ACC Baseball Tournament Primer


The 2014 ACC Baseball tournament begins on May 20th and continues until the 25th in Greensboro’s Newbridge Bank Park. The ACC’s best baseball squads will compete in “The Boro” for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and a conference trophy. Last season, UNC won the tournament over Virginia with a 4-1 win in Durham.

This year’s Diamond Heels made the tournament… well, sort of. The seventh seeded Tar Heels still have to play an elimination game against 10th seeded N.C. State to enter play-in Pool B against the likes of Florida State, Virginia and Maryland. Tuesday’s elimination game between UNC and State will begin at 11 a.m. 

In order to get you ready for the start of the tournament’s action on Tuesday morning, here is everything you need to know about the ACC Baseball tournament. 


10 teams made the trek to Greensboro, but two will be sent home after the tournaments first day. UNC and N.C. State will battle in Pool B’s play-in game, while Georgia Tech and Wake Forest will face off in Pool A’s play-in game. Those two games will start on Tuesday at 11 and 3, respectively. 

After that, it gets a bit tricky. There will be three games a day in Greensboro, at 11, 3 and 7. The four teams in each Pool will play each other each once, and the winner of each pool will play each other in the ACC Championship game on May 25th at 1:00 P.M.

Pool A consists of No. 1 Miami, No. 4 Duke, No. 5 Clemson and No. 8 Wake Forest vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech Winner. Pool B features No. 2 Florida State, No. 3 Virginia, No. 6 Maryland and No. 7 North Carolina vs. No. 10 NC State Winner. 

You can see the full brackets and schedules here at the ACC’s official website. 


All Pool play games will be broadcast on RSN and ESPN3. The championship game Sunday will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 3:00 P.M.

For coverage of the Tar Heels in the tournament, you can tune in to 97.9 WCHL in Chapel Hill to listen to the game or online at this link.


Any of the top three teams- Miami, Florida State or Virginia- could come out of the weekend as the ACC’s conference champion. Each of those three teams have gotten to the esteemed 40 win mark, a mark of a contender in college baseball.

FSU is led offensively by sophomore outfielder DJ Stewart. He has hit .362 while starting all 48 games this season for the Seminoles. He also leads the team in homeruns with seven. Other backs to watch out for on FSU’s potent roster are Jose Brizuela and John Nogowski. That trio of Seminoles, including Steward, all have hit over .300 on the season and  have driven in more than 37 runs a piece.

On the mound, FSU has three talented arms that will all be put to use over the course of the tournament. Gage Smith boasts a 2.20 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 57.1 innings of work. Luke Weaver and Mike Compton have combined for a 15-4 record on the season. And Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston is the Nole’s not so secret weapon out of the bullpen with a 1.29 ERA in 21 appearances.

Miami has just one player batting over .300 on the year in Tyler Palmer. He has 62 hits on the season, good for second on the team. The Hurricanes power comes from Zach Collins, who is hitting .285 on the season with 8 homeruns.

The Hurricanes boast one of the top starters in the country in Chris Diaz, who is 9-0 with a 2.32 ERA in 14 starts this season. Bryan Garcia leads a lights out bullpen with 15 saves.

Virginia is led by Joe McCarty in the field and starter Nathan Kirby on the hill. McCarthy is hitting .308/.419/.475 with 94 total bases on the year, good for first on the team. Kirby has been borderline unhittable this season with a 1.58 ERA and 8-1 win loss record. He leads a Virginia pitching staff with six pitchers whose ERA is in the ones while appearing in a minimum of nine games.

What are UNC’s chances?

The Diamond Heels have their work cut out for them if they want to repeat at champions in the ACC this year. The Tar Heels first have to get by N.C. State, a team that the Tar Heels beat in that marathon game last season. That marathon game is refering to UNC’s 2-1 victory in 18 (!!!) innings over N.C. State on Saturday May 25th, 2013 in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Fans are hoping that this year’s game can provide a worthy encore to that 18 inning thriller.

If the Tar Heels can get past State, I think they have as good a shot as anyone to advance to the championship game. One drawback of having to play your way in via the play-in game is that you lose one more game’s worth of pitching. Using up your ace on a Tuesday morning also means that he might be available to go in the championship game on Sunday.

UNC has had a season strung together by disappointing performances and gritty victories to this point. But in a five game season, a lot can happen and the best team’s don’t always win. The ball can bounce one team’s way a couple times, and before you know it, you could break off a five game win streak. If the Tar Heel bats can get hot for a five game stretch, the pitching is good enough to carry the Tar Heels to a repeat victory in the ACC’s postseason tourney.