Welcome to this week’s edition of Lineup Card. I was looking through some results from the last few weeks and came to a troubling conclusion: The SEC has absolutely owned the ACC this year in baseball. Let me explain
1. SEC > ACC
Back in football season, all of us were confident after the ACC’s successes against the SEC. As usual, our success continued in basketball. Now as we transition over to baseball season, it doesn’t look good for the conference. The SEC is 9-3 against the ACC this season and could improve to 10-3 if USC beats Clemson tonight. There’s not really an explanation other than the fact that some teams (I’m looking at you FSU and Miami) are underachieving.
2. Palmetto State Fight
Clemson and South Carolina fought this weekend in their yearly battle for the Palmetto state. Game 1 was an easy win for the Tigers. They scored 8 runs in the first 3 innings and the Gamecocks wouldn’t answer until the 4th inning. A final score of 11-4 left Clemson fans feeling confident about the weekend. Game 2 started the same way, but Clemson’s 1 run in the first inning turned out to be their only run as they lost 4-1. Game 3 has been postponed to tonight and will be on SEC Network+. This would be a huge win for Clemson if could take the series from their in-state rival. If they want to get back in the polls, the would surely help.
3. Cavs stay perfect
Another week has gone by and Virginia remains undefeated. They hosted a tournament down in Myrtle Beach this weekend and cruised through all 3 games. Next week will be pretty easy as well facing VMI and Pittsburgh. I don’t see them losing a game until March 20th when Florida State comes to town. Even then, who’s to say UVA won’t sweep them too?
4. Low Scoring Games
7 ACC teams currently post ERA’s below 3. Even better, UVA and Duke post ERA’s below 2. This is an interesting stat since one of those teams, Pitt, owns a losing record. For the most part, if you keep teams from scoring, you’ll win games. Pitt has done just that, but hasn’t scored enough themselves to win. Other than Pitt, the other teams (UVA, Duke, Clemson, VT, Louisville, and ND) all post winning records.
5. Sophomores lead in Average
A couple of second year players currently lead the conference in batting average. Cavan Biggio (ND) and Preston Palmeiro (NCSU) both start the season above the .500 mark. The bigger story is how these averages have effected their teams. There’s no doubt that Biggio’s average has played a huge roll in the Irish improving to 10-1, but NC State is stuck at 5-3. On paper, Palmeiro has more talent around him, but Biggio’s Irish have been better as of late. I’m not completely sold on Notre Dame yet since their schedule has been a little weak, but 10-1 is still impressive.
6. More weather problems
More snow and rain messed with the ACC schedule this week. A total of 10 games were either postponed or canceled due to weather against the teams’ best efforts. NC State moved an entire weekend tournament to Savannah, GA only to have it rained out down there as well. Virginia was forced to postpone their weekday game, but played their weekend games after moving them to Myrtle Beach, SC. On a personal note, I love how easy it is for teams to reschedule games on the fly.
7. FSU bounces back
The Seminoles returned to form this week going 4-0. A win over Jacksonville and a sweep of UNCW may have given the team its confidence back. DJ Stewart added a few more home runs as FSU put up 28 runs in their 4 games this week. When Florida State plays like this, they look unbeatable. When they play like they did the week before, they aren’t tough to beat at all. I’m not completely sure which team is the real one yet.
8. ACC schedule opens this weekend
Of course this coming weekend will be an exciting one as conference play begins. Notable matchups include Duke traveling to UNC and Louisville hosting Miami. You should be able to find at least a few games on ESPN3 and I would encourage you to watch. As I’ve said many times before, ACC baseball is always fun to watch.
9. Here are my ACC Power Rankings
Georgia Tech (7-3)
Notre Dame (10-1)
North Carolina (6-3)
NC State (5-3)
Wake Forest (6-4)
Virginia Tech (5-5)
Boston College (3-6)