Pool play for the 2015 ACC baseball tournament continued Thursday with six of the remaining eight teams in action and jockeying for position in the standings.
The ACC tournament features two pools of teams that will play each other in round-robin style. The top team from each pool will advance to Sunday's championship game with an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament on the line.
Six teams entered Thursday's slate in hopes of taking another step toward that ultimate goal, and here is a look at how they have fared to this point.
Full schedule available at TheACC.com.
|Upcoming ACC Tournament Schedule|
|Date||Time (ET)||Team 1||Team 2||Watch|
|Friday, May 22||11 a.m.||Notre Dame||Virginia||ESPN3|
|Friday, May 22||3 p.m.||Clemson||North Carolina||ESPN3|
|Friday, May 22||7 p.m.||Miami||NC State||ESPN3|
|Saturday, May 23||11 a.m.||Louisville||Florida State||ESPN3|
|Saturday, May 23||3 p.m.||Notre Dame||Miami||ESPN3|
|Saturday, May 23||7 p.m.||NC State||Virginia||ESPN3|
|Sunday, May 24||1 p.m.||TBD||TBD||ESPN2|
Thursday Scores and Recap
|Winning Team||Losing Team||Score|
|NC State||Notre Dame||3-0|
|Florida State||North Carolina||8-4|
Play opened Thursday with NC State and Notre Dame locking horns in the first pool game for each team. While they both wanted to get off to a positive start, it was the Wolfpack who ascended to the top of the pool alongside Miami by virtue of a 3-0 win.
No. 6 NC State was a slight underdog against the No. 3 Fighting Irish, but that didn't stop it from controlling the game from start to finish. The Wolfpack manufactured two runs in the first inning to go up 2-0, and they added an insurance marker in the second inning when Andrew Knizner drove in Jake Fincher.
Offense was at a premium for most of the game, so the true story was the performance of NC State starting pitcher Brian Brown.
The ACC All-Freshman selection surrendered just two hits and two walks in six innings while striking out 10. According to Pack Pride, he was especially strong down the stretch:
Notre Dame was never able to get anything going with Brown on the hill, and it didn't fare much better against reliever Curt Britt, who hurled three innings of one-hit ball.
The Fighting Irish will have to dig themselves out of a hole in order to come back and win Pool B, while a battle for Pool B supremacy between NC State and Miami looms Friday.
There is still plenty of baseball to be played for both teams. Thursday's result was another example of how unpredictable college baseball can be.
North Carolina scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth against Florida State, but it was too little, too late for the Tar Heels, who fell 8-4 to the Seminoles. FSU prevailed largely on the strength of its offense over the first three innings. The 'Noles scored once in the first, twice in the second and tacked on another run in the third.
Ben DeLuzio went 3-for-4, driving in three runs and scoring another two. Baseball America's John Manuel was glad to see this kind of showing from the sophomore outfielder:
Josh Delph also had an impressive game, getting three hits himself and scoring three runs.
Trent Thornton had a Danny Salazar-type line for North Carolina. He gave up five runs, four of which were earned, in 5.1 innings but struck out 10 batters.
Mike Compton wasn't lights out, going 5.2 innings and giving up two earned runs, and Seminoles head coach Mike Martin removed the junior before the Heels could really start teeing off. Dylan Silva stopped the UNC rally in the sixth and held the team scoreless in the seventh.
North Carolina simply couldn't match Florida State offensively, with Thornton's poor start digging them into too deep of a hole.
After losing to Florida State Wednesday, No. 5 Clemson desperately needed a win Thursday against No. 1 Louisville to stay alive in Pool A. It seemed unlikely entering the game, but the Tigers managed to pull it off in dominant fashion with a 7-2 victory.
The Cardinals went 42-14 during the regular season and looked every bit like the best team in the ACC. Because of that, ESPN's Roy Philpott believed Clemson needed to raise its play to an extremely high level in order to beat such a strong squad:
That is precisely what the Tigers did as they jumped out to a 5-1 lead through two innings and never looked back. They were impressive offensively, as seven different players got at least one hit, and both Reed Rohlman and Weston Wilson contributed two RBI.
The star of the night for Clemson, though, was starting pitcher Zack Erwin. He shut down a normally potent Louisville offense to the tune of just six hits and one run allowed in eight innings.
Erwin also struck out 11 Cardinals, which was his best performance of the season, according to Brad Senkiw of the Independent Mail:
Clemson's win makes things quite interesting in Pool A, as it is 1-1 along with Louisville. Even if the Tigers aren't ultimately able to advance to the title game, they certainly put the Cards in a precarious position if nothing else.
The fact that the Tigers were able to come out on top speaks to the parity in the ACC, and it also sets the stage for a wild finish to pool play Friday and Saturday.
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