Another week of ACC baseball and another week of mass confusion in the standings. The top five teams in the Atlantic Division have 10 or 11 wins. Who is going to separate themselves from the rest of the pack?
Miami appears to be in cruise control in the Coastal Division, but Virginia Tech is quickly approaching and Virginia is right on their heels. These next few weeks are going to be a fun ride in the ACC. Let’s dive in and see what happened this weekend.
No. 13 Notre Dame Responds by Sweeping No. 26 Wake Forest
After Notre Dame was surprisingly swept by Duke a week ago, the Fighting Irish bounced back by sweeping Wake Forest in South Bend to remain atop the ACC Atlantic Division standings.
John Michael Bertrand turned in yet another stellar performance on the mound Friday evening, tossing 6 innings, giving one two runs (one earned) while striking out four batters.
On Saturday, Notre Dame pounded out 19 hits on their way to a 21-3 victory to claim the series over the Demon Deacons. Carter Putz led the way at the plate with four hits, three runs, and two RBI. When this offense is clicking on all cylinders, they are going to be a tough out in any regional.
Wake Forest had a chance to salvage the series on Sunday, but late innings heroics by the Fighting Irish kept the sweep intact. Trailing 12-8 entering the bottom of the 7th, Notre Dame scored the final five runs of the game. In the bottom of the 9th inning with the game tied, Putz singled, bringing home Brooks Coetzee to complete the walkoff.
Notre Dame will host Boston College and Pittsburgh before heading to Coral Gables to end their season.
No. 22 Louisville Outlasts Tommy White, No. 29 North Carolina State
The Cardinals captured their 15th and 16th come from behind victories of the season, keeping pace with Notre Dame in the Atlantic Division.
Louisville scored 32 runs over the weekend, proving that they have one of the best offenses in the conference. The Wolfpack on the other hand, did not go away easily, belting 11 home runs, four of which came from the bat of freshman phenom, Tommy White.
After splitting the first two games of the series, the teams battled it out on Sunday until the final pitch. North Carolina State opened the game with five runs in the first inning, including three home runs. Louisville responded with four runs of their own in the home half of the inning.
White blistered his second home run of the afternoon in the 7th inning, giving the Wolfpack a 7-6 lead, but it was all Louisville from there.
Jack Payton hit a ground rule double with bases loaded, followed by a trio of RBI’s to give Louisville an 11-7 lead, which held as the final score.
The Wolfpack, who have lost two of their last three ACC series, get a week off before taking on rival North Carolina, in Raleigh.
No. 46 Clemson Rallies to Knock Off No. 14 Florida State
Although he did not pick up the win on Friday, Parker Messick was lights out yet again. After earning ACC Pitcher of the Week honors for his performance against Louisville, Messick backed that up with 7 strong innings against Clemson, allowing two earned runs and striking out eight batters.
Max Wagner hit a grand slam in the 8th inning that proved to be the game winner on Friday, 6-4 in favor of the Tigers.
The Seminoles evened the series on Saturday with a 4-3 victory, forcing a deciding game on Sunday. James Tibbs broke the tie in the 7th inning with a solo home run to give Florida State a one run lead, which would hold as the final score of the game.
Wagner, who homered on Friday for the Tigers, hit two more home runs on Saturday.
The rubber match on Sunday came down to the final innings, with the Tigers scoring three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to break the tie and take the series.
Although Clemson is just 6-11 in the ACC, the RPI continues to be impressed with what the Tigers are doing. They have now won two series in a row and have a showdown with the Cardinals in Louisville next weekend. Win that series and the Tigers will be in business.
No. 4 Miami Gets Back on Track, Takes Down No. 44 Pittsburgh
After winning four straight ACC series, the Panthers ran into one of the best teams in the country over the weekend, dropping two games to the Hurricanes in Coral Gables.
Pittsburgh gave Miami all they could handle on Friday night, taking the game into extra innings before falling 2-1. In the bottom of the 10th, CJ Kayfus singled to left field, scoring the winning run in walk-off fashion.
Both of the starting pitchers were dominant in their no-decision. Matt Gilbertson tossed eight innings of one run baseball, allowing just six hits and striking out seven Hurricanes. His counterpart, Carson Palmquist, set the tone for the Miami bullpen, keeping the Panthers off the scoreboard for the 5.1 innings he worked.
On Saturday, the Hurricanes scored early and often, dominating the second game 17-2. Karson Ligon (W, 5-2) kept the Panthers off balance all game long, going eight innings, allowing just one run.
The Panthers bounced back on Sunday to take the third game, 9-4. They will get to enjoy a weekend away from ACC play as they host North Carolina A&T next weekend.
No. 10 Virginia Sweeps North Carolina
The Cavaliers climbed all the way up to No. 4 in the country just a few weeks ago before dropping two consecutive series to Miami and Pittsburgh. Virginia made a statement this weekend, outsourcing the Tar Heels 25-12.
Virginia used the long ball on Friday night as they won the series opener, 4-2. Griff O’Ferrall, Alex Tappen, and Colin Tuft all homered to pace the Cavaliers offense.
On Saturday, Virginia was trailing 7-4 heading into the bottom of the 9th inning. It appeared that North Carolina would be forcing a rubber match on Sunday, but the Hoos had other plans.
Virginia was able to manufacture three runs, tying the game at seven in the home half of the 9th inning. Just a few batters later with the bases full of Cavaliers and Devon Ortiz at the plate, he launched a ball just inside the left field foul pole for a series clinching grand slam.
Virginia completed the sweep on Sunday, taking game three 10-3.
The Cavaliers will host Virginia Tech next weekend in one of the most anticipated series in all of college baseball. The Dish is going to be rocking.
No. 18 Virginia Tech Wins Fourth Straight ACC Series, Sweeps Boston College
The Hokies have put the rest of the nation on notice, winning their fourth straight conference series after being selected to finish sixth in the Coastal Division. This is your final warning, it’s time to get on board because this team is for real.
Virginia Tech, who has been known for their offensive prowess, took care of the Eagles by playing a different style of baseball this weekend. The Hokies scored 14 runs but only surrendered five in all three games. Sure, Boston College is no juggernaut at the plate, but Virginia Tech is proving they can win in a multitude of ways.
Friday and Saturday night starters, Griffin Green (W, 6-1) and Drue Hackenberg (W, 8-0), combined for 13.2 innings, allowing just one run while striking out 14 Panthers.
If Virginia Tech Skipper, John Svec, can get this type of production out of his pitching staff, coupled with the offensive attack we have become accustomed to seeing out of the Hokies, watch out. This is not a team you will want to see in your regional.
Duke Upsets No. 14 Georgia Tech in Atlanta
You will be hard pressed to find a series that saw as much firepower as Duke and Georgia Tech over the weekend. The teams combined for 64 runs, including 17 home runs in just three games.
In the series opener, the Blue Devils found themselves with a five run lead heading into the bottom of the 7th inning. The Yellow Jackets would tie the game and force extra innings.
In the bottom of the 10th, Drew Compton hit a base knock up the middle, scoring Andrew Jenkins to complete the comeback.
After taking the game on Saturday by a score of 8-4, the Blue Devils forced a rubber match on Sunday to decide the series. Ten home runs and 12 pitchers later, Duke completed the upset by taking down Georgia Tech, 15-14. Graham Pauley led the offensive for the Blue Devils with three home runs and eight RBI.
Time is running out, but can Duke be this year's North Carolina State?