It does not get much better than baseball in the ACC this time of the year. Three of the six series last weekend included a rubber match, four of the six series included both teams ranked in the top 50, and the slate next weekend contains many of the top teams in the country matched up against each other.
With three games left on the schedule, this league is far from over.
No. 3 Virginia Tech Knocks Off No. 13 Louisville
In one of the most anticipated series of the entire weekend schedule, two of the nation's top offenses met in Blacksburg in a — you guessed it — low scoring affair. Just what we all expected.
In the series opener, Louisville used their late inning heroics to knock off Virginia Tech 8-1. Jared Poland (W, 4-3) and Tate Kuehner (S, 2) kept the Hokies bats quiet for the majority of the night, while Dalton Rushing homered for his fourth consecutive game.
The Cardinals had two opportunities to win the series on Saturday and Sunday but they were unable to overcome the performance of the Virginia Tech pitching staff.
The Saturday and Sunday starters for the Hokies combined for 10.1 innings, allowing just 2 runs while striking out 12 batters, winning 4-3 on Saturday and 6-4 on Sunday.
Gavin Cross led the way at the plate for Virginia Tech with 2 home runs and 5 RBI over the weekend. Rushing also hit two home runs for the visiting Cardinals.
Both teams are poised to make a postseason run but have much different paths to end the season. Virginia Tech hosts Duke while Louisville hosts Virginia.
No. 17 Florida State Gets Much Needed Series Win Over No. 6 Miami
After going 2-3 in their previous five conference series, the Seminoles picked up a resume-building series win over their rival in Tallahassee.
The Hurricanes roughed up Parker Messick, the Seminoles ace, for 5 runs in 5.1 innings on Saturday to begin the series. His counterpart, Carson Palmquist (W, 8-3) shut down the Florida State offense. Palmquist gave up 2 runs (0 earned) in 6 innings to pick up the victory for the Hurricanes.
The two remaining games of the series belonged to Florida State, who won both games by a score of 6-4.
The Seminoles offense, who has struggled to find their identity at times this season, pounded out 10 hits in each of the two final games. They were also able to take advantage of a few Miami errors in game two, scoring three unearned runs.
In the rubber match, Jaime Ferrer put the offense on his shoulders, chipping in with 2 hits, 3 RBI, and one home run.
With a strong finish to the season and a few wins in the ACC Tournament, the Seminoles could enter the conversation as a potential host in the NCAA Tournament. They will have to take care of the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill next weekend first.
No. 9 Virginia Spoils Upset Bid By No. 38 Clemson
In a series that went late into the night hours on Sunday, the Cavaliers got back to the win column after dropping the series a week ago to their rival, Virginia Tech.
On Friday night, Clemson took a commanding 4-0 lead after two innings, but Virginia’s offense had plenty of firepower to respond, putting up a 7-spot in the 4th inning on their way to a 11-6 victory.
Due to weather in the area, the teams got together to finish the final two games on Sunday. In the first game on Sunday, the Tigers pounded out three home runs for the second consecutive game to even the series, winning 8-2.
Clemson had ample opportunity to win the rubber match, but they could not find a timely hit, leaving 10 runners on base.
Jake Gelof hit his 18th home run of the season on his way to a 6-3 victory for the Cavaliers to take the series. For the weekend, Gelof recorded 5 hits, 3 RBI, and 5 runs scored.
Virginia travels to Louisville to finish the season in a series that will have major ACC Tournament seeding implications. These two commonly meet at the end of the season and Coach McDonnell and Coach O’Connor are sure to have their teams ready to play one heck of a series.
No. 10 Notre Dame Reclaims Marginal Lead in Atlantic Division
The Fighting Irish took care of business this weekend against a Pittsburgh team that was hungry for quality wins to make their case to earn a bid in the NCAA Tournament.
Starting pitching was the deciding factor in the series as the Panthers were only able to manage 3 earned runs against Notre Dame’s starters in 16 innings of work. John Michael Bertrand (W, 7-1) set the tone in the first game, going 7 strong innings while striking out 9.
Pittsburgh has been able to rely on Matt Gilberston to anchor the pitching staff all season long, but the Fighting Irish roughed him up for his worst outing of the year. Gilbertson allowed 7 runs (6 earned) in 6 innings.
Brooks Cotzee was dominant at the plate, yet again, totaling 5 hits, 3 RBI, and a home run for the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame recaptured a small lead in the Atlantic Division over Louisville, but this division race is far from over. Notre Dame travels to Coral Gables for a date with Miami starting Thursday night.
No. 33 North Carolina State Cruises to Series Win Over Duke
After losing two straight ACC series, the Wolfpack responded with a series win over the Blue Devils in Durham, belting out 30 hits over the weekend.
In the opener on Friday night, North Carolina State was trailing 3-1 heading into the 7th inning when they put up a four-spot to take a 5-3 lead, which would hold as the final score. With the bases loaded, Jacob Cozart belted a double, scoring two runs to tie the game.
Devonte Brown and LuJames Groover each picked up an RBI to keep the scoring going, and they did not slow down on Saturday.
With an opportunity to win the series the following day, North Carolina State broke out the bats, recording 13 hits, including home runs by Brown and Groover, on their way to a 13-5 victory.
Matt Willadsen (W, 4-3) tossed a gem for the Wolfpack, allowing just 2 earned runs in 7 innings.
The Blue Devils won the final game of the series, 7-4.
North Carolina State, who holds a slim lead over Wake Forest for fourth place in the Atlantic Division, will host the Demon Deacons this weekend.
No. 47 North Carolina Upsets No. 26 Wake Forest
In another episode of “Who are the Tar Heels?” North Carolina took care of business this weekend against Wake Forest in a series that was much needed for both programs.
The Tar Heels flexed their versatility, winning the first game by scoring 3 runs, then followed that up by scoring 11 on Saturday.
The pitchers duel on Friday saw Rhett Lowder pickup his third loss of the season, although he only surrendered 3 runs in 7 innings. Trailing 2-1 in the 6th inning, Vance Honeycutt hit a two-run home run off Lowder, giving North Carolina a 3-2 lead, which was ultimately the game winner.
On Saturday, the Tar Heels pounded out 11 hits, led by Danny Serretti with 3 hits, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored.
Brandon Shaeffer (W, 5-2) turned in another solid performance for North Carolina, giving up 3 runs in 7.1 innings of work.
The Tar Heels have a big series to close out the season, hosting Florida State starting Thursday. At 12-15 in conference play, a series win would give North Carolina plenty of momentum heading into the ACC Tournament.