If you are lucky enough to be a head coach in college baseball, you may give yourself a chance to reach some pretty impressive personal accomplishments. Such was the case for one coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference. At Boston College, they will get the opportunity to play a game in an MLB ballpark for a special cause. The back end of the league season is upon us so it’s time to see what is happening in the ACC.
NC State went on the road Wednesday night to play a mid-week game at High Point. The 13-5 victory gave their head coach Elliott Avent career win 950 as coach of the Wolfpack. NC State is ranked #23 as they head into this weekend’s series at Louisville. The coach’s milestone was not the only one that occurred on Wednesday night. Freshman Tommy White hit his 14th home run of the season in that game. The two-run shot in the fourth inning set a freshman single-season record for home runs in a season. The 14 bombs have him tied for second in the home run chase. White is also sixth in RBI with 47, fifth in total bases with 104, and eighth in hits with 53. As a team, the Wolfpack have hit 53 home runs. The series at home vs #11 Louisville pits the top two teams in the Atlantic division against each other.
As has been the case since the college baseball season began back in mid-February, teams from the ACC have done very well in mid-week contests. Their overall record is 207-58 (.781 winning percentage). Included in the win total is Clemson’s win over #14 Georgia on Tuesday night. The 8-4 win was powered by home runs from catcher Jonathan French in the 3rd inning, then a three-run HR in the fourth from outfielder Caden Grace. Jackson Lindley came out of the Tiger pen to throw two shutout innings to pick up his fifth win against zero losses. Louisville got ready for their big weekend series by defeating Kentucky 4-2. LF Cameron Masterson’s HR in the first inning got things going for the Cardinal. DH Jack Payton’s two-run single in the third padded the lead to 3-0. A bases-loaded walk in the seventh proved to be the game-winning run. These two teams have scheduled a game almost every year with 2020 being the exception.
The Virginia Cavaliers will honor one of their own on April 30 before their home game with Virginia Tech. Ryan Zimmerman will have his #11 jersey retired before the game. Zimmerman was a 2005 All-American. This will be the first of two retirement ceremonies for Zimmerman. The Washington Nationals, who he helped win a World Series, will also retire his number on June 17-18. Zimmerman’s career with the Nationals was a good one as he left as the all-time leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, extra-base hits, and total bases.
Boston College will host Virginia Tech this weekend. On Saturday night, the two teams will play at Fenway Park in Boston, MA. The game will be a part of ALS Awareness Day. For the Eagles, this has a special meaning. Pete Frates was a former captain of the team. He contracted ALS after his playing days at BC were over. His battle with the disease became a rallying cry to fund research to end this illness. Unfortunately, this will be the first time that Frates will not be at this game since he has passed away. For those in the Boston area, a great chance to see a good college baseball game at a ballpark worthy of having it. There are tickets still available with all seats priced at ten dollars.
Some interesting notes to pass along. The Hokies are hitting .328 as a team. That places them first in the conference, and second in the nation. Three other programs are in the top 10 in the nation in team batting average. Georgia Tech is second in the league and is also third in the country at .323. Virginia is fourth in the league and eighth in the country at .318, Louisville is fifth in the league and 10th in the nation at .316. On the pitching side of things, Virginia is number one in the ACC at 3.40 ERA, which has them eighth in the country. Notre Dame is second in the league and #13 in the country at 3.50.
There are two Players of the Week in the ACC. First, there is Tim Borders II. In four games last week, which included a series win at North Carolina, Birders hit .353, with six hits, four home runs, and 11 RBI. The sophomore slugged 1.118 and had an on-base of .400. Against the Tar Heels, Borders hit .385, with five hits, a double, three home runs, AND nine RBI. He slugged 1.154 and has an OPS of 1.554. Tanner Schobel of Virginia Tech hit .421 in a 3-1 week for the Hokies. He hit three home runs, including two in last Thursday night’s win over Miami. On Saturday he added a grand slam. He drove in 10 RBI for the week, which accounted for one-fourth of Tech production for the week.
For the fifth time in the past two years and for the third time this season, Florida State LHP Patrick Messick is the ACC Pitcher of the Week. On Friday night, Messick went 6.2 innings and struck out a career-high 14 hitters in an 8-1 win over Louisville. He limited the number one offense to five hits and zero walks. It was his second 14-strikeout game of the season. The performance also earned him the National Pitcher of the Week by the NCBWA. He is the first ACC pitcher to win both the league and national awards.
That’s all for this week. We will be back next week with more from the ACC