The 2012 ACC Baseball Tournament is underway and there are certainly some exciting players to look out for in addition to some interesting story lines. Top-seeded Florida State was upset by eighth seed Georgia Tech and North Carolina used a plethora of pitchers to blank Wake Forest 6-0. So what players should you keep an eye on as the tournament continues?
North Carolina: Jacob Stallings, C
The 6’5” catcher for the Tar Heels continued his hot streak entering the ACC Tournament.
In the opening game for North Carolina against Wake Forest, Stallings went 2-for-4 with a two-run double.
Stallings was impressive at the dish, but is perhaps better on the defensive side of the ball behind the plate.
In the game against Wake Forest, Stallings caught Demon Deacon Pat Blair in a pickle between home plate and third base before tagging him out to keep the shutout going.
Stallings is an exciting player to watch on both sides of the baseball for his hitting prowess and great defense.
Florida State: James Ramsey, CF
James Ramsey was one of the few bright spots for the Florida State Seminoles in their upset loss to Georgia Tech. The outfielder went 3-for-4 at the dish with a homer and two RBI (accounting for half of their four runs scored).
The left-handed batting Ramsey is the Seminoles’ team captain and he’ll have to continue producing at the plate for the Seminoles to overcome their opening loss in the tournament.
Georgia Tech: Jake Davies, 1B
Georgia Tech provided the first upset in the tournament so far against top-seeded Florida State and Jake Davies was a gigantic reason why.
At 6'0" and 225 pounds, Davies has plenty of pop in his bat.
Against Florida State, Davies when 2-for-3 at the plate, smashing two homers and collecting four RBI.
Wake Forest: Pat Blair, SS
Despite getting tagged out in between third base and home plate against North Carolina, Blair has proven himself to be the table setter for the Wake Forest batting order.
Though only going 1-for-3 at the plate, Blair got on base by drawing two walks. Unfortunately for Blair and Wake Forest, nobody behind him was up to the task of knocking him in during their first tournament game.
The freshmen shortstop has a passion for the game of baseball that should not be overlooked.
Miami: Eric Erickson, LHP
Eric Erickson toed the rubber in Miami’s first tournament game against N.C. State and did not disappoint.
Erickson was surgical on the mound. Despite giving up nine hits, he surrendered just one run, threw only 86 pitches in seven innings and did not walk a single batter.
Unfortunately for Erickson and Miami, he left with the lead but couldn’t get the tournament win because the Hurricanes’ bullpen couldn't hold the fort.
Erickson will be a key player to watch if he gets the opportunity to pitch again in the tournament.
N.C. State: Ryan Matthews, RF
N.C. State was able to gut out a close game against Miami in the first tournament game despite looking overmatched at times.
Ryan Matthews, who went 0-for-4 with an RBI in the opening game, needs to step up moving forward.
During the season, Matthews led the team with 14 homers and 53 RBI. He’ll be a major X-factor for his team in future tournament games this year.
Clemson: Phil Pohl, C/1B/OF
Phil Pohl is one of the co-captains on this Clemson team and leads by example with his effort and high motor.
On the field, Pohl does a little bit of everything. As one of the leaders of this Clemson baseball team, he’s an ideal player to keep an eye on.
Virginia: Branden Kline, RHP
Branden Kline was named to the All-ACC Second Team and has experience pitching as a starter and a relief pitcher.
He’s sure to get a lot of looks during the tournament because he’s one of Virginia’s most consistent pitchers (he posted a 6-3 record with a 3.89 ERA).