With three weeks left before the ACC conference baseball championship takes place, six teams, have already punched their ticket to Durham, N.C. for the week of May 21-26. So far, Atlantic Division leader Louisville (15-6), Co-leaders of the Coastal Division, Georgia Tech (15-9) and North Carolina (15-9) are in. They are joined by Florida State (14-10), Miami (14-10), and N.C. State (14-10). The battle is on for the 12th and final spot in the championship. At the moment, Boston College (8-16) has the inside track with a one-game lead in the loss column on both Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh. This weekend, the Eagles head to Virginia Tech to take on the Hokies while Pittsburgh travels to Florida State.
When sizing up the ACC match-up between the Eagles and the Hokies, a couple of things come to mind. The Eagles are led by a couple of freshmen. On offense, outfielder Sal Frelick leads the team in batting average at .367, slugging at .513. and in stolen bases with 18. On the mound, Boston College will turn to Mason Pelio on Sunday. He leads the pitching staff in ERA at 2.78, record at 4-3. and in batting average against at .167. Virginia Tech heads into this series on a bit of a down note having lost their last four in a row. Jack Owens, the Hokies leadoff hitter, leads the team in batting at .324, and in on-base at .456. The team has hit 39 home runs so far this year, so keeping these hitters in the ballpark will be a priority for the Boston College pitching staff. Saturday’s starter, Ian Seymour, leads the rotation with a 3.94 earned run average, 4-4 record, and 66 punch outs in 59.1 innings this season.
The ACC continues to win games during the mid-week. Last week, the conference went 9-2, raising their overall record to 219-83 (.725). And with that, league teams still are being ranked very highly in most of the polls. Seven leagues schools were ranked going into this weekend action. Six of those were among the Top 25. Louisville is the highest at number four.
The Player of the Week in league play comes from the same school for the third week in a row. Louisville freshman third baseman Alex Binelas. In a 4-0 week for the Cardinals, Binelas had a heck of a week at the plate. He hit .643, going 9-for-14, with four doubles, three triples, and one home run. He drove in thirteenth runs and scored ten. He slugged at a 1.571 clip and had an on-base percentage of .722. This was done at the expense of Alabama A&M, who made the trip to Louisville for a non-conference weekend series. Last Friday night, Alex hit for the cycle, going 5-for-6 and driving in eight runs, becoming the first Cardinals player to hit for the cycle since 1998.
The Pitcher of the Week is Florida State’s, Drew Parrish. The junior LHP opened the weekend set versus Wake Forest and went seven shutout innings. In the victory, Parrish struck out eleven Demon Deacon hitters while only walking one. His performance was especially impressive given he was facing a Wake Forest team that ranked among the top fifteen in hits, home runs, and run scored. It’s the seventh time in Parrish’s career that he has punched out ten or more batters. In his last three starts, he has been lights out going twenty-one consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. He is 3-0 during this streak with a 0.00 ERA.
Junior, J.C. Flowers of Florida State, and Carson Spiers of Clemson are among 45 pitchers named to the Mid-Season Update for the 15th Annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the year award. These hurlers were announced last week. Flowers has ten saves and a 1.45 ERA in 18.2 relief innings. Spiers also has ten saves in 23 saves chances this season.
See you next week when we take another look at baseball in the ACC.