Wolfpack Baseball rolls into Greensboro this week for the 2012 ACC Baseball Tournament. The 15th ranked Wolfpack finished the regular season 38-15 overall, 19-11 in the ACC. State’s current RPI is #10.
The eight participating teams are seeded and have been split into two pools. Each team will play every other team in its pool and the team with best record from each pool will emerge to face one another for the conference championship at noon on Sunday. The two pools are as follows:
- (1) Florida State
- (4) Virginia
- (5) Clemson
- (8) Georgia Tech
- (2) N. Carolina
- (3) NC State
- (6) Miami
- (7) Wake Forest
Complete Bracket/Schedule courtesy of theACC.com:
All games will be streamed live on ESPN3, with Sunday’s championship game televised on ESPN2. In addition, games 1 thru 12 will be televised in some markets by the regional sports network in that market.
For complete information, including ticket information, you can go here.
All eight teams will hold practice sessions on Tuesday. Beginning on the hour from 10am thru 5pm, the sessions are scheduled for 50 minutes each and are open to the public and the media. The Wolfpack is scheduled for its practice session from 12noon to 12:50pm. The complete schedule is as follows:
Practice Times – Tuesday, May 22
- 10-10:50 am – Miami
- 11-11:50 am – Wake Forest
- 12noon-12:50 pm – NC State
- 1-1:50 pm – North Carolina
- 2-2:50 pm – Clemson
- 3-3:50 pm – Georgia Tech
- 4-4:50 pm – Virginia
- 5-5:50 pm – Florida State
The Good Guys
The Pack comes into the tournament on a two game losing streak courtesy of Florida State. State has lost two straight games only two other times this season…Campbell 4/17-BC 4/20; and Carolina two straight on 3/25 and 3/26. The Wolfpack has not lost three straight this season.
It would be nice to have the opportunity to exact some revenge by taking care of the Heels on Saturday, and then sending FSU packing in the championship game Sunday at noon. To do that, however, the Pack will first need to get a win in at least one of their first two against Miami and/or Wake, and neither is an easy out.
Statistically speaking, the Wolfpack is one of the stronger teams in both offense and pitching. They have a team batting average of .294 (t2nd) and a slugging % of .432 (2nd). The Pack is second in the league in hits (543), and third in both runs scored (366) and total bases (798). State leads the league in doubles (127), as well as stolen bases (92).
The Pack’s pitching staff boasts a staff ERA of 3.25 (4th), and holds opposing hitters to a league best .226 against average. State pitchers are also tops in the league in hits allowed (393), second in runs allowed (201) and strikeouts (453), and tied for second in homeruns allowed (18). Recently, however, the Wolfpack pitching staff has had control issues and on the season they plunked 56 batters (t2nd most).
State is solid in the field, but not spectacular. Their team fielding % of .968 is middle of the league (t7th), as are their total errors committed (66, t8th). The Pack is 2nd in the league in double plays turned (54), but 11th in passed balls (18).
Seeded third, the Pack is in Pool B and will face the Miami Hurricanes (#6) on Wednesday at 3pm in the tournament’s second game. State then takes on Wake Forest (#7) on Thursday at 7pm in game six, and has the day off on Friday before facing Carolina (#2) with two days rest on Saturday at 7pm in game twelve (Carolina also will be on two days rest).
The Competition – Team Capsules – Pool B
Currently unranked (RPI #13), the sixth seeded Miami Hurricanes completed their regular season with a series win in Atlanta over Georgia Tech. They finished the season 34-19 (16-14) and have won 8 of their last 10. They haven’t been particularly successful away from home (9-9).
Offensively the Hurricanes had a disappointing season with a team batting average of .263 (outhitting only Duke in conference as a team) and leading the conference in strikeouts. They’re last in total hits, and tenth in runs scored and runs batted in. But they do draw their fair share of walks and are always a threat to steal a base, which could potentially be a problem for Wolfpack pitching which has had some adventures trying to find the strike zone recently.
Strong pitching has been a staple this season for Miami, with a staff ERA of 2.96 (2nd). ‘Canes pitchers lead the league in walks allowed with only 148, and are 2nd in earned runs allowed with only 155. They also have an against average of only .248, and have given up only 20 round trippers on the season.
Leading the league in errors (90) and last in fielding pct (.957), they can be quite suspect in the field at times. Interestingly enough, however, they turn a lot of double plays (52, t4th).
Regular season head to head results: State did not face the Hurricanes in the regular season.
Wake Forest (RPI #34) was a last minute qualifier for the tournament by virtue of a season ending sweep at home against Clemson to close their regular season. The number seven seed, the Deacs are 32-22 (13-17). They’re 6-4 over their last 10 ballgames, but a dreadful 7-17 away from Winston-Salem.
With a team batting average of .264 (10th), they don’t hit for average particularly well, but they do hit a lot of homeruns (41, t2nd). Combine that with drawing a lot of walks (259, 3rd) and again, like Miami, you have the recipe for potential problems for the Pack.
Wake’s pitching staff carries a respectable team ERA of 3.97, and while they hold opponents to a .252 average at the plate, they also hand out a lot of free passes (226, 11th) and give up a lot of long balls (30, t9th), so Pack hitters should have some chances if they’re patient at the plate and work the count.
Of particular interest for Wolfpack fans (I’m looking at you, Trea Turner), the Deacons give up lot of stolen bases (60, 3rd most). They do also pick off a lot of baserunners (16, 2nd), however (so be careful, Trea).
Regular season head to head results: State swept three from Wake 3/16-3/18 in Raleigh.
The 2012 Coastal Division pennant winner, Carolina is the highest seeded team in Pool B (#2 overall). The 10th ranked Heels (RPI #6) posted a regular season record of 42-13 (22-8) and closed out by sweeping three from VT in Chapel Hill. They come into the tournament riding a 13 game win streak, and have actually been better on the road (14-4) than at home (28-9).
Offensively, the Heels are above average. They hit at a .281 clip as a team (6th) but don’t generally hit for power with only 18 HR (12th) on the season. They also draw a lot of walks (277, 2nd) and have struck out only 312 times on the season which is tops in the league.
Pitching is where Carolina makes hay. They lead the league (by a considerable margin) with a staff ERA of 2.61. The Heels are also at the top of the league in strikeouts (470), and runs allowed (190). They’ve held opposing batters to a .237 average (2nd) and they don’t issue many free passes (183, 3rd) or give up many homeruns (18, t2nd).
Carolina has given up the fewest stolen bases in the league (19), again by a considerable margin. Opposing teams have only attempted to steal on them 27 times on the season, again lowest in the league and again by a considerable margin (second best Clemson has defended 58 steal attempts, more than twice as many).
Regular season head to head results: State dropped 2 of 3 to Carolina in Chapel Hill 3/24-3/26.
The Competition – Team Capsules – Pool A
The top seeded Florida State Seminoles come in as the top ranked team in the country (RPI #2), despite stumbling a bit down the stretch. Both their overall (43-12) and conference records (24-6) are best in the league. But the ‘Noles have only been a .500 ballclub over their past ten, including dropping their only weekend series of the year to Clemson last week. Despite that, however, they still found a way to take 2 of 3 from the Pack to close the season.
They’re a good hitting ballclub (.281, 5th), but their real offensive strength is making the most of opportunities. They draw a lot walks (315, 1st) and lead the league in both on base % (.407) and runs scored (376). The Wolfpack found out the hard way about giving up walks to the Seminoles.
Their pitching hasn’t been spectacular, but it has been solid. Their staff ERA is 3.49 (6th) and they hold their opponents to a .247 average (5th).
Regular season head to head results: FSU took 2 of 3 from the Pack in Tallahassee 5/17-5/19.
The number four seeded Virginia Cavaliers enter the tournament ranked 17th (RPI #14). They are 36-16-1 on the season (18-12) and have won 8 of their last 10, including a series victory at Maryland to close the season.
Very strong offensively, the Cavaliers lead the league in average (.299) and runs scored (376). They also have a good pitching staff with an ERA of 3.31 (5th) and an against average of .241 (3rd). They don’t walk many (164, 2nd) or give up many homeruns (21, 5th). UVa is tied for the league lead in fielding pct at .973, committing only 56 errors on the season (t1st).
Regular season head to head results: The Pack took 2 of 3 from UVa in Raleigh 3/30-4/1.
Clemson comes to Greensboro as the number five seed. Despite being unranked and sporting a record of only 32-24 (16-14), their RPI checks in at #24. The Tigers are only 5-5 over their past ten games, but they are the only team that found a way to take a weekend series from FSU this season. They were swept by Wake to end the season and are only 9-9 on the road this season.
Clemson is strong but not spectacular both offensively (.273 team BA) and on the mound (staff ERA of 3.89), but are very strong defensively (fielding pct .973, tied for league best).
Regular season head to head results: The Wolfpack took 2 of 3 from the Tigers in Clemson 4/13-4/15.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (RPI #36) barely squeezed into the field, capturing the eighth and final seed with a 12-18 conference record. Overall they are 32-24, and only 12-13 away from Atlanta. 5-5 in their last ten, the Jackets dropped 2 of 3 at home against Miami to close the regular season.
GT hits very well with a team BA of .294 (t2nd) and 578 hits on the season (1st). They hit a lot of homers (41, t2nd) and score a lot of runs (354, 4th), though they do strike out a fair amount (380, 4th).
On the other hand, the Jackets’ pitching is not terribly impressive with a staff ERA of 4.40 (10th). They’ve also allowed a league worst 41 homeruns on the season and have surrendered 219 walks (t9th). Tech also finds itself near the bottom of the league in fielding pct. (.961, 11th) and errors committed (84, 11th).
Regular season head to head results: The Pack took 2 of 3 from the Jackets in Raleigh 3/9-3/11.
I’ll add pertinent media coverage, etc. here leading up to the start of the tournament. For now, this is what we’ve got:
GoPack.com – Pack Seeded Third at 2012 ACC Baseball Championship
The Pack’s standing as the third seed ties its highest since 1993, when State earned the second overall seed for the tournament held in Greenville, S.C. Since 1993, the Wolfpack had finished the regular season third on two occasions, in 1997 and again in 2003.
All eight teams qualifying for the field are ranked among the top 40 in the NCAA’s latest RPI.
Note: As of Tuesday morning, five of the ACC Tourney teams are in the RPI top 15 (FSU , N.Carolina , NC State , Miami  and UVa ). Six are in the top 25 and none is lower than 36th (Clemson , Wake Forest  and Georgia Tech ). Interestingly enough, Maryland, which did not qualify for the tournament, has an RPI of 27, better than two of the tournament’s participants. Including Virginia Tech (RPI #37), the ACC has ten teams at #37 or better.
JournalNow.com – Teams gearing up for ACC baseball tournament
Right fielder Ryan Mathews of N.C. State said he thinks the tournament field is exceptional and believes that any of several teams could win the title next Sunday.
“I feel we’re one of the best teams in the ACC,” Mathews said. “Whoever is going to win it is going to be who’s hot this week.
“It shows just how strong the conference is from top to bottom, one through eight. Even if the seventh or eighth seed did win the ACC championship, I don’t think it would be too much of a surprise.”
ACCSports.com – 2012 ACC Baseball Tournament Preview, Part 1 (Pool A teams)
ACCSports.com – 2012 ACC Baseball Tournament Preview, Part 2 (Pool B teams)
NewsObserver.com – ACC baseball tournament pairings set
Ryan Mathews getting some much deserved media love…
NewsObserver.com – Caulton Tudor: N.C. State slugger a hit at his fourth school
GoPack.com – Mathews Powers His Way to National Honor
RALEIGH, N.C. – Ryan Mathews scored the final ACC Player of the Week award for the 2012 season, announced Monday by the conference office. Later Monday afternoon, Mathews also snagged Louisville Slugger’s National Player of the Week honor, announced by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
And some updated Baseball Bracketology…
ESPN College Baseball Blog – Last chance for bubble teams
ACC tournament (Greensboro, N.C., May 23-27): Two teams from the conference are likely to earn national seeds. Florida State is a lock, and North Carolina has the inside track over NC State based on its overall résumé, though a Wolfpack run to the title game could shift the balance. Those three are all locks to host regionals and will likely be joined by Virginia.
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Pack Finds a way in opening game win vs. Miami. Not much more to say other than save for one notable exception, Ogburn and Williams came thru big time all day. Kept us close enough so that a little bit of fortune (tipping in our direction for once) was enough to get it done on an otherwise frustrating day offensively.
For those that missed it, the Pack stayed close enough due to pitching and defense such that a 2 run 9th inning got the job done. The 2nd (and winning) run was scored when Ryan Mathews drew a bases loaded walk to end it. Then this happened…..
Pack survives, 3-2. And maybe it’s my own imagination, but the U’s catcher looks pretty pissed as he makes his way off to the right side of the frame above.
Also, for the rest of the tournament, whenever necessary, this is now our new official rally cap…..
Consider yourselves informed.
Go Pack! Get it done today vs. Wake.