By Johnny Falduto
With the regular season officially in the books, Clemson shifts its attention to the ACC Championship tournament, which is set to begin Tuesday and runs through Sunday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, North Carolina.
ACC Championship Format
The Championship features the top 12 teams in the conference divided into four pools of three teams each. Each team in the four pools will play one game against each of the other two teams in its pool Tuesday through Friday, and the four teams with the best records within their pool will advance to the single-elimination semifinals on Saturday, with the Championship Game following on Sunday.
If teams are tied within their pool at the completion of pool play on Friday, the team with the highest seed in that respective pool will advance to Saturday’s semifinals.
ACC Championship Seeds, Pools
Pool A: #1 Wake Forest (Atlantic Division champs), #8 Notre Dame, #12 Pitt
Pool B: #2 Virginia (Coastal Division champs), #7 North Carolina, #11 Georgia Tech
Pool C: #3 Clemson, #6 Boston College, #10 Virginia Tech
Pool D: #4 Miami, #5 Duke, #9 NC State
Clemson Schedule, TV, Radio Info
No. 3 Clemson vs No. 10 Virginia Tech, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Clemson vs No. 6 Boston College, Friday, 11 a.m.
Clemson is the visiting team and will be in the first-base dugout Wednesday against Virginia Tech, and the home team in the third-base dugout on Friday against Boston College.
ACC Network will carry all pool play games Tuesday-Friday as well as the semifinals on Saturday, and Sunday’s championship will be nationally televised on ESPN2 at noon. All Clemson games will also air live on 105.5/97.5 in the Upstate, right here on theroarfm.com, and on The ROAR app.
Clemson-Virginia Tech Preview
Head Coach Erik Bakich and the Tigers (39-17 overall, 20-10 ACC) come into ACC Championship play hotter than any team in college baseball after finishing the final month and a half of the regular season 18-2 in ACC play and 23-4 overall en route to seven straight ACC series’ wins.
Two-way superstar Caden Grice (7-1, 3.18 ERA, 82 K’s, .296, 58 hits, 14 HR) has been an integral part of the team’s late-season success while newly-named ACC Freshman of the Year Cam Cannarella (.393 AVG, 88 hits, 39 RBI’s) has quickly developed into one of the most consistent hitters in all of college baseball at the top of the Tigers’ lineup.
Another one of the many bright spots in the Tigers’ lineup offensively is Billy Amick, who enters ACC Championship play fresh off of a second consecutive ACC Player of the Week honor after posting a .533 AVG, two doubles, 10 RBI’s and a homer over his previous four games.
Tenth-seeded Virginia Tech (30-21, 12-17 ACC) is led by sixth-year head coach and 2022 ACC Coach of the Year John Szefc, who is just one year removed from leading the Hokies to NCAA Super Regional play in 2022.
This season, Szefc’s team comes into ACC Championship play just days removed from handing the unanimous No. 1 team in the country Wake Forest (45-9, 22-7 ACC) their ninth loss of the season on the road in their final regular season game.
Offensively, six Virginia Tech hitters sit well above a .300 batting average including Christian Martin, who holds a team-best .339 AVG and has accounted for 58 hits and 28 RBIs on the year. As a team, the Hokies’ 97 home runs are good for third-most in the ACC, and slugger Jack Hurley’s 17 are tied for the fifth-most among players in the conference.
Anthony Arguelles (3-1, 4.94 ERA, 58.1 IP) and Drue Hackenberg (5-7, 5.76 ERA, 79.2 IP) are the two likely starters on the mound for the Hokies’ pool play games against Clemson and Boston College.
Clemson holds a 3-0 lead in the season series between the two teams after sweeping the Hokies in Blacksburg in mid-May, outscoring them 33-18 in those games.
Clemson-Boston College Preview
Sixth-seeded Boston College (34-17, 16-14 ACC) was the last team to beat this Clemson ball club when they outlasted the Tigers 3-1 on April 28th in Brighton, though Clemson would go on to win the series and the ensuing 12 games to finish the regular season.
Spearing the attack offensively for the Eagles is one of the ACC’s premier power hitters, Joe Vetrano, who finished the regular season batting .306 with 51 RBIs and 18 home runs, the fourth most among ACC players this season. The junior first-baseman homered twice in the late-April series against the Tigers, including a solo shot in the Eagles’ April 28th win.
On the mound, the Eagles are likely to send out Chris Flynn (7-2, 3.82 ERA, 70.2 IP) and John West (5-3, 4.98 ERA, 56.0) as the starters in their pool play games against Virginia Tech on Tuesday and Clemson on Friday, though their third rotational starter Henry Leake (3-5, 6.59 ERA, 57.1 IP) could also see action with their ACC Championship hopes on the line.