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ACC Weekend Preview: May 12th

North Carolina State (31-16) at North Carolina (31-17)

In a pivotal rivalry matchup between two ACC bubble teams, it was North Carolina who took the opening game on Thursday night, following a perfectly executed Colby Wilkerson walk-off suicide squeeze bunt. Dominic Fritton pitched 4 innings in relief for the Wolfpack and won’t start on Saturday, meaning former Friday night starter Sam Highfill will almost certainly get the nod in the finale. As for UNC, Dalton Pence threw 2.1 innings of relief and won’t be available to start on Saturday.

After dropping the series opener last night, NC State really needs to win these next two games against UNC to improve their postseason resume. They’re in a similar situation to last year, where they missed out on the NCAA Tournament.

Thursday, 7 pm: North Carolina wins, 9-8 over NC State.

Friday, 7 pm (ACCN): Matt Willadsen vs TBA

Saturday, 2 pm: TBA vs Jake Knapp

#16 Clemson (32-17) at Virginia Tech (29-16)

Clemson might just be the hottest team in the country, after winning 15 of their last 18 games and winning 5 straight ACC series. The Tiger pitching staff will face a tough test against a premier Hokie lineup, but Virginia Tech’s pitching leaves much to be desired.

Clemson will be looking to remain hot in hopes of hosting an NCAA Regional, while the Hokies are hoping to solidify their resume for better seeding in the NCAA Tournament. Virginia Tech hasn’t announced any of their starting pitchers for the weekend, but Griffin Green and Drue Hackenberg remain their most experienced arms.

Friday, 4 pm: Ethan Darden vs TBA

Saturday, 7 pm (ACCN): Austin Gordon vs TBA

Sunday, 3 pm (ACCN): Caden Grice vs TBA

Georgia Tech (28-20) at #12 Duke (33-14)

Speaking of hot, Duke isn’t too far behind Clemson in terms of streaking teams. The Blue Devils have won 16 of their last 20 and sit atop the ACC Coastal division. Both Duke and Georgia Tech dropped midweek games, but this is an important series for both teams.

Georgia Tech may not be the most prominent ACC team sitting on the NCAA Tournament bubble, but they have the potential to make the postseason with big performances over the next two weekends. Duke, on the other hand, is almost a lock for an NCAA Regional and will be hoping to improve their resumes to host.

Friday, 6 pm: Luke Schmolke vs Alex Gow

Saturday, 1 pm (ACCN): Aeden Finateri vs Andrew Healy

Sunday, 1 pm: Jackson Finley vs Ryan Higgins

#1 Wake Forest (40-7) at Florida State (19-28)

The ACC’s best travels south to take on the ACC’s worst. Florida State is one of just two ACC schools with virtually no chance of making the NCAA Tournament, while Wake Forest is well on their way to claiming a Top 2 National Seed. Rhett Lowder is the odds-on favorite to win his second consecutive ACC Pitcher of the Year, though any of the three starters in the Demon Deacon rotation would be worthy of the award. Sean Sullivan has a minor injury, which is why Josh Hartle has been moved up to pitch on Saturday. Sullivan could still pitch Sunday or take the weekend off.

Friday, 6 pm: Rhett Lowder vs Jackson Baumeister

Saturday 3 pm: Josh Hartle vs Conner Whittaker

Sunday, 1 pm: TBA vs TBA

Louisville (29-19) at #21 Virginia (38-11)

Something has to give. Both these teams at one time looked set to host Regionals and now, a month later, are scuffling to win games. Louisville is 4-12 over their last 16 games and in danger of missing both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. In fact, if the season ended today, they would indeed miss the ACC Tournament. The ‘Hoos started conference play with an 11-4 record, but have gone 2-7 since, dropping three straight ACC series in that time frame.

Virginia is still ranked in the Top 25 and look good for the postseason field in general, but a strong regular season finish could actually get them back in the conversation to host a Regional. Louisville, meanwhile, needs to win their next two series to improve their resume. They’ll still be on the bubble, but as of right now, they’re set to miss the NCAA Tournament. UVA is shaking up its weekend rotation, sliding in midweek starter Connelly Early for Saturday’s showdown. Jack O’Connor and the slumping Brian Edgington both pitched on Tuesday against Radford, but either will be in line to start in Sunday’s finale.

Friday, 6 pm: Ryan Hawks vs Nick Parker

Saturday, 4 pm (ACCN): Carson Liggett vs Connelly Early

Sunday, 1 pm: TBA vs TBA

#11 Miami (32-16) at Pittsburgh (21-25)

Pittsburgh is out of the running for an NCAA Tournament bid, but they’re hopeful they can still qualify for the ACC Tournament in Durham. The Hurricanes are chasing Duke for the ACC Coastal division title, while also hoping to solidify their Regional host aspirations. On paper, this looks like an easy series for Miami, but Pitt has been difficult for several ACC opponents this year.

Pitt is coming off a difficult loss in the Backyard Brawl to #8 West Virginia in the midweek, and they haven’t yet announced their starting pitchers. Expect Jack Sokol to take the mound for the Panthers on Friday night, followed by Logan Evans on Saturday. Evans is coming off back-to-back quality starts against California and Georgia Tech. Miami will likely go with ace Gage Ziehl on Friday night, who is coming off 8 shutout innings and 12 strikeouts against Presbyterian in his last outing. Alejandro Rosario will likely pitch for the Hurricanes on Saturday.

Friday, 7 pm: TBA vs TBA

Saturday, 3 pm: TBA vs TBA

Sunday, 12 pm (ACCN): TBA vs TBA

Akron (18-30) at Notre Dame (26-19)

Notre Dame is another ACC bubble team, and they’ll take a break from ACC play to host a mediocre Akron squad. Winning, or even sweeping this series, doesn’t do much to improve their chances, but losing could be catastrophic. The Irish need a sweep, ahead of next weekend’s finale against #23 Boston College on the road.

Friday, 7 pm: Sammy Tortorella vs Aidan Tyrell

Saturday, 3 pm: Brett Dietrich vs Blake Hely

Sunday, 1 pm: Joe Roth vs TBA

Villanova (13-32) at #23 Boston College (30-16)

Boston College won just 5 ACC games a year ago, but they are now poised to potentially host an NCAA Regional. They’ll get a break from conference play this weekend, with a short two-game series against Villanova, before hosting Notre Dame in the regular season finale next week.

Saturday, 6 pm: TBA vs TBA

Sunday, 1 pm: TBA vs TBA

ACC Atlantic Standings

1. Wake Forest 18-5

2. Clemson 14-10

3. Boston College 14-13

4. Notre Dame 14-13

5. NC State 10-14

6. Louisville 9-15

7. Florida State 6-18

ACC Coastal Standings

1. Duke 14-9

2. Miami 14-10

3. Virginia 13-11

4. North Carolina 12-11

5. Virginia Tech 11-12

6. Georgia Tech 10-14

7. Pittsburgh 9-13


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