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ACC Weekend Preview: March 15

Boston College 9-6 (0-3) at Pittsburgh 9-5 (0-3)

Friday, 3p: RHP John West (1-1, 3.98) vs Ryan Andrade (0-0, 6.35)

Saturday, 3p: LHP AJ Colarusso (1-1, 4.96) vs Jack Sokol (2-0, 3.00)

Sunday, 1p: TBA vs Ryan Reed (0-1, 9.00)

Heading into conference play last week, the Pitt Panthers were flying high after impressive performance over Cal and Oklahoma at the Las Vegas College Baseball Classic. Since then, however, they've lost four of five struggled to score runs. Against North Carolina, they saw their trio of starting pitchers keep the games close the entire series. Unfortunately, they were unable to steal any wins in Chapel Hill. During their second midweek game on Wednesday, they lost to winless Youngstown State in extra innings.

Boston College were swept at NC State last week. They got the bats going in the Sunday game that saw the Eagles lose 18-16, but they rebounded during the midweek to run rule Merrimack and Siena. With three straight games of double digit runs, Boston College will be hoping to continue their offensive explosion at Pitt this weekend.

CBC ACC Team Prediction

Monty: Pitt

Micah: Pitt

Grayson: Pitt

Jake: Pitt

Cole: Pitt

Nick: Pitt

DJ: Boston College

#9 Clemson 15-1 (0-0) at #4 Duke 14-3 (2-1)

Friday, 4p: RHP Austin Gordon (0-0, 6.75) vs LHP Jonathan Santucci (3-0, 2.29)

Saturday, 3p: LHP Tristan Smith (1-0, 2.89) vs LHP Andrew Healy (1-1, 5.63)

Sunday, 1p: RHP Aidan Knaak (1-0, 4.95) vs TBA

It's another week, another Top 10 showdown for the Duke Blue Devils as they host the #9 Clemson Tigers this weekend. After a hard earned series win over Wake Forest last weekend, Duke suffered a bit of a hangover as they lost to a 1-9 Rider team on Tuesday afternoon. In the rematch on Wednesday, however, the Blue Devils returned to form and hit the ball to all fields in the 18-4 win. They haven't announced a starting pitcher for Sunday, but expect them to continue to ride with freshman star Kyle Johnson, who has gotten the start over the last two Sundays.

Six members of the Duke lineup is hitting over .300 and senior catcher Alex Stone is starting to heat up in the middle of the order. They're tied with Virginia Tech atop the conference rankings with 41 home runs and their 3.36 team ERA is good for second. Penn transfer Ben Miller, who is hitting .449 with 9 doubles and 7 home runs, could be an x-factor in this matchup.

For Clemson, they've been outstanding all season outside of that early season stinker to Kennesaw State. Impressive freshman Nolan Nawrocki hasn't been in the lineup for a few games and I expect that may continue as rumors are rife that he may have a minor injury. Will Taylor is only hitting .195 and the Tigers will need his bat to be better if they want to win the conference and get to Omaha. His outfield mates, Cam Cannarella and Alden Mathes, are hitting over .400 and making up for the lack of consistency in Taylor's production.

On the pitching side, Austin Gordon makes his second consecutive weekend start after being behind schedule to start the year. It wasn't a great outing last time out, but expect him to get back on track very soon. Tristan Smith and Aidan Knaak have been great so far this year. It'll be interesting to see how Knaak handles ACC hitters. He passed his first test a few weeks ago when he stifled the Tigers' in-state rivals South Carolina, so it wouldn't be difficult to see him continue to be effective in ACC play.

CBC ACC Team Prediction

Monty: Duke

Micah: Duke

Grayson: Duke

Jake: Clemson

Cole: Clemson

Nick: Clemson

DJ: Duke

#5 Wake Forest 12-4 (1-2) at #18 Virginia 14-3 (1-2)

Friday, 4p: LHP Josh Hartle (3-1, 4.22) vs RHP Cullen McKay (1-0, 0.54)

Saturday, 4p: RHP Chase Burns (3-0, 2.31) vs LHP Evan Blanco (1-0, 3.00)

Sunday, 1p: TBA vs RHP Jay Woolfolk (1-0, 7.02)

Both Wake Forest and Virginia represented the ACC in Omaha last season. Now, one of them will start ACC play by losing back-to-back ACC series, as Virginia lost their series in Miami last week and the Deacs lost to Duke at home. Wake Forest will probably still go with Michael Massey on Sunday, but I'm curious if they're considering moving him back to the bullpen due to their recent struggles there. They lost

The pitching woes for Wake Forest were on full display in their 17-9 midweek loss to Coastal Carolina as they struggled to find the zone and ended up walking a lot of batters. They'll need to find some stability outside of reliever Will Ray if they hope to win this series against a very good UVA lineup. The Wake Forest x-factor for the series is going to be Nick Kurtz, who has gotten off to a slow start this year. Expect a breakout this weekend.

For Virginia, the lineup has been outstanding all year and they're hitting .356 as team, good for 2nd in the ACC behind Florida State. And that's with mediocre starts from stalwarts Griff O'Ferrall and Ethan Anderson. The problem with UVA has been their pitching. Jack O'Connor has moved to the bullpen and Jay Woolfolk has struggled with command at times. Cullen McKay and Evan Blanco have been good in starting roles, but the bullpen hasn't been able to consistently get outs. That doesn't bode well for this weekend.

CBC ACC Team Prediction

Monty: Wake Forest

Micah: Virginia

Grayson: Wake Forest

Jake: Virginia

Cole: Wake Forest

Nick: Wake Forest

DJ: Virginia

#20 NC State 12-3 (3-0) at Georgia Tech 12-4 (0-0)

Friday, 4p: RHP Sam Highfill (1-0, 3.86) vs TBA

Saturday, 4p: RHP Logan Whitaker (2-1, 4.42) vs Aeden Finateri (3-0, 2.45)

Sunday, 1p: LHP Dominic Fritton (1-0, 6.88) vs Logan McGuire (1-0, 4.50)

NC State was quietly taking care of business as they swept BC last weekend before they ran into the buzzsaw that is UNC Greensboro. Wolfpack pitching, which was once thought to be their strength, still hasn't settled. Highfill and Whitaker have been solid in starting roles, but Dom Fritton is yet to find his 2023 form. And in the bullpen, only freshman Jacob Dudan has shown consistency. Luckily for NC State, the offense is clicking behind the red hot hitting of Garrett Pennington, Alek Makarewicz, and Jacob Cozart.

Speaking of hot hitting, Georgia Tech has the most exciting freshman in the country in centerfielder Drew Burress. The Jackets start ACC play hoping to impress after a less than stellar showing against Georgia a few weeks ago. Terry Busse and Cam Hill have been unable to nail down the Friday night role, but Aeden Finateri has been great while Logan McGuire appears to have made the Sunday spot his own.

CBC ACC Team Prediction

Monty: NC State

Micah: NC State

Grayson: NC State

Jake: Georgia Tech

Cole: NC State

Nick: NC State

DJ: Georgia Tech

Notre Dame 11-5 (0-3) at #21 Florida State 15-0 (0-0)

Friday, 6p:  RHP Tobey McDonough (1-1, 5.62) vs RHP Cam Leiter (3-0, 2.70)

Saturday, 3p: RHP Matt Bedford (1-2, 5.28) vs LHP Jamie Arnold (4-0, 0.00)

Sunday, 1p: TBA vs RHP Connor Whittaker (2-0, 3.63)

Florida State is one of just two undefeated teams left in the country along with Texas A&M. The Seminoles passed their first big test of the season on Tuesday night when they beat Florida on the road. Cam Leiter and Jamie Arnold form what might be the best 1-2 in the conference behind Hartle and Burns of Wake Forest. Cam Smith and James Tibbs III lead a lethal offense and suddenly this Florida State team looks like it could be one of the ACC's best.

On the flipside, there's Notre Dame, who looks to be towards the bottom of the conference. The pitching just hasn't come together for them as they continue to try and find effective starting pitching. The lineup in underrated though and led by a dangerous group of hitters like Jack Penney, David Glancy, Tito Flores, Connor Hincks, and Simon Baumgardt. Their pitching must find a way to slow down this Florida State offense that leads the conference in batting average.

CBC ACC Team Prediction

Monty: Florida State

Micah: Florida State

Grayson: Florida State

Jake: Florida State

Cole: Florida State

Nick: Florida State

DJ: Florida State

Virginia Tech 12-3 (3-0) at Louisville 12-5 (0-0)

Friday, 7p: RHP Brett Renfrow (4-0, 1.88) vs LHP Sebastian Gongora (2-0, 4.93)

Saturday, 1p: RHP Wyatt Parliament (2-0, 3.72) vs LHP Evan Webster (2-0, 0.90)

Sunday, 12p: RHP Griffin Stieg (2-1, 3.57) vs RHP Patrick Forbes (0-0, 3.00)

The Hokies have been the biggest surprise during early ACC play as their starting pitching trio have been outstanding this year. They're tied for the conference lead in home runs with 41 and should continue to produce offensively even with the loss of star Garrett Michel to injury for the rest of the season. Brett Renfrow and Wyatt Parliament should continue to see success in the rotation which makes Virginia Tech a very dangerous team.

Louisville needed some midweek magic to beat Lipscomb twice and have yet to impress this year heading into ACC play. Carson Liggett pitched during the midweek and is yet to return to his 2023 form, but Evan Webster has been incredible on Saturdays for the Cardinals. Offensively, Louisville will continue to utilize a lot of different lineups and to employ an aggressive running game. The x-factor for the Cardinals this series might be Brandon Anderson, who leads the team in RBIs.

CBC ACC Team Prediction

Monty: Virginia Tech

Micah: Virginia Tech

Grayson: Virginia Tech

Jake: Virginia Tech

Cole: Virginia Tech

Nick: Virginia Tech

DJ: Virginia Tech

#14 North Carolina 16-2 (3-0) at Miami 9-7 (2-1)

Friday, 7p: LHP Folger Boaz (2-0, 2.11) vs RHP Gage Ziehl (0-1, 6.17)

Saturday, 6p:  RHP Jason DeCaro (1-0, 3.66) vs LHP Rafe Schlesinger (2-0, 4.64)

Sunday, 1p:  LHP Shea Sprague (0-1, 3.97) vs LHP Herick Hernandez (2-1, 2.91)

North Carolina has looked fantastic since their series loss to East Carolina and they'll take their undefeated ACC record on the road to Miami. The Tar Heels have found their footing with the weekend rotation after a little experimentation behind Folger Boaz and Jason DeCaro and Shea Sprague have looked great. Vance Honeycutt and Alberto Osuna are producing after down 2023 seasons and UNC is clicking.

Miami pulled off the upset thanks to some Mark Light magic last weekend against Virginia. They came back from a 4-0 deficit on Friday night and a 12-3 deficit on Saturday. They did lose to FAU during the midweek, however. The strength of this team has been with the starting pitching though JT Caruso and Nick Robert appear to have claimed the high leverage spots in the bullpen. Defense might be a weakness, but the middle of the order trio of Blake Cyr, freshman phenom Daniel Cuvet , and first baseman Jason Torres might be the most dangerous in the conference. They'll need all three guys to produce if they want to win this series.

CBC ACC Team Prediction

Monty: Miami

Micah: North Carolina

Grayson: Miami

Jake: North Carolina

Cole: North Carolina

Nick: North Carolina

DJ: North Carolina

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