Things are happening as the final month of the ACC baseball season gets underway. There is a change at the top of the Atlantic Division while the race in the Coastal remains tight. Every series is now carrying extra weight as teams try to end their regular season strong. Good baseball is ahead in the league, so let’s take a look at where everything stands.
Notre Dame just keeps on winning and it has finally paid off for the Fighting Irish (21-8). Their sweep of North Carolina last weekend was their first home sweep of a conference foe since 2017. Their blowout win on Sunday of 19-5, represented the most runs scored since they have been a part of the league. Not to mention the most important stat of all is they are still the only team in the league to win every ACC series they have played this spring. The Irish head into this weekend having won six in a row. For the first time this spring they are on top of the mountain in the Atlantic thanks to Louisville’s tough series vs Clemson. ND stays home this weekend to take on Florida State with a one-game lead over the Cardinal (14-9) who will host Duke.
The good news for Notre Dame is with the sweep of the Tar Heels and their current win streak intact, they become the first team to secure a spot in the 12-team postseason tournament slated for May 25-30 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Louisville, despite their troubles with the Tigers, has also punched their ticket to that event as well. The Irish’s strong play has made them a consensus Top-10 team in the nation and the highest-ranked team in the league. Four other teams, Louisville. Pittsburgh, Florida State, and Clemson joined the Irish in one of the national polls.
Speaking of those Tigers (15-12), they had quite a weekend at the expense of the Cardinal. Their three-game sweep was the first suffered by Louisville since they joined the conference back in the 2015 season. They are also the first team to sweep the Cardinal in any kind of series since 2011. Clemson will take a seven-game winning streak with them on the road as they face Georgia Tech. Away from home, the Tigers are under .500 at 5-7.
In the Coastal Division, Pittsburgh (14-10) has a two-game lead on the rest of the field. The schedule is also a help to them as they will play their final two series of the year at home. This week it’s Boston College and next week against North Carolina State. The Panthers have been a little interesting in that on league play they are only a .500 team at home at 6-6. This week they face an Eagles team that at the moment finds themselves on the outside looking in with regards to the postseason. A far cry from the top-25 BC team started the season.
The series between the two does possess good storylines. For Pittsburgh, they return to the diamond after a two-week pause because of Covid. For Boston College, they find themselves three games back of Duke for the final spot in the ACC tournament. The good news for BC is they hold the tiebreaker on the Blue Devils thanks to a series win over Duke back in March. This will be the first trip by BC to Pitt since 2016.
A big reason for the Tigers sweep of Louisville came from first baseman Caden Crico who is this week’s ACC Player Of The Week. He went 9-for-13, (.692). with four home runs, a double, 12 runs batted in, and seven runs scored. Crico slugged 1.692 and had a .750 On-base percentage. He reached base in 12 of his 16 plate appearances. He hit eighth in the batting race with a .348 average in 39 games. His 12 home runs were fifth in that race and his 43 RBI placed him fourth in the runs batted in chase.
The Pitcher Of The Week is Andrew Abbott of Virginia. The senior right-hander earned his fifth win of the season by throwing seven innings of four-hit baseball against Virginia Tech on Friday night. He gave up an unearned run and did not allow a walk in his outing which was the second straight week of no base on balls. He recorded eight strikeouts to raise his season total to 99 which is number one in the league. Abbott has fanned at least seven hitters in 10 of his 11 starts this year.
Next week we will be back with more from the ACC.