Wednesday, May 25, 2011

acc tournament semi-preview

UVA baseball didn't exactly roll into the ACC tournament on a wave of momentum.  They do happen to be the #1 seed, and if you like that, thank (ick) the Hokies for taking one of three from Georgia Tech.  UVA did itself no favors in a horrendously weak hitting exposition against the Heels last weekend, getting themselves....swept.  Never thought I'd say that as long as Danny Hultzen was still on the team.

Not the end of the world, though.  The pitching is still as good as it ever was.  Carolina didn't get much hitting in, either, a five-run inning against Cody Winiarski and Kyle Crockett last Thursday being the scariest thing that happened all weekend.  As long as you have pitching, you're in every game.  So the ACC tournament pods shook out like so:

1. Virginia
4. North Carolina
5. Miami
8. Wake Forest

2. Florida State
3. Georgia Tech
6. Clemson
7. NC State

Now for the good news: the Hoos got the tourney off on the right foot.  Simply winning would've been cool and all, but the ACC tourney has a mercy rule (there's other games going on, chop chop, get a move on) and the Hoos took advantage.  Wake Forest, whom UVA hasn't seen on the diamond for a couple years, got smacked to the tune of 13-1 in just seven innings.  And really, six for the bats, because UVA was the home team.  So the bats are back.  Tyler Wilson got the start and pitched a gem, naturally.  Struck out 12 in 6.1 innings.  Nasty as ever.

The other result of the day - you'll like this, too, promise - was Clemson blanking Georgia Tech, 9-0.  Losing the first game of the tourney means you need to win your next two games and hope the team that just beat you wins neither of theirs.  So GT has a major uphill climb to win their side of the pool.

Friday, UVA plays Miami, and throws Will Roberts against right-hander Eric Whaley.  Last time against the Canes, Roberts gave up three hits to Miami in seven innings, allowed two runs, one earned, and struck out five.  Whaley was just as strong, with four hits, two runs, none earned, and five strikeouts in six innings on Saturday.  That was right after the exam break so hopefully that's why the bats were like that.  They always are.  This is the game that makes me most nervous; Roberts is a solid pitcher but obviously he's more hittable than the guy that might just be the #1 overall pick in the draft.

The final game of pool play in the tournament is the UNC game on Saturday at 7 PM; RoboDanny pitches against UNC's Kent Emanuel.  This was the same matchup as last Friday.  Emanuel is a lefty, same as Danny, and he held UVA to one lousy run in six innings.  Again, hopefully lingering exam break cobwebs.

The championship game, which hopefully UVA will be in, will be Sunday.  If we get that far, expect Cody Winiarski to start.  Unless a situation arises in which a CG appearance is clinched before Saturday's game, which can happen if UVA beats Miami and UNC loses both their first games, then you'll probably see Cody go on Saturday and Danny held back for the championship.

I'd be remiss, too, if I failed to mention all the Hoos on the all-ACC squads: John Hicks, Steven Proscia, David Coleman, Danny Hultzen, and Branden Kline on the first team and John Barr and Tyler Wilson on the second.  CyberDanny is the pitcher of the year, obviously, and Brian O'Connor is the COY, both for the second year in a row.

Programming note: Tomorrow I preview for you the lacrosse game against Denver, and then I'm off until either Monday or Tuesday.  Happy start of summer, and try not to get schwacked by a tornado.  They seem to be all over.  No tornadoes here, but the manhole on my street outside got blown out of its socket somehow by all the water raging through the sewer system and took a huge chunk of the street with it.  Never seen that before.

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