The first day and play-in games of the 2015 ACC baseball tournament are in the books, leaving eight teams to duke it out for conference bragging rights at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, North Carolina.
Tuesday saw No. 7 Virginia beat No. 10 Georgia Tech 11-0 in a true laugher, while No. 8 UNC overcame an early deficit to beat No. 9 Virginia Tech by a score of 5-3.
The tournament now moves to pool play. There are four teams in each pool playing in a round-robin format. The winner of each pool will meet in the championship game. Here's a look at each pool after Tuesday's results.
|Pool A||Championship||Pool B|
|No. 1 Louisville||No. 2 Miami|
|No. 4 Florida State||Pool A Winner vs. Pool B Winner||No. 3 Notre Dame|
|No. 5 Clemson||No. 6 NC State|
|No. 8 North Carolina||No. 7 Virginia|
Here's Wednesday's schedule, television info, game predictions and a preview of what's to come on hump day.
|3||No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 5 Clemson||11 a.m.||RSN||Clemson 2-0|
|4||No. 2 Miami vs. No. 7 Virginia||3 p.m.||RSN||Miami 5-3|
|5||No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 8 North Carolina||7 p.m.||RSN||Louisville 5-1|
Note: Wednesday games can be seen via live stream on ESPN3.
Game of the Day: No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 5 Clemson
Clemson-Florida State figures to be the most compelling of Wednesday's games. The Tigers are fresh off handing the Seminoles their first home sweep in nearly a decade and now find themselves in a position to sneak their way into the NCAA tournament with a good showing in Durham.
Aaron Brenner of The Post and Courier notes it might take at least a couple of wins to get them into the NCAA tourney: "The Tigers’ No. 55 RPI would indicate they need at least two victories this week in Durham to give themselves a fighting chance at the school’s 21st NCAA bid in 22 years under head coach Jack Leggett."
They've indeed played like men on a mission in recent weeks, winning seven of their last eight games, including a (this is no misprint) 23-15 clobbering of Furman on May 12.
The Tigers are clearly on a roll, but this isn't to say that the Seminoles are without lofty aspirations of their own.
Even after the sweep, FSU head coach Mike Martin harbors hopes of his team hosting a regional in the NCAA tournament, per the Tallahassee Democrat's Corey Clark:
It’s a new season. We’ve got to understand that we had an opportunity to be a Top 8 seed. It’s going to be difficult now, no question. But it doesn’t mean we won’t get the opportunity to host a regional and let’s hope we can host a regional and let’s hope we can play well in the ACC Tournament.
Clemson will be putting the conference's top pitcher on the mound Wednesday in Matthew Crownover. Clemson Baseball provided a look at his overwhelming statistical profile:
According to Clark, sophomore Boomer Biegalski will be his opposite on the mound. Biegalski went 5-4 this year with a 3.19 ERA and picked up the loss against Crownover in the Tigers' 4-1 series-starting win on Thursday.
Biegalski kept Clemson quiet for the first three innings of that contest, but the Tigers eventually culled together some offense to pull out the victory. First-team All-ACC catcher Chris Okey went 2-for-4 with an RBI in that contest, while left fielder Reed Rohlman scraped out a pair of hits for himself and scored two runs.
Considering Clemson's scored 71 runs in its past eight games, it's doubtful Biegalski or the Seminoles bullpen will keep the bats quiet enough for their own offense, led by D.J. Stewart (.324 average, 13 home runs, 50 RBI), to stake them to a significant lead.
However, winning four games in a row against a team as tough as Florida State is a rare feat, and the Seminoles should be able to put up a fight in this one. Having seen Crownover so recently, perhaps Martin and his coaching staff can put together a plan for attacking the lefty hurler (of course, the same could also be said for Clemson in facing Biegalski).
Expect Crownover's big-hitting battery mate, Okey, to have a major say in this one as the Tigers put together a tense, low-scoring win.
Prediction: Tigers 3-2 Seminoles