The last two weekends of ACC baseball will be about teams making the 12-team postseason tournament field and the seeding of those teams. No division has been locked up yet, however, league games that are scheduled for this weekend may change that. As of this week, two teams have punched their ticket to the tournament. They are Miami and Louisville and both of these teams also happen to be the division leaders in the Atlantic and Coastal divisions. Their leads are not large by any means, so both will have to keep playing to get the number one and two seeds. Here is some other news from the league.
Before we talk baseball, let’s take a moment to focus a bit on the classroom work of these players. One, in particular, is Duke senior outfield RJ Schreck. He has been named one of ten finalists for the 2022 Senior Class Award. To be considered for this award, you first must be a student-athlete classified as an NCAA Division I senior or graduate student. You must also have notable achievements in four areas of excellence such as community, classroom, character, and competition. On the diamond, Schreck has a .324 batting average, .414 on-base percentage, and a .556 slugging percentage, with eight home runs and 28 RBI. In the classroom, he is a computer science major who is working toward his minor in both economics and cultural anthropology.
On to the field we go and we begin in the Coastal where Miami (17-7) holds a two-game lead over a very stubborn Virginia Tech (14-8) team. Both teams have tough weekend assignments ahead of them. For the Hurricanes, they will travel to Tallahassee to take on in-state rival Florida State (13-11). They feature two of the better front-line starters in the conference in Parker Messick (2.56 ERA) and this week’s league Pitcher of the Week Bryce Hubbart (2.69 ERA). These are two of the better left-handed pitchers in the league and maybe the country. The Canes will begin this series with a five-game winning streak while Florida State will bring a four-game streak of their own. Miami has a team batting average of .299 that will face the second-best team ERA in the conference. The Seminoles are at 3.75.
Virginia Tech will meet the leader of the Atlantic division in Louisville starting on Friday night. Both teams come into this series red hot!! The Hokies (14-8) have won nine of their last ten, four in a row, and are 23-4 at home. The Cardinals (15-8-1) have won eight of nine and are a game under .500 (6-7-1) on the road this season. Both teams can swing the bat as Virginia Tech is 4th in the team batting chase at .312. Louisville is right behind in 5th at .309. If there is a difference between the two, it is in the pitching department. VT has the fourth-best team ERA at 4.09, and Louisville is 10th at 5.38. This figures to be a bit of a high-scoring three-game series.
Virginia Tech continues to impress the pollsters. It is hard to believe that this team was not ranked when the season began back in February. They now find themselves ranked in four of the six polls used by NCAA college baseball. They remain the highest-ranked program in the league. Their highest ranking is #3 by Perfect Game. In the other polls, the Hokies are in the top five. Their coach, John Szefc, should be a shoo-in for ACC Coach of the Year.
As mentioned earlier, Florida State left-handed pitcher Bryce Hubber is this week’s ACC Pitcher of the Week. In Sunday’s start at Boston College, Bryce went seven innings of one-hit, eleven strikeout baseball. He did hit a batter. He would allow only two base-runners in his outing as both reached base in the second inning on a lead-off double and hit batsmen. He would retire the last 17 Eagles hitters he faced. The 11 strikeouts were the most he recorded in a road game in his career. The Seminoles won the rubber game of that series 8-1.
The ACC Player of the Week is Yolander Morales. The sophomore third baseman of Miami went 10-for-15 (.667) with three home runs, and nine RBI in a three-game sweep of North Dakota State. All three of Morales’s home runs gave his team the lead. Two of his bombs were game-winning blasts. He now has 11 home runs on the season and is the first Hurricanes player since 2015 and 2016 to have back-to-back double-digit home runs years. On Friday, Morales had a four-hit game which was the first time since 2015 that Miami had a player with back-to-back four-hit games.
Next week we will look ahead to the final weekend of the season in the ACC.
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