The ACC tournament got under way at Newbridge Bank Park Tuesday with two thrilling do-or-die elimination games to set up the rest of the pool-play format.
Before digging into the Day 1 results and a preview for the Day 2 action, it is worth mentioning the format of the tournament. The official website of the ACC broke it down for fans:
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.
An updated bracket and the full schedule of play and results can be found right here.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the early results in the do-or-die games and dig into some Wednesday predictions.
Day 1 Results
|1||North Carolina vs. NC State||North Carolina, 4-3|
|2||Wake Forest vs. Georgia Tech||Georgia Tech, 5-3|
North Carolina will now join Pool B with its victory, while Georgia Tech will be forced to test its luck against the dominant Miami Hurricanes in Pool A. Here is a look at the two pools after the play-in games were completed.
|A||Miami, Duke, Clemson, Georgia Tech|
|B||Florida State, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina|
Day 2 Schedule
|3||11 a.m.||Duke vs. Clemson||ESPN3|
|4||3 p.m.||Miami vs. Georgia Tech||ESPN3|
|5||7 p.m.||Florida State vs. North Carolina||ESPN3|
Day 2 Predictions
Miami Flashes Its Dominance
There is a reason Miami is considered the favorite to take home the ACC title and a legitimate threat in the ACC tournament.
The Hurricanes, who finished with an impressive 40-15 record overall and dominant 24-6 mark in ACC play, earned the No. 1 seed and will play Georgia Tech in their tournament opener Wednesday.
Will Miami win the ACC tournament?
Georgia Tech got past Wake Forest, but Miami has won 27 of its past 30 contests and doesn’t figure to slow down against the team that had to win Tuesday just to qualify for pool play. Freshman Zack Collins has been on an absolute tear lately and finished with eight home runs, which led the conference, and 46 RBI, which was second best in the conference.
The problem from the Yellow Jackets’ perspective all season has been hitting, and head coach Danny Hall discussed as much, via Ken Sugiura of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “We’ve got to hit better. We can’t continue to stress our pitching staff the way we are now. To their credit, they’ve done a tremendous job. I know we’re capable of hitting better.”
Georgia Tech baseball noted that offense wasn’t an issue in the early going Tuesday:
Still, the Yellow Jackets didn’t score the rest of the game, so their offense isn’t exactly coming into the Miami contest red hot.
North Carolina Pulls the Upset
North Carolina beat in-state rival North Carolina State 4-3 Tuesday in an emotional contest that saw momentum jump from one side to the other throughout the nine innings.
The one thing that stood out though was the Tar Heels’ impressive bullpen. The Wolfpack threatened to score in almost every single inning, but North Carolina was able to slam the door with runners on base and the game on the line in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Look for the back end of that pitching staff to carry over that momentum going forward to Wednesday. Florida State is one of the best teams in the ACC and earned the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament.
The Seminoles figure to put plenty of runners on base, but North Carolina’s pitching staff picked up critical postseason experience coming through in those nerve-wracking situations. It will do the same Wednesday.
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