There has never been this much excitement in Blacksburg during baseball season in the history of the Virginia Tech program. The energy that John Szefc has injected into that fanbase is what college baseball is all about.
Many of the ACC teams took a break from conference play this weekend, but we still saw plenty of movement in the standings with the four series that were played.
No. 14 Virginia Tech Takes Series from No. 6 Virginia in Charlottesville
If someone told you that one of the most anticipated series in the entire ACC slate this season would be Virginia hosting Virginia Tech, you would have thought they were crazy, yet that is where this season has taken us.
The Hokies, one of the most surprising storylines in all of college baseball, outlasted Virginia for their first series win in Charlottesville in school history.
For Virginia Tech fans, this is their most encouraging series of the season, due to stepping away from their comfort zone to win the series. The Hokies have used a very high octane offense, outscoring their opponents for most of the season. This weekend, it was all about pitching.
Griffin Green (W, 7-1) was lights out on Friday, shutting down the Cavaliers offense for 7 innings, allowing just 7 hits and one run on his way to a 5-2 victory for the Hokies.
Virginia bounced back to even the series on Saturday, but the Hokies proved to be too much in the rubber match.
After trailing 4-0 after two innings on Sunday, Virginia Tech rallied, scoring 7 unanswered runs to claim the game and series, 7-5.
The Cavaliers have now lost three of their last four ACC series after winning their first four. The sky is not falling, but the pressure is on Head Coach Brian O’Connor as Virginia closes the season with Clemson and a series at Louisville.
No. 16 Louisville Sweeps No. 41 Clemson
After being swept by Florida State in Tallahassee, the Cardinals have bounced back, winning consecutive series at home against North Carolina State and Clemson.
Dan McDonnell has his offense rolling, scoring 35 runs on 35 hits against the Tigers pitching staff over the weekend. The Cardinals seem to be clicking on all cylinders at the plate, but their bullpen is to blame for any hair loss by the Louisville coaching staff.
Jared Poland has settled in as the Friday night starter, tossing 8 shutout innings, striking out 13 batters while not surrendering a run against Clemson. Beyond that, the pitching staff has been a major question mark.
After taking the game on Saturday, the Cardinals had the opportunity to sweep the Tigers on Sunday. The offense was spectacular yet again, but the bullpen struggles continued until the final pitch.
Leading 18-9 heading into the 9th inning, it took three Cardinals pitchers to get three outs, giving up 6 runs, before winning 18-5.
Although Clemson lost all three games, they did not lay down, scoring 10 runs in the 9th inning in the three games combined. I do not know if that says more for the Louisville bullpen or resiliency of the Tigers offense.
It does not get any easier for the Cardinals, who still have three ACC series remaining against Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and Virginia.
No. 31 Georgia Tech Stuns No. 2 Miami
The Hurricanes were on the wrong side of two close games on Friday and Saturday before salvaging the series with a win on Sunday.
Georgia Tech starter, John Medich (W, 4-3) was lights out on Friday night, keeping the Miami offense quiet for the majority of the evening. Medich allowed just 1 run in 6 innings of work before the bullpen closed out the game with three shutout innings, winning 3-1 to begin the series.
On Saturday, the Yellow Jackets offense exploded for 13 hits and 7 runs on their way to a 7-5 win, taking the series over the Hurricanes. Kevin Parada hit his second home run of the series, and 23rd of the season,
Danny Hall’s club has been a mystery this season, but they have now won three of their last four ACC series with just Clemson and Pittsburgh left on the conference slate. The Yellow Jackets dug too deep of a hole to contend for the Coastal Division, but they are now playing for seeding and a tournament berth.
No. 11 Notre Dame Survives Scare Against Boston College
After dropping the first game of the series against the Eagles, Notre Dame bounced back in convincing fashion, scoring 27 runs in two games, to take the series.
The Fighting Irish came alive, pounding out 30 hits, five of which were home runs, on Saturday and Sunday against a struggling Boston College team.
Jack Brannigan had a career day on Saturday with 4 hits, one of which was a home run, 3 RBI, and 3 runs.
Although Notre Dame won the series, Link Jarrett could not be happy with the performance of his starting rotation. His starting pitchers were able to record just 11.1 innings over the weekend, allowing 11 runs to a Boston College team that is 4-20 in conference play.
The Fighting Irish fell one game behind Louisville in the Atlantic Division. Notre Dame will finish the season hosting Pittsburgh before traveling to Coral Gables on the final weekend. Notre Dame will play a maximum of 27 ACC games due to three cancellations earlier in the season.
North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and Florida State all stepped away from conference play, winning their series as they prepare for the final few weeks of ACC play. Duke split a series with High Point as North Carolina had the weekend off.