Since this is Easter weekend, the Atlantic Coast Conference will begin four of its weekend scheduled series a day earlier than usual. All but three series will start on Thursday and end on Saturday. The Miami Hurricanes remain the hottest team in the league, and one of the hottest teams in the country. In the meantime, every team in the Atlantic has some sort of winning streak alive as league play gets rolling. Here is some of what is going on in the ACC.
Miami (13-2, 27-6) takes a 14-game winning streak into this weekend’s series at Virginia Tech (7-6, 21-8). The streak is not only the longest such streak for the program since 2014 but it is the longest active run in the country. As you might expect, the Hurricanes are getting lots of love from the polls. Four of the major publications have Miami ranked as the number two team in the country. The Hurricanes are a perfect 9-0 in division play and 5-1 on the road in the Coastal. On Tuesday night, they reached 14 in a row by defeating Florida Atlantic 7-6. CJ Kayfus leads the Hurricanes’ offense with a .381 BA. His 48 hits rank him 5th in the conference. This team has demonstrated that pitching and defense still win ball games. The Hurricanes pitching staff has the third-best ERA in the league at 3.76, Carson Palmquist leads the staff in wins with eight, and in strikeouts with 13.61 per outing. Closer, Andrew Walters leads the team and the league with 11 saves in 15 games. Miami’s fielding percentage is at .969, with 39 errors in 33 games. A rather high number of errors for a team playing as well as they are. But they have turned 23 DP to offset it.
This weekend, the Hurricanes pitching staff’s number one job will be able to slow down the league’s top two hitters in Jack Hurley and Cade Hunter of Virginia Tech (7-6, 21-8). The Hokies have won eight of their last ten and are 16-3 at home. Virginia Tech’s batting average of .323 is second in the league. Hurley and Hunter are a big reason why. Hurley leads the league with a .429 BA and he has been the league-leading hitter for most of the season. He is second in doubles with 14, third in total bases with 94 and third in slugging percentage at .839. His teammate Hunter is batting .422, which is second in the batting race. He leads in on-base percentage at .512, and second in slugging at .853. There is no question these two guys make the Hokies offense go, and the two guys Miami must pay attention to all weekend long. Virginia Tech comes into this series as a ranked team in three polls with Perfect Game having them at #17.
Another team continuing to make noise is in the Atlantic division. Notre Dame (8-4, 21-5) is riding a nine-game winning streak. The Irish have won nine of their last ten games. They have finally been able to play at home and play well there with a 7-1 record. The Irish are a top-10 team in two polls. #7 in Collegiate Baseball and #10 in D1 Baseball. A big reason why is their record vs top-25 teams where they are 5-0. ND left-hander John M. Bertrand is the Pitcher of the Week for the second consecutive week. The Irish lefty went 8.1 innings vs Clemson without giving up a run. He struck out eight while walking three, it’s his fourth start with eight or more punchouts. He has not allowed an earned run in his last two conference starts vs the Tigers and Seminoles. He is the first starter since 2017 to post a 5-0 record. He has gone 16 innings without allowing an earned run. ND is back on the road playing at Duke.
Wake Forest (9-6, 26-7) is putting together a fine season in both ACC play and in non-conference action. Last weekend, the Demon Deacons swept a series from the Blue Devils at home. They find themselves as a ranked team in both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball at #23. Their head coach, John Walker reached a milestone last weekend by getting career win #350 in Sunday’s 16-11 win over Duke. Wake has a team batting average of .322 which ranks them third in the league. Freshman Nick Kurtz is ninth in hits with 46, fourth in runs scored with 43 and walks with 30 and ninth in on-base percentage at .485. On the mound, Rhett Lowder has a 7-1 record with a 2.30 ERA in eight games. He has pitched 47 innings, given up 43 hits, and has 50 strikeouts. The win total leads all pitchers and his innings pitched ranks him fourth His strikeout total has him seventh.
For those interested in attending the ACC baseball championship, single-session tickets are now on sale. The tournament is set to take place on May 24-29 at Truist Field in Charlotte, North Carolina. Packages are also available.
Georgia Tech sophomore catcher Kevin Parada is this week’s ACC Player of the Week. Last week the Yellow Jackets had a 3-1 week which included a big win over then #13 Florida State. Parada went 9-for-18, with four home runs, one triple, and one double. He slugged 1.333 with an on-base of .474. He struck out only twice in those 18 at-bats. Versus Florida State, Parada was 7-for-14, .500, with a triple, three home runs, and seven RBI in the three-game series.
That’s all for this week. We will be back next week with more from ACC baseball.
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