VIDEO: Kyle Richardson hit a walk-off home run last Sunday to finish off a sweep of the Tar Heels and clinch Notre Dame’s first ever ACC Tournament berth.
We know this for certain, Louisville, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame and NC State are in; Boston College, Duke and Pittsburgh are out. Everyone else in between is in a free for all. Here are the groups for pool play and the seeds for the ACC Tournament in Durham, N.C.
1. Louisville (23-4 ACC)
4. Florida State (17-10 ACC)
5. Clemson (13-13 ACC)
8. North Carolina (13-13 ACC)
9. Virginia Tech (12-14 ACC)
2. Miami (19-8 ACC)
3. Notre Dame (15-12 ACC)
6. N.C. State (14-12 ACC)
7. Virginia (12-15 ACC)
10. Georgia Tech (13-14 ACC)
The bottom two teams in each pool face off in play-in games Tuesday. Pool play officially begins Wednesday with the remaining eight teams.
On the outside looking in is Wake Forest who with an 11-16 ACC record, remains just in back of Virginia. Can you imagine a scenario where Virginia, who was the National Champion runner up last year, missed the ACC Tournament all-together? That is the state of the ACC right now just before the ACC Tournament. It’s the like Wild, Wild West — and not the regrettable Will Smith movie.
Tuesday’s games feature No.7 Virginia against No. 10 Georgia Tech and No. 8 North Carolina versus No. 9 Virginia Tech.
Virginia (33-19) vs. Georgia Tech (32-22)
The Yellow Jackets are your defending ACC Tournament champions and likely feel good about the chances of another title after winning two of the last three tournaments. Getting swept by Boston College in the third weekend of April was a crushing blow to Georgia Tech’s resume however. This is the time of year when the defending ACC Tournament Champion is supposed to play their best baseball. It won’t be easy playing a feisty UVA squad but the Yellow Jackets are certainly capable of grabbing a win from them in the play-in game ahead of pool play.
Virginia had a tough season by their lofty standards but they’ve qualified for the postseason largely on the backs of strong pitching. The Cavalier starters are 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA and averaging 6 1/3 IP per start since April 17. UVA is 23-13 in the ACC Tournament under manager Brian O’Connor including a 16-10 mark in Durham.
The winner will face No. 2 seed Miami at 3 p.m. Wednesday, No. 3 seed Notre Dame at 11 a.m. Friday and No. 6 seed NC State at 7 p.m. Saturday.
North Carolina (32-22) vs. Virginia Tech (27-26)
This marks the fourth ACC Tournament appearance for Virginia Tech with the most recent culminating in the 2013 ACC title game — a 4-1 loss to North Carolina. This is a once again a tough draw for the depth of UNC and the Tar Heels will trot out their ace starter in Zac Gallen (3-3, 2.79 ERA) for Tuesday’s meeting.
Gallen has been strong this season, but he was knocked around (four runs on nine hits) in an 8-3 loss to the Hokies about a month ago. UNC comes in limping badly after getting swept by Notre Dame and Virginia to end the season forcing them into the play-in game. This has become so important to Carolina that they’re pitching Gallen on just four days’ rest.
Tech hopes to counter good pitching with timely hitting from their lone All-ACC first teamer Brendon Hayden. The senior first baseman had the strongest season of his career with a .314 average, 11 home runs and 51 RBI that included five game-winning RBI and two walk-off runs knocked in.
Tech desperately needs a strong week to make the NCAA Tournament while UNC hasn’t missed the field since 2001.
The winner faces a road of Louisville, Florida State and Clemson this week in pool play.