ACC

ACC Baseball News & Notes: The Final Push Has Begun

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Five weeks is all that is left of the college baseball season. In the ACC, division titles are still there for the taking. This league has been dominating the season since it began. A check of the latest RPI ranking shows that the league is second in the country. The ACC leads in opponent strength of schedule, road success, and road RPI. Six league members are ranked inside the top 25. The Clemson Tigers are #1 in the RPI, Florida State is #3, North Carolina is #5, Virginia is #9, Wake Forest is #10, and Duke is #25. The balance of this league can be told by the fact that 12 of the 14 teams are ranked in the Top 66 in the RPI rankings.

Chase Burns of Wake Forest is having a stellar season. Heading into his start this weekend, Burns had already passed the 100 strikeouts mark (105). He is the only pitcher that has reached the 100-strikeout total. In his career, Burns has 322 career strikeouts. Two other pitchers have the chance to pass the 300 career strikeout total. North Carolina State’s Matt Willadsen at 260, and Clemson’s Matthew Marchal at 259. They ranked fifth and sixth among active pitchers.

Georgia Tech’s head coach Danny Hall recorded his 1,400th career victory last Sunday when his Yellow Jackets defeated Virginia Tech 11-7. He becomes the 11th Division One coach to reach that milestone and is still the winningest active coach in Division One college baseball.

The Boston College Eagles (20-16, 7-11) have been one of the better teams at turning double plays. They lead the ACC with 28 double plays. They are also one of the better defensive teams in the country with a fielding percentage of .980. On offense, Cameron Leary has been showing a flair for the dramatics. The past two Saturdays at home Leary had walk-off hits vs Florida State two weeks ago, then did it again last Saturday vs Wake Forest. He is hitting .314 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI.

The Louisville Cardinals (21-14, 7-8) rank fourth in the league in hitting with a .318 team batting average. They are third in the league with 77 doubles. They are tops in triples with 16 and are the best base stealers in the league with 80, which is 13 more than the second-best team in stolen bases, Boston College who has 67.

The Pittsburgh Panthers (15-19, 4-14) 1st baseman Luke Cantwell has a 30-game on-base streak heading into this weekend. He reached base in Pitt’s mid-week games vs #22 West Virginia and St.Bonaventure. He is second in the league in on-base percentage with a .524. Cantwell will try to keep the streak alive this weekend on the road as the Panthers take on #6 Clemson Tigers.

Virginia (28-8, 11-7) has been difficult for opposing pitchers to get out. The Cavaliers lead the league with a team batting average of .346. They also lead in on-base percentage at .438, runs scored at 375, hits with 461, runs batted in at 342, doubles at 98, and total bases at 77. They also matched a program record with 47 runs scored in their series with the Cardinals. This weekend the Yellow Jackets are in town.

The ACC Player of the Week is Nick Kurtz of Wake Forest. Kurtz is having a heck of a season for the Demon Deacons. Last week he went 8-for-15 .633 BA, with five HR and 12 RBI. He scored eight runs over four games played. He hit two HRs vs BC last Sunday to bring his total to 13 big flies in his last nine games heading into Wake’s mid-week games. He has homered in eight straight games after going yard vs UNCW on Wednesday in the very first inning of an 8-5 loss at home.

The ACC Pitcher of the Week is Aidan Knaak of Clemson. Last week he went a career-high eight innings vs NC State. He faced just four batters over the limit, allowing two singles and one walk. He struck out 10 in a 7-2 win. He retired the first 14 batters he faced and needed just 97 pitchers of which 71 were strikes to get through those eight innings.

Next week we will return with more from the ACC.

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