ACC Tourney Preview: Bracket One

by - Correspondent -

Bracket One

#2 Clemson (37-19, 21-9)

The Tigers have won nine in a row heading in the tournament including 4 wins over ranked opponents College of Charleston and Miami. The Tigers finished the regular season 37-19 overall and 21-9 in the ACC to earn the #2 seed. The Tigers finished fourth in team batting (.309 BA) and fourth in team pitching (4.07 ERA) in the ACC.

The Tigers will start sophomore right hander Stephen Faris (6-3, 2.56 ERA) in game one against Virginia. The Richmond, VA native ranks fifth in the ACC in ERA and will be pitching against his home state team. He has made 10 relief appearances and seven starts for a total of 77.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 62 hits and 22 walks with 61 strikeouts, and is holding opponents to a .228 batting average. Faris did not pitch against the Cavaliers in the three-game series at Clemson in April. The Tigers will likely stick with the rotation of Faris, Josh Cribb, and Robert Rohrbaugh. If a fourth starter is need Head Coach Jack Leggett would likely turn to David Kopp or Kris Harvey.

Junior Kris Harvey and freshman Taylor Harbin lead the Tigers' bats. Harvey won the ACC's home run title going away with 21 on the year. Harvey will also be very vital to the Tigers this week on the mound. He will be called upon to return to form, as he has been roughed up in his last four starts. Harbin leads the team with a .362 batting average and 28 doubles. Harbin broke the freshman single season record for doubles, and he is five shy of Khalil Greene's club record of 33. Harbins ranks in the top five in three ACC categories (Hits 3rd, Doubles 1st, Total Bases 2nd).

The nine game winning streak is the longest winning streak Clemson has ever had heading into the ACC tournament. The Tigers are 6-3 against Miami (3-0), NC State (1-2), and Virginia (2-1).

#3 Miami (38-15-1, 19-10-1)

The Hurricanes head into the conference tournament losers of their last four ACC games (1 Virginia, 3 Clemson). The Hurricanes will look to bounce back strong in their first ever ACC Baseball tournament. Miami is expected to start Cesar Carillo in the opener against NC State. Carillo is a leading National Player of the Year candidate. Carillo is now 24-1 in his career at UM after suffering his first loss to Clemson last Thursday. The rest of the Hurricanes rotation has not been announced. The 'Canes pitches combined for 4.24 ERA and 440 strikeouts.

Miami was second in the ACC team batting (.328 BA) led by Jon Jay and ACC Player of the Year Ryan Braun. Both players hit over .400 on the year, the only team in the ACC to have two batters hit over .400. Jay hit .435 and Braun hit .412. Braun finished second in the ACC with 16 home runs. Eight of the Hurricanes starters hit over .300 on the year. The Hurricanes are also very dangerous on the base paths. Miami stole 89 bases this year led by Braun(21), Paco Figueroa (20), and Danny Figueroa (18).

Miami opens tourney play against the school it received its first ever ACC win against, NC State. The Hurricanes took two of three from Wolfpack and Virginia, but was swept by Clemson.

#6 NC State (39-15, 17-13)

The Wolfpack come into the ACC tournament fresh off of a series win over Florida State in Raleigh. The Wolfpack had three players named to the first team All-ACC on Monday. Closer Joey Devine, first baseman Aaron Bates, and catcher Jake Muyco were all selected to the first team. Bates had an outstanding year for the Wolfpack hitting .421. As a team, the Wolfpack hit .313, which was good for third in the conference.

The pitching staff combined for a 4.21 ERA, and had a solid .968 fielding percentage behind them. Gil Hobson and Andrew Brackman will start the first two games for the Wolfpack, but the order has not been announced. Earlier this season, on March 12, Hobson threw NC State's first no-hitter in 12 years when he shut down Maryland 11-1. The lone Terrapin run scored as a result of walks and an error. Hobson has made 15 appearances, all starts, and has worked a staff-high 79 2/3 innings. He has allowed 49 runs, 40 of them earned, on 80 hits. Brackman has made eight total appearances, including five starts. In 32 innings, he has allowed seven runs, five of them earned, on 19 hits. He has walked 14 and struck out 34. Brackman has made just one appearance against the Wolfpack's three opponents in Bracket 1, a two-inning appearance in relief April 24 vs. Clemson. He allowed a run on four hits, and struck out three without a walk.

Bates and Muyco lead the Pack's attack offensively. Bates has 10 home runs and 59 RBIs to go along with his .421 average. Muyco is hitting .339 with 13 doubles. Matt Camp is one of the most dangerous lead-off men in the ACC. Camp has 15 stolen bases on 17 attempts.

The Wolfpack was 5-4 against its Bracket One opponents. Miami and Georgia Tech were the only series NC State did not win in conference play.

#7 Virginia (38-17, 14-14)

Virginia, led by second-year Head Coach Brian O'Connor, enters the ACC Tournament winners of six games in a row, including a three-game sweep over Duke by a combined score of 24-7 this past weekend. The Cavaliers have yet to play a neutral-site game, as they are 31-5 at home and 7-12 on opponents' home fields in 2005.

Virginia is hitting .291 as a team with a .371 on-base percentage, and is led by All-America candidate and infielder Ryan Zimmerman. The Virginia Beach, VA native is hitting .399 with 17 doubles, four triples, six homers, and 55 RBIs. He has walked 28 times and struck out just 13 times. He also sports a .474 on-base percentage, 15 steals, 29 multi-hit games, and a solid .947 fielding percentage. Freshman first-baseman Sean Doolittle leads the team with 11 homers. Doolittle is riding a 14-game hitting streak, while Brandon Guyer is on a 15-game hitting streak.
The Cavaliers use speed and defense to their advantage. The team has stolen 70 bases and has been hit by a pitch 70 times. They are atop the ACC in fielding percentage at .975, as they have committed only 52 errors in 55 games. Catcher Scott Headd has allowed only 19 stolen bases in 40 attempts, as Virginia has only allowed 23 in 53 attempts.

The pitching staff has an ACC-best 2.74 ERA and .229 opponents' batting average. Among their 38 victories this year are a school-record 11 shutouts. They have threw just 16 wild pitches and walked 141 batters against 374 strikeouts in 487.0 innings pitched, meaning they have an excellent 2.6 walks per nine innings pitched mark. Lefty closer Casey Lambert has 13 saves and a 3.11 ERA in 24 relief appearances. Doolittle, another lefty, has a 2-0 record and 0.87 ERA in 18 appearances. He has allowed only 21 hits and 11 walks with 58 strikeouts in 41.1 innings pitched.

Virginia will start senior righthander Jeff Kamrath (8-4, 2.28 ERA) on Wednesday versus Clemson. Kamrath defeated Clemson earlier this season as the Cavaliers managed to win one of three versus Clemson. The Cavaliers are 3-6 versus Miami(1-2), Clemson (1-2), and NC State (1-2).

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