) to his credit, he probably would have gone for the complete game shutout later in the season, but coaches often keep the reins closer on their pitchers to open the season, especially pitchers as good as Farmer.  Jonathan King recorded the save for Georgia Tech, striking out two batters in a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association
#1 – North Carolina
#9 – Florida State
#16 – NC State
#20 – Georgia Tech
#23 – Miami
#25 – Virginia
#30 – Clemson

Baseball America
#1 – North Carolina
#10 – NC State
#16 – Georgia Tech
#19 – Florida State
#24 – Virginia Tech

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