The 2015 ACC Baseball Championship gets underway today in Durham at the DBAP, with the play-in games pitting (7)Virginia vs (10)Georgia Tech in game one at 11am, followed by (8)Carolina vs (9)Virginia Tech at 3pm. Both games are televised by the RSNs, as well as available for streaming via ESPN3.
Wolfpack Baseball lands in Durham this week for the 2015 ACC Baseball Tournament as well, but having avoided the play-in seeds, and with an off day on Wednesday, they don’t begin pool play until Thursday morning.
Winners of 10 of their final 12 ballgames, the Wolfpack came on strong to finish the ’15 regular season and post a record of 31-20, 15-14 ACC. With an RPI of #40, in all likelihood the Pack9 has already secured an at large bid for the upcoming NCAAT, but a strong showing in Durham could go a long way to padding their resume, while an ACC Championship would remove all question of bubbles and the like.
Since 2007, the ACC has been using the infamous Pool Format for the ACC Baseball Tournament, with the 7/10 and 8/9 play-in games added last year due to conference expansion. For more on the specifics on the tournament format, including how the respective seeds are grouped into the two pools, go here and read all about it. If those details don’t interest you, just know that the Pack is the #6 seed and will be in Pool B along with #2 Miami, #3 Notre Dame and the #7UVa/#10GT winner.
NCSU Pool Play Schedule:
- Thursday 5/21, 11am – Notre Dame
- Friday 5/22, 7pm – Miami
- Saturday 5/23, 7pm – UVa/GT Winner
#Pack9 ACC Tournament Central (GoPack.com)
ACC Tourament Central (TheACC.com)
Final 2015 ACC Baseball Divisional Standings
|Schools||Conf W-L-T||Conf PCT||W-L-T||PCT|
|Schools||Conf W-L-T||Conf PCT||W-L-T||PCT|
2015 ACC Baseball Tournament Seedings
- Notre Dame
- Florida State
- NC State
- Virginia Tech
- Georgia Tech
The Pools and Schedule
The two play-in games on Tuesday and all pool play games Wednesday thru Saturday will be televised on the RSNs (click link for specific channels of respective games/days) and streamed live on ESPN3.
Sunday’s championship game will be televised on ESPN2 and streamed on ESPN3.
Louisville is attempting to win conference championships for three straight years in three different conferences. The Cards’ first season in the ACC was a good one to say the least. They managed to go thru a very grueling ACC regular season slate without losing a single series and sweeping five of them, including on the road at Notre Dame and UVa.
Their 25 league wins was a conference record allowing them to win the Atlantic Division going away over ND and FSU.
Head Coach Dan McDonnell is ACC COY, P/IF/DH Brendan McKay is FOY, and the Cards put five players on the ACC’s all-conference first team.
They hit well. They pitch better. To be sure, they’re the favorite in Durham.
It’s hard to say that a 37-19 season and an RPI of #14 is a down year, but for FSU it was. What’s more, the ‘Noles ended the year on even more of a down note as they dropped their last two series to ‘Ville and Clemson, including a season ending sweep at home at the hands of the Tiggs.
But despite finishing the season on a five game skid, it would be a mistake to think the ‘Noles are done. Head Coach Mike Martin has seen a bit of everything in his 36 years in Tallahassee, and he knows wins over Clemson and the Carolina/VT winner likely sets his club up for a one game showdown with ‘Ville in Durham for a berth into Sunday’s championship and a national seed on the line.
ACC Pitcher of the Year Matthew Crownover (10-1, 1.42 ERA) was stellar all season, but otherwise Clemson largely treaded water for most of the year. In early May when they dropped their series at home vs ‘Ville and followed it up by getting pasted at Wofford, they looked to be sinking fast. Then they reeled off 7 wins in 8 games, including a dominant sweep at Florida State to finish the season which got them back on the bubble, and wrestled the #5 ACCT seed out of the hands of our own Pack.
Their #55 RPI is still gonna be hard to overcome, but a 2-1 week (or better) in Pool A in Durham might get it done for the Tiggs.
Despite a mostly up and down season, the Heels had themselves well-positioned in conference. But the Heels did themselves no favors the last two weeks of the season, losing six of their last seven games, including six straight in conference, dropping them like a rock all the way into the play-in games.
With an RPI of 28 however, their NCAAT hopes don’t necessarily rely on their performance in Durham. But their road to Sunday definitely got harder than it needed to be.
Like Carolina, VT had a very up and down year. An early sweep of then #1 UVa was followed up by dropping 9 of their next 12 conference games. The Hokies righted the ship enough to qualify for the 10 team field in Durham, winning 8 of their last 10 games, including a sweep of BC. But still managed to drop 2 out of 3 at Pitt to end the regular a season.
Of the 10 teams in the field, VT winning out thru Sunday would surprise me the most.
If Louisville is the favorite in Durham, the ‘Canes are a VERY close second. They are far and away the best offensive team in the field, leading the league (and it’s really not even close in any of the following categories) in batting avg. (.319), hits (625), HR (56), RBI (411), runs scored (471), slg% (.481) and ob% (.427).
To quote Mickey Goldmill, the infamous if fictitious trainer of Rocky Balboa, “they can cause a variety of damage”.
And since the ‘Canes will be trying to make their final case for a national seed in the upcoming NCAAT, they’ll likely be trying to demolish folks.
Oh, and they pitch pretty good too.
The Irish are one of those teams that you look at on the field and in the stats and have a hard time figuring out how they’ve done it. They’re fourth in the league in pitching, yet last in the league in batting.
But they’re fundamentally sound, excellent defensively and they rarely beat themselves. Because of this you can never count them out.
Like a lot of other teams in the league, the Pack had an up and down go of things this year. And despite dropping a season-ending series at home to Louisville, the Pack9 should still feel pretty good about themselves after taking ten of their final 12 games.
The Pack is fourth in the league on offense; and second in pitching…if one overlooks some glaring shortcomings in the control department (walks, wild pitches and especially hit batsmen).
Just as we stated before the Louisville series…IF…
IF Wolfpack pitching can limit the mistakes, Durham could be kind to the wolven clan. Brian Brown did it superbly in game two vs Louisville, and got the win. Games one and three, not so much…and both ended up being hard fought losses.
Despite their still impressive RPI, UVa might be the biggest disappointment of the year when it comes to ACC teams. The ‘Hoos had visions of ACC and CWS championships coming into the season. Then ’15 happened, and the ‘Hoos find themselves playing on ACCT Tuesday.
But that doesn’t mean UVa isn’t still capable of reeling off several wins to keep their goals intact. And they’ve been on a bit of an uptick of late winning seven of their final eight games, including five of six in conference and a road sweep of Carolina. Only a trio of unlikely late-inning losses (2 to NCSU, 1 to Duke) kept UVa from taking 11 of their final 12 ACC games.
Head Coach Brian O’Connor has worked magic before, and despite playing on Tuesday UVa should be viewed as a darkhorse to make it to Sunday.
The Jackets don’t pitch particularly well, but they’re solid at the plate. Much like Notre Dame, they do enough of the little things right to make the difference most days.
They’ve got a tough Tuesday draw with UVa, no doubt. But the Jackets are only a few years removed from running the table from the #8 slot and taking the whole enchilada, so don’t talk to them about long odds.