The 2014 ACC baseball tournament will kick off on May 20 with an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on the line. North Carolina and NC State will get the ball rolling, but there are multiple other contests that will make this play-in tournament one of the more exciting in the nation.
The 10-team tournament features some of the best schools in the country. The Miami Hurricanes were an astounding 40-15 this season with a 24-6 record in the ACC. As the No. 1 seed, Miami is a favorite to go all the way in this tournament.
Every team still alive in the ACC has an equal shot at winning the conference title. With a trip to the NCAA tourney on the line, expect quality baseball from the entire field.
In order to familiarize yourself with the tournament's teams before the action starts, everything you need to do is below.
A full bracket of the 2014 ACC baseball tournament can be found here.
The format for the tournament was broken down nicely by the official website of the ACC:
Under the pool-play format, each team will play one game against each of the other three opponents in its pool Wednesday through Saturday (May 21-24). The two teams with the best records within their respective pools will advance to the title game on Sunday, May 25, with the winner earning the ACC’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Pool play will certainly make things interesting.
The field is divided into Pool A and Pool B. Below are the schools in each pool.
|A||Miami, Duke, Clemson, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech|
|B||Florida State, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, NC State|
Below is a full schedule of the tournament.
|Game #||Date||Time (ET)||Matchup|
|1 (Pool B play-in)||May 20||11:00 a.m.||NC State vs. North Carolina|
|2 (Pool A play-in)||May 20||3:00 p.m.||Georgia Tech vs. Wake Forest|
|3||May 21||11:00 a.m.||Duke vs. Clemson|
|4||May 21||3:00 p.m.||Miami vs. Winner Game 2|
|5||May 21||7:00 p.m.||Florida State vs. Winner Game 1|
|6||May 22||11:00 a.m.||Virginia vs. Maryland|
|7||May 22||3:00 p.m.||Duke vs. Winner Game 2|
|8||May 22||7:00 p.m.||Miami vs. Clemson|
|9||May 23||11:00 a.m.||Florida State vs. Maryland|
|10||May 23||3:00 p.m.||Clemson vs. Winner Game 2|
|11||May 23||7:00 p.m.||Virginia vs. Winner Game 1|
|12||May 24||11:00 a.m.||Miami vs. Duke|
|13||May 24||3:00 p.m.||Maryland vs. Winner Game 1|
|14||May 24||7:00 p.m.||Florida State vs. Virginia|
|15||May 25||1:00 p.m.||Winner Pool B vs. Winner Pool A|
Full team rosters can be seen by going to theACC.com. Once on the home page, click on "Schools" in the menu bar. Once the drop menu appears, select a school. You will be able to find each roster through each individual school's athletics page.
Here is each team's record in the ACC this season, along with the seed it earned them for the tournament.
Miami, ACC Record: 24-6
The Miami Hurricanes reached 40 regular-season victories for the first time since 2008, and head coach Jim Morris was proud of his guys upon earning that 40th win, via Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald:
I’d like to congratulate our players and coaches. Our guys have worked very hard … and stuck together as a team and taken up for each other and made plays when we needed to. It’s very exciting to win the regular-season championship, and hopefully that will be the start to some great things.
The 'Canes have been one of the most dominant teams in the country this season. They enter the ACC tournament having won 27 of their past 30 games, and their 24 in-conference wins are tied with Clemson (2006) and Florida (2008 and 2012) for the most all time.
Freshman Zack Collins is a major reason for their success. He started the season 1-for-27 but finished strong. He posted a slash line of .285/.404/.520 with eight homers (first in the ACC) and 46 RBI (second in the ACC).
ACC pitchers must keep Collins in the yard during the tournament. While Miami is strong up and down the lineup, Collins is the biggest offensive threat.
Florida State, ACC Record: 21-9
The Florida State Seminoles finished with a great overall record of 41-14 this season, and Bob Ferrante of the Tampa Bay Times attributes much of their success to the versatility of senior Casey Smit:
In many ways, that's because of Smit's contributions. Even without a regular home in the field, Smit is hitting .303 with 23 runs and 23 RBIs. He has reached base in eight straight games, and his .444 on-base percentage is second on the team and among the top 10 in the ACC.
But, just how versatile is Smit? Ferrantes writes, "Smit has four gloves in his locker, one for each infield position. And if he's called on to play in the outfield, he will just borrow a teammate's glove."
Having that type of player on a team is invaluable. His versatility allows head coach Mike Martin to give other guys rest and not worry about losing them in the field or at the plate. Smit is more than capable of replacing anyone in the lineup on any given day.
He isn't a huge power threat, and he won't kill you at the plate without the help of his teammates getting on base, but Smit is a scrappy player who will give the competition fits. He's a player to watch for Florida State in the tournament.