Eight teams from the ACC began their “Road to Omaha” journey last weekend. When the weekend was over, three were left standing. Wake Forest, Duke, and Virginia moved one step closer to having their dream realized. With the way the matchups have been put together, the league will have at least one team playing for the College World Series June 16-26 in Omaha, Nebraska for the 17th straight year.
One of the super-regional matchups will be an all-ACC series between the Duke Blue Devils (38-22) and the Virginia Cavaliers (48-12). The three-game series will begin on Friday afternoon in Virginia. For the Cavaliers, this is the eighth time in the last 15 years they have played in the super regionals. Being the home team could be a big advantage for Virginia. That’s because their record at Disharoon Park is now 35-4 after taking last weekend’s regional. The 35 wins at home is a single-season record for home wins in a season. The Cavaliers have won nine of their last ten games and thru 60 games they are swinging the bats at a .334 clip. Catcher Kyle Teel is hitting .423, Over the weekend, he reached the 100-hit mark for the season at 101. He has struck out only 33 times in 239 at-bats. Teel is getting help from his lineup. Griff O’Ferral at .391, Ethan Anderson at .372, and Ethan O’Donnell at .359 are putting aluminum to the baseball. On the mound, Connelly Early at 11-2 with a 3.35 ERA, Nick Parker 8-0, 3.78 ERA, Jack O’Connor 6-3, 3.86 ERA, and Brian Edgington 5-3, 4.11 ERA. have been getting outs when needed.
The Blue Devils went on the road for their regional. After landing in the losers bracket, Duke fought their way back to not only reach the regional final vs Coastal Carolina but beat them on their home field to advance. The 12-3 win on Monday night capped off the Blue Devils winning three out of four to take the Conway Regional. MJ Metz, playing with a torn ACL, was named regional MVP after hitting four home runs over the long weekend. He whacked three of them on Friday night vs UNC Wilmington, then went deep again on Monday vs Coastal. For the Blue Devils, this will be the third time since 2018 they have played in the super regionals. That ties them with North Carolina for the most in that time period. Duke has won four of their last six games and took two of three on the road from Virginia in Charlottesville back on April 28-30.
The number one overall national seed, Wake Forest, had no problem moving on. They averaged 16 runs per game in beating George Mason twice and Maryland once. They also became the first team in Demon Deacons baseball history to reach the 50-win mark (50-10). Wake Forest’s pitching has been the story all spring, but their offense is starting to show signs that they are ready to take over. As they get set to host Alabama (43-19) starting on Saturday, they do so with a lineup that is batting .308 overall. The Demon Deacons have five hitters in the top 20 of the ACC batting race. Nick Kurtz .384 23 HR 67 RBI, Pierce Bennett .357 with 62 RBI, Brock Wilken .353 with 27 HR and 77 RBI, Tommy Hawke .352 with 13 stolen bases, and Justin Johnson .340 15 long ones and 74 driven in. These guys set the tone offensively for a pitching staff that simply lights out.
Wake is looking to make their third trip to Omaha and their first since 1955, which is also the last time they won the College World Series. Virginia is looking to head back for the sixth time, the other five have come since 2009. Duke is trying to make it back for the fourth time and the first time since 1961. The fun gets started on Friday so good luck to the teams from the ACC.
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