The first weekend of conference play in the Atlantic Coast Conference is over and the buzz from the first weekend centers around a program that has been under the radar for a while now. The Boston College Eagles had quite a week for themselves. Their 12-2 overall record is their best start in program history. They also have the ACC Player of the Week in Joe Vetrano. This week, the Eagles will be tested once again as they head to Tallahassee, Florida to take on Florida State. Let’s take a look at week two of ACC league play.
The Eagles (12-2, 2-1) have caught several people by surprise with their great start. A year ago this was a team that finished 5-25 in league play. Pitching and defense were major issues that seem to have been addressed. BC has the third-best fielding percentage in the league at .984 (8 errors in 14 games). They have turned 13 double plays on the base paths and the Eagles have stolen 12 in 17 attempts. The pitching staff is being led by Chris Flynn who heads into the Seminoles series with a 4-0 record and a 0.79 ERA. His four wins lead the league. He is getting help from Eric Schroeder who is 3-0 in five games with a 1.84 ERA. Teams are hitting .222 against him. He has given up three earned runs in 14.2 innings pitched. On offense, the Eagles have only one hitter in the Top- 20 in hitting. Senior Barry Walsh is hitting .383 with a .596 slugging percentage and a .444 on-base percentage to go along with four XBH in his 18 total plate appearances. Boston College finished a 4-1 week in which three of those wins came against Top 25 teams including an extra-inning win at #2 Tennessee. In that game, Cameron Leary was big for BC. In the field, he threw out what would have been the winning run at the plate in the ninth then led off the tenth with a HR to right-center that was the game-winning run. Over the weekend, the Eagles took two of three from #10 Virginia Tech. BC’s record is their best since 2016 when they started 11-3. They are ranked # 18 in both the Baseball America and Perfect Game polls.
Two other ACC teams have gotten off to great starts. The Louisville Cardinals (14- 1) are ranked # 2 by Collegiate Baseball and #3 by Baseball America. They have won nine straight games which match their longest winning streak since the 2020 season. The Cardinals begin their conference season this weekend after a non-conference sweep of Dayton from the A10. They outscored the Flyers by a 22-10 count. Louisville has the third-best team batting average at .327. Jack Payton leads at .455 and the junior is 25-for-55 with four HRs and 15 RBI with 15 runs scored. Sophomore Eddie King JR. is hitting .395 with 17 hits in 43 at-bats. He has one home run and 10 RBI. King is slugging .558 and has an on-base percentage of .469. Pitching has been a strong suit of this team in the early going. Sophomore Carson Liggett is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA. In 19.2 innings pitched, he has given up 13 hits and three earned runs, and 21 strikeouts to five walks. Junior Greg Farone is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings giving up six hits, four earned runs, 26 strikeouts, and 10 walks. Ryan Hawks, a senior, is 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA 25 innings pitched with 17 hits allowed and seven runs of which six are earned. He has 28 strikeouts to seven walks. Louisville has the fourth-best fielding percentage in the league at .982 with nine errors to 13 double plays.
The other team is Virginia (14-1, 2- 1 ) who had their 14-game winning streak snapped on Sunday by North Carolina 6-0. The Cavaliers have the best team batting average at .351 and the third-best pitching ERA at 2.66 with three shutouts already. Catcher Kyle Teel leads the league in batting average at .518 with 29 hits in 56 at-bats. He is slugging .732 with an on-base percentage of .597. Sophomore Ethan Anderson is hitting .438 in 15 games, with 28 hits in 64 at-bats slugging .656 with an on-base percentage of .511. Freshman Henry Godbout is hitting .425 17-for-40 with a .650 slugging and a .511 on-base. On the mound Jack O’Connor is 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched with 13 hits allowed. He has given up seven runs with six earned. His strikeouts to walks are not great at 17 to 12 but so far so good for O’Connor. His opponents are hitting only .186 against him with 13 hits in 70 at-bats.
Virginia will meet North Carolina State starting on Thursday. The Wolfpack were one of three unbeaten teams left in the nation until they ran into Miami last weekend. The Hurricanes took two of three from NC State to stop the winning streak. The Wolfpack are second in team batting average at .329 and their 35 home runs are also second in the league. As a team, the Wolfpack have struck out only 101 times which is the third-fewest in the conference. They do not have a hitter in the top 20 in batting nor do they have a pitcher in the top 20 in pitching. They also have the next-to-last fielding percentage in the league at .966 with 20 errors, and only 5 double plays turned. Yet, it has not stopped them from having a 14-2, 1 – 2 league record.
Georgia Tech (13- 3, 2 – 1) has won four of their last five games. Their winning streak was stopped by Notre Dame on Sunday by a 17-4 score. The Yellow Jackets have the worst team ERA in the league at 6.45. Their pitching staff has allowed double-digit runs in three of sixteen games played. Sophomore Jackson Finley has been one of the bright spots on the mound for GT. He has a 1-0 record with a 1.53 ERA. Hitters are batting only .197 against him in 17.2 innings pitched. The other bright spot for the Yellow Jackets is their closer Terry Busse who has six saves in six chances which leads the ACC. Tech’s defense has been ok with a fielding percentage of .978 with 13 errors committed and 16 double plays turned. But their starters must do a better job of getting outs for this team to be a factor in league play.
The Miami Hurricanes at 10-6, 2 – 1 in the league have this week’s ACC Pitcher of the Week in sophomore righthander Gage Ziehl. He tossed eight innings vs NC State on Saturday night in an 8-1 win for the Hurricanes. His outing matches the longest start by a Miami hurler this season. He threw eight shutout innings in this start. After the first two Wolfpack hitters reached, Ziehl retired 15 of the next 17 batters he faced. He struck out eight for the third straight game while allowing four NC State hits.
BC’s junior first baseman Joe Vetrano is the ACC Player of the Week. Batting out of the three spot for the Eagles, Vetrano batted .350 (7-of-20) with four home runs, and seven RBI with a .850 slugging percentage. His week started with a 3-for-5 night versus the # 2 ranked Tennessee Vols. All three of his hits were for extra bases, two HRs, and a double. Then next afternoon against UNC Ashville, Vetrano went 2-for-5 with a HR and three RBI. Over the weekend against the #10 ranked Virginia Tech, Vetrano went deep again on Friday for his fourth home run of the week.
Next week we’ll be back with more from the ACC.
- ACCSeptember 21, 2023ACC Football News & Notes: The League is Full of 3-0 Teams
- America East ConferenceSeptember 19, 2023America East Basketball News: A Look at UMBC
- ACCSeptember 15, 2023Boston College Begins ACC Play at Home vs #3 Florida State
- ACCSeptember 14, 2023ACC Football News & Notes: Florida State in the Top 5