ACC Baseball: Weekend Series Preview

#12 Florida State Seminoles (17-5, 5-1 ACC) @ #9 Virginia Cavaliers (13-5, 2-4 ACC)

  • The Seminoles were able to take two out of three from the Demon Deacons last weekend outscoring Wake Forest 22-12 in the series win. Florida State dropped the first game of the series but was able to win the next two to ensure the series victory. DJ Stewart went 4-for-12 over the weekend with one home run, one stolen base and five RBI.
  • The Cavaliers dropped eight spots in the polls after getting swept by in-state rival Virginia Tech. Virginia was outscored 11-7 by the Hokies over the weekend, were held to a .243 batting average and left 20 men on base over the weekend. The ‘Hoos, who have struggled as of late losing four of their last five games, snapped their four-game losing streak on Tuesday in an 8-0 win over Towson.
  • The Seminoles as a team are just hitting .239 in the ACC but the pitching staff has held opponents to just a .219 average while posting a 2.38 ERA in ACC action. Florida State has outscored ACC opponents 40-18 in six games.
  • Nathan Kirby was a tough luck loser in his first ACC start and received a no-decision in his last start despite giving up just two earned runs and a 1.26 ERA in his first two ACC starts of the season. The Cavaliers have only averaged just over three runs per game and have allowed an average of 2.7 runs in ACC play while posting a team batting average of just .230 in conference games. The pitching hasn’t been a problem for Virginia during their slow start, it’s been the offense and it won’t get any easier this weekend as they face Florida State.
  • Series Prediction: Virginia has gotten off to an alarmingly slow start in conference play especially after getting swept by Virginia Tech, a series that the ‘Hoos should have swept and not the Hokies! At the very worst Virginia should have won at least one game last weekend in Blacksburg. The pitching has done a great job keeping the Cavaliers in games but at some point the offense has got to start pulling their weight and score to give their pitchers some run support. The Seminoles on the other hand are firing on all cylinders and are getting contributions from both the offense and the pitching staff averaging 6.7 runs per game and allowing an average of three runs per outing in conference play. It will be interesting to see if finally getting back to Charlottesville will help the Cavaliers get on track. Still, I think FSU will continue to roll and will take two out of three from Virginia.

#18 North Carolina Tar Heels (12-8, 3-3 ACC) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (15-5, 4-2 ACC)

  • Last weekend, the Tar Heels surprisingly lost two out of three to Pitt on the road getting outscored 16-14 in the series and have now lost five of their last seven games. The pitching staff let North Carolina down posting a 4.72 ERA and allowed Pittsburgh to hit a combined .261 average as a team. The offense struggled a bit as well for the Tar Heels as they were only able to hit .257 in the series as a team.
  • Georgia Tech was able to gain some Top 25 votes after they were able to win their second straight ACC series, taking two out of three from Duke. The Yellow Jackets outscored the Blue Devils 12-8 in the series. The Jackets pitching staff held the Blue Devils to just .255 average as a team and posted a 2.42 team ERA in the series.
  • Kel Johnson and Daniel Spingola are tied for a team high .440 average and one home run in conference play. Matt Gonzalez has driven in a team-high seven RBI and is hitting .429 in ACC play. As a team the Yellow Jackets are hitting .297 and holding opponents to just a .252 average in ACC play. The Jackets pitching staff has posted a 2.83 ERA against ACC opponents and are led by Brandon Gold who is 2-0 and has yet to allow a run in 15 innings pitched in conference play.
  • As a team the Tar Heels are hitting .290 overall but are just hitting .262 in ACC play. The pitching staff has struggled at times this season as well, posting a 4.08 ERA and allowing opponents to hit .263 overall. In ACC play, it hasn’t been much better as conference opponents have been able to hit .256 off of Tar Heels pitching and have posted a 3.86 ERA in conference play.
  • Series Prediction: Georgia Tech has been playing terrific baseball so far this season especially in conference play. The Tar Heels have been struggling as of late losing five of their last seven games and have been inconsistent as well. Traveling to Georgia Tech won’t help matters either where I expect they Yellow Jackets to keep rolling and take two out of three from the Tar Heels.

#16 Louisville Cardinals (15-6, 5-1 ACC) @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish (15-4, 3-3 ACC) 

  • Louisville’s first two weekends in the ACC could not have gone any better. They took two out of three from perennial ACC Power Miami and then dispatched Boston College in a three-game sweep outscoring the Eagles 23-6. The Cardinals hit .358 as a team against Boston College being led by Sutton Whiting who hit 7-for-12 (.583) against the Eagles with four RBI. The Cardinals pitching staff held the Eagles to a team .184 batting average and posted a 1.93 ERA last weekend.
  • Notre Dame has gotten off to a surprising start this season and continued their strong play taking two of three from Clemson last weekend while winning their first ACC road series in program history. The Fighting Irish outscored the Tigers 17-13 and hit .275 as a team and was led by Ryan Bull who hit 5-for-12 (.417) for the series.
  • The Irish bats are averaging 4.7 runs per game while hitting .262 as a team in ACC play. Robert Youngdahl and Bull are leading the offense hitting .346 and .348 in conference play respectively. The pitching staff has been mediocre in conference play posting a 4.33 ERA and are allowing opponents to hit .309 against them in ACC games.
  • Louisville is hitting .304 as a team in ACC play and is led by Whiting who has been red-hot in conference play. Whiting is hitting a scorching .565 in ACC play with two RBI. The pitching staff has served well as well posting a 3.44 ERA and holding opposing ACC hitters to just a .216 batting average against.
  • Series Prediction: The Irish have had an impressive start to the season but as they head into ACC play, it won’t be getting any easier. The Cardinals have been the second most dominant team in the ACC so far this year behind Florida State and I expect Louisville to get their second straight series sweep in their first ever ACC road series.

#17 Miami Hurricanes (16-6, 4-2 ACC) @ Wake Forest Demon Deacons (14-8, 3-3 ACC)

  •  The Hurricanes are coming off of a three game sweep of NC State last weekend outscoring the Wolfpack 18-4 in the series. Miami’s pitching staff was nearly unhittable last weekend as they posted an 0.96 ERA and held Wolfpack hitters to just a .186 batting average.
  • Wake Forest is coming off of a tough series with Florida State in which the Demon Deacons lost two of three to the Seminoles getting outscored 22-12. The Deacons hit .271 as a team in the series and were led by Joey Rodriguez who hit 5-for-8 (.625) and Will Craig who drove in four RBI in the series.
  • Craig and Nate Mondou are first and second in the ACC with 33 and 29 RBI overall respectively. The Demon Deacons also lead the ACC with a .314 team batting average overall this season. As good as the offense has been this season, the pitching has struggled mightily posting a second worst 5.61 ERA and holding opponents to a .269 batting average which is among the worst in the ACC.
  • The Canes are hitting .276 as a team and are led by David Thompson who is hitting .318 with two home runs and eight RBI in conference play. The pitching staff has been equally impressive posting a 2.70 ERA and holding opponents to a .227 average in ACC play.
  • Series Prediction: The Demon Deacons have gotten off to a surprisingly strong start this season. However, until the pitching staff improves, its going to be tough to sustain their hot start. I see the Deacons stealing a possible slugfest but the Hurricanes should come away this weekend winning two out of three if not a sweep.

Clemson Tigers (9-10, 2-4 ACC) @ Virginia Tech Hokies (11-10, 4-2 ACC)

  • The Hokies pulled off the upset series win of the season last weekend when they swept in-state division rival and previously ranked #1 Virginia outscoring the Cavaliers 11-7 and held them to a .247 team batting average for the series. The Hokies pitching staff also posted a miniscule 1.67 ERA for the series. Timely hitting by Alex Perez who hit a go ahead two-run home run in the eighth inning on Sunday helped clinch the surprising upset series sweep of the ‘Hoos for Virginia Tech.
  • Clemson has struggled big time at the start of conference play dropping two out of three games to each of their first two conference series opponents. Their last series defeat was to Notre Dame who outscored the Tigers 17-13.
  • The Tigers have struggled of late losing seven of their last nine games despite doing a pretty good job offensively in six conference games hitting .275 as a team and averaging 4.7 runs per game. The pitching staff has been letting the offense down posting a 6.40 ERA and a .292 opponent batting average during ACC play. Matthew Crownover is pretty much the Tigers’ lone bright spot on the pitching staff posting a perfect 4-0 record with a 1.40 ERA in five starts and a .162 opponents batting average in 33 innings pitched overall. In conference games he is 2-0 with an 0.61 ERA and a .102 opponents batting average in 15 innings pitched.
  • The Hokies have won four of their last five games and have been red hot since they snapped their three game losing streak. Virginia Tech is hitting .281 and averaging 5.3 runs per game in conference play. After posting a 1.67 ERA against Virginia the Hokies brought their team ERA down to 6.40 in conference play. ACC opponents are hitting .312 against the Virginia Tech pitching staff however.
  • Series Prediction: This is a matchup between two very evenly matched teams this weekend. However these two clubs are going in completely opposite directions. The Hokies have been playing excellent baseball lately while Clemson has struggled. I think the Hokies will build off of their huge series sweep of Virginia and take two out of three from Clemson.

Pittsburgh Panthers (9-10, 3-3 ACC) @ Duke Blue Devils (16-5, 2-4)

  • The Panthers surprisingly took two out of three from then #11 North Carolina, outscoring the Tar Heels 16-14 over the weekend. The Panthers hit .261 as a team in the series and the pitching staff held UNC hitters to just a .257 average and posted a 3.21 ERA in the series. A walk-off RBI single by senior Eric Hess with two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning clinched the upset series win for the Panthers.
  • The Blue Devils have gotten off to a rough start to begin conference play as they dropped their second straight series, losing two out of three games to Georgia Tech. Duke was outscored 12-8 in the series and was held to a .255 team batting average over the weekend.
  • Pitt this season is hitting just .219 so far in ACC play but the pitching staff has been able to keep the Panthers in games posting a 3.40 ERA and holding opponents to just a .237 batting average in conference play.
  • In ACC play Duke is only hitting .255 as a team and scoring an average of just over three runs per game. The pitching staff has done a decent job for the Blue Devils posting a 3.81 ERA in conference play but is allowing ACC hitters to hit .274 against them.
  • Series Prediction: Pitt is playing some great baseball recently winning a series that they should have been swept in  against UNC. Duke on the other hand has struggled at the start of conference play but I still think the Blue Devils will be able to clinch their first conference series  win of 2015 at home taking two out of three from the Panthers.

NC State Wolfpack (11-8, 2-4 ACC) @ Boston College Eagles (5-12, 0-6 ACC)

  • After getting swept by Louisville last weekend, the BC Eagles are still looking for their first conference win of the season. ITA Preseason All-ACC team selection Chris Shaw was held hitless (0-for-12) in the series.
  • NC State is coming off of a tough three game sweep at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes. The Canes shutdown the Wolfpack bats as they were only able to score just four runs all series and were held to just a .186 team batting average last week in Coral Gables.
  • Shaw has had a miserable junior season so far for the Eagles despite slugging a team high four home runs and 19 RBI. His overall season average has now dipped below the Mendoza line at .197 and is only hitting .091 with one home run and two RBI in ACC play. After hitting 18 doubles last season, Shaw has only one double this season. As a team the Eagles are just hitting .172 in ACC play so far this season. It is no wonder why BC has struggled so much this season. The Eagles go as Chris Shaw goes and right now Shaw isn’t going anywhere.
  • The Wolfpack are hitting .249 as a team in ACC play and their pitching staff is holding ACC opponents to a .269 average while posting a 3.63 ERA in conference play.
  • Series Prediction: Since Pellagrini Diamond is still buried under snow the Eagles and Wolfpack were forced to move their series to the New England Baseball Complex in Northborough, Mass., a Worcester suburb about 45 minutes to an hour west of Boston. The Eagles will try to get their first conference win of the season but they are going to need Chris Shaw to break out of his dreadful slump to start the season and the cold weather won’t help matters either. The Eagles are due for a conference win and I believe that they will get it, but the Pack will still take two out of three from the Eagles.

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