Stakes High For Final Weekend of ACC Baseball

Virginia will need a sweep this weekend to win the Coastal Division.
Virginia will need a sweep this weekend to win the Coastal Division.

No. 7 Virginia (43-8, 20-7) at No. 3 North Carolina (46-6, 20-5)

The top two seeds at next week’s ACC Baseball Tournament will be awarded to the two division champions.  In order for Virginia to win the Coastal Division, the Cavaliers must sweep North Carolina.  The Tar Heels have topped national rankings virtually all season before losing two of three games to Georgia Tech last weekend.

Regardless of the divisional ramifications, this is also a marquee series between two national powers. Both teams are likely locks to receive national seeds in the NCAA Tournament, which would give them hosting privileges for both the Regional and Super Regional weekends.  This is a great test for both teams entering the postseason.

This series also marks the return of North Carolina freshman outfielder Skye Bolt to ACC play after suffering a foot injury against Virginia Tech.  The switch hitter is batting .391 in his rookie season.  Meanwhile, Virginia will go without Branden Cogswell, who underwent surgery for a fractured middle finger.

No. 17 Clemson (38-15, 17-10) at No. 9 Florida State (42-10, 18-9)

With two wins at home against Clemson, Florida State will clinch the Atlantic Division.  If Clemson can win the series and get just one loss from NC State this weekend, they will win the division.  NC State wins the Atlantic with a sweep and two Clemson wins.

Clemson could also have a chance to improve their NCAA standing with a couple of wins this weekend. Claiming this road series could be enough to convince the selection committee to move the Tigers (12th in RPI) into consideration for a national seed.

Both teams enter the final series of the regular season on a high.  The Tigers have won eight straight games, while Florida State has won 11 of its last 12 contests.

No. 5 NC State (39-13, 16-10) at Duke (28-26, 9-18)

NC State is tied for the longest road winning streak in the nation, standing at nine consecutive wins away from Raleigh. That streak will be put on the line to finish the season, as the Wolfpack will visit Durham Bulls Athletic Park to face the Duke Blue Devils.

Both teams are looking for bounce-back weekends after stumbling in their last series. NC State dropped two of three at home against Florida State, while Virginia swept Duke.

Duke is 7-22 this season against top 50 RPI teams, but three of those wins came in a home sweep of Georgia Tech.  NC State is 21-3 against teams outside of the top 50. Duke stands 67th in RPI in its first season under Bubba Pollard, with a chance to finish with its first winning season since 2010.

Georgia Tech (32-21, 14-13) at Miami (33-20, 12-15)

Miami needs just one win against Georgia Tech to secure a berth in the ACC Tournament.  That could depend on which Georgia Tech squad makes the trip to Coral Gables.  The Yellow Jackets won two games against North Carolina, but has lost a series with Duke, been swept by NC State, and lost two of their three games throughout the year against a 19-31 Georgia squad.

Miami currently sits 18th in RPI, thanks to the nation’s second-toughest schedule.  However, their 8-11 road record has prevented them from joining the conference’s top teams.  The Hurricanes are 2-4 in their last six ACC games, dropping road conference series with Boston College and Wake Forest.

Georgia Tech has won just five of its last 11 games, while Miami is riding a six-game home winning streak. Both teams need this series in order to right the ship and build momentum heading into the postseason (not to mention the ACC Tournament ramifications for Miami).

Wake Forest (28-25, 9-18) at No. 22 Virginia Tech (33-19, 13-14)

Virginia Tech, winners of five straight at home, will host Wake Forest to conclude the regular season.  Both teams are in the top five in the ACC in home runs, with a combined 75 round trippers between them.

Of the 24 players in the ACC with at least five home runs this season, five will be in Blacksburg this weekend.  Wake Forest’s Jack Carey has six homers to his credit in 2013, while Tyler Horan leads the Hokies with 10 blasts.  Virginia Tech also boasts sluggers Mark Zagunis (eight), Andrew Rash (eight), and Sean Keselica (five)

The Hokies have won their last three ACC series (Maryland, Virginia, Boston College), making them a team to watch entering the postseason. Wake Forest’s season will likely end this weekend, so they are hoping to go out on a high note.

Boston College (11-38, 3-23) at Maryland (28-24, 9-18)

Both Boston College and Maryland have each won just one of the nine ACC series they have played in 2013.  One of those two teams will pick up a second series to conclude their seasons, as they meet each other in College Park.

Boston College coach Mike Gambino is searching for his 50th career win.  The Eagles skipper is 49-103 in his third season in Chestnut Hill, which has been a dismal one.

Maryland has a winning record and sits 26th in RPI under John Szefc in his first season with the Terrapins.  However, their inability to win consistently, especially against the better teams in the ACC, will likely cost them appearances in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.


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