As the month of April begins, the Atlantic Coast Conference can boast that every team in its league is at least a .500 team overall. Both Wake Forest and Virginia lead their respective division by a game in the loss column. The league has a ridiculous winning percentage of .788 in non-conference action. It is above .500 in both home non-league games and road non-league games. The ACC is inching ever so closer to being above .500 in games vs Top-25 teams. All of this is good news with eight weeks left in the regular season, and with the conference tournament looming. Every game from here on in will mean that much more. Here is how the league looks as April rolls in.
Wake Forest (22-3, 7-2) is now ranked #2 by both USA Today and D1 Baseball. In fact, they find themselves no lower than #4 in any poll. Last week, they swept Miami at home. It was the first time that the Demon Deacons have swept a series from the Hurricanes in program history. Pitching was the key to winning the series for Wake Forest as they allowed only two runs in three games. ACC Pitcher of the Week Brett Lowder got it started on Friday night by going seven shutout innings and giving up only three hits. This was against an offense that was ranked fifth in the nation in home runs with 49 in 24 games and 33rd in the nation in runs scored. It was the first shutout of Miami since Notre Dame turned the trick last May 20 by a 5-0 score. Lowder allowed only one XBH and fanned nine hitters. The Demon Deacons boast the best team ERA in the conference at 2.09, which is also the best in the nation.
The team with the second-best team ERA is Virginia (22-2, 7-2) at 2.57. It is second in both the ACC and the country. The staff is being led by junior Connor Early. He is 5-0 with a 1.71 ERA and teams are hitting .209 against him. He has 34 strikeouts in 26.1 innings pitched. His numbers rank him 21st in the nation in pitching. Virginia is also swinging some hot bats. They lead the conference in hitting with a .335 team average. They lead the league in RBI with 211, and in hits with 289. Their team batting average is second in the country behind New Mexico. Kyle Teel leads the batting race with a .462 BA through 24 games. He is tied for second in hits with 42, and on-base percentage of .526. Teel is 10th in the nation in batting, tied for 10th in hits, and tied for 29th in on-base percentage. Not bad for a catcher.
The story of the league continues to be the Boston College Eagles (18-5, 6-3). While their numbers do not jump off the page at you, here are some things to consider. Their road record is 12-4, and their record vs Top-25 teams is 8-3. Their defense is much improved from a year ago. They are fourth in the league and 47th in the country with a .977%. (19 errors in 23 games). Barry Walsh is 17th in hitting with a .360 average while graduate senior Henry Leake is 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA in seven games. They began the week ranked #13 in the Baseball America poll, and 14 in the D1 poll. Both rankings are the highest in program history.
Notre Dame (12-9, 4-5) is off to a bit of a slow start. In three league series so far, the Irish are 1-2. The offense has been the main problem for ND. The team ranks last in the conference in team batting with a .212 average. They also have the worst on-base percentage (.334) and slugging percentage (.344) in the league. The Irish do boast the leader in Sac Bunts. Tj Williams leads with four. Meanwhile, Brooks Coetzee leads in being hit by pitch with 18. That number also leads the country. He has been hit by pitch .86 times per game, also the nation’s best.
The Pittsburgh Panthers (11-10, 3-4) are another team having a tough start to the season. Pitt is next to last in hitting at .261 and dead last in pitching at 6.49 ERA. The pitching staff has allowed the highest batting average against at .266, and they have given up the most earned runs at 132. Last weekend, Pittsburgh did win their first ACC series as they took two of three from Virginia Tech. This weekend, they will look to make it two in a row as they head to Duke.
There were Co-Players of the Week in the league. First Clemson junior Caden Crice got it done as a two-way player for the Tigers last week. At the plate, Crice hit four HR, had 11 RBI, five runs scored, and three walks. His best game of the week came on Sunday, in a 14-5 win where he went 2-for-4 at the dish with two home runs, five RBI, three runs, and a walk. He also got the start on the mound and went five innings which tied a career-high, allowing three hits, one run, and six strikeouts in getting the win.
Jake DeLeo of Georgia Tech also was named. He helped the Yellow Jackets win the series over Clemson by hitting .500 with six hits on the weekend. He had three doubles, two home runs, and three RBI. He slugged 1.250, with a .500 on-base percentage. He struck out only once while drawing three walks. For the week, DeLeo hit .444, with three home runs and seven total XBH.
Next week we look ahead to the month of April in the ACC.
- Northeast Conference2023.06.06News from the Northeast Conference
- ACC2023.06.01ACC Baseball News & Notes: Eight Teams Called for Field of 64
- America East Conference2023.05.31America East Baseball News & Notes: Maine Heads to Coral Gables
- Radio Shows2023.05.24America East Baseball News & Notes: On to Binghamton