By R.L. Bynum
DURHAM — If the bad weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday is accurate, the outlook for North Carolina winning its second consecutive ACC title isn’t good.
If the league cannot complete the ACC tournament, it will award the championship to the team with the best record in the tournament. The title will go to the highest-seeded team if there’s a tie.
Here is how the league rule reads:
“If pool play is completed, the team with the best record in the ACC championship will receive the automatic qualification. If the teams in the semifinals or championship game have the same record, the highest seed remaining will receive the automatic qualification.”
The good news for the Tar Heels (35–21) is that they are 2–0 in the tournament. The bad news is that they will be the lowest seed of the four semifinalists at No. 7.
That would be a frustrating outcome for UNC after an impressive 10–2 victory Thursday over No. 12-ranked Virginia.
To increase the chances of both semifinals being played, they are both now scheduled to start at 1 p.m. UNC’s game against No. 6-ranked and No. 3-seed Clemson (41–17) will be played at Durham Bulls Athletic Park and air on ACC Network. No. 1-seed Wake Forest (47–9) will play Miami at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill in a game that will stream on ESPN3. The No. 4-seed Miami (39–18) beat Duke 7–6 Friday afternoon. The Deacons beat No. 8-seed Notre Dame 7–5 Friday night.
The Tigers, who swept Carolina in the regular-season-ending series, beat No. 6-seed Boston College 4–1 Friday for their 14th consecutive game and are 2–0 in the tournament. The Tigers’ last loss came against the Eagles on April 28.
Clemson junior left-hander Caden Brice (7–1, 3.18 ERA), who gave up four hits, one unearned run, two walks while striking out nine in the Tigers’ 3–1 victory Saturday over UNC, will start in the semifinals against Carolina. Grice also hit a two-run home run in the game. Junior right-hander Connor Bovair (4–3, 5.00 ERA) is expected to start for the Tar Heels.
“They’re an outstanding team,” Clemson coach Erik Bakich said Friday after his team’s win over BC. “They’re an elite team. They’re hot. They’re playing well. They played well this time last year. They’ve got star power guy with a guy like [Mac] Horvath, they’ve got good pitching. Even though [Vance] Honeycutt is out, they still have star power and premium athletes as well.”
The way that UNC blew out Virginia impressed Bakich.
“Virginia’s a potential national seed and an Omaha club and North Carolina, the way they’ve been playing, they are, too,” Bakich said. “They can make an Omaha run as well. You can easily see that just with the way they play in the star power they have; athe very dangerous team. What hat happened last weekend has nothing to do it [Saturday]. And you know, the team is gonna win as a team that plays better.”
In the first semifinal, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, No. 1-seed Wake Forest (46–9 heading into its 7 p.m. Friday game against No. 8-seed Notre Dame) would face No. 4-seed Miami (39–18), which beat Duke 7–6 Friday afternoon.
A Deacons win over the Irish would give them the ACC title, should the league be unable to play semifinals and the finals.
The forecast for 1 p.m. Saturday is for a 87% chance of rain, with the chance of rain no lower than 62% until 7 p.m. It doesn’t get much better on Sunday, with a chance of rain no lower than 68%.
With the NCAA announcing its tournament field at noon Monday, the ACC tournament can’t extend until Monday. The Durham Bulls have a home game on Monday, anyway.
In D1Baseball’s latest NCAA projection released Friday, UNC is the No. 2 seed at Auburn, with Troy the No. 3 seed and Samford as the No. 4 seed. Its previous projection had Carolina going to Columbia, S.C., but it no longer projects South Carolina as a host.
Baseball America projects UNC as the No. 2 seed in the Conway, S.C., regional, with host Coastal Carolina, No. 3-seed Southern Cal and No. 4-seed Maine.
The NCAA announces the 16 host teams Sunday at 8 p.m. and reveals the entire field at noon Monday.
At Durham Bulls Athletic Park
All games on ACC Network
No. 6-seed Boston College 11, No. 10 Virginia Tech 7
No. 7 North Carolina 11, No. 11 Georgia Tech 5
No. 9 N.C. State 8, No. 5 Duke 7, 11 innings
No. 12 Pittsburgh 9, No. 8 Notre Dame 5
No. 2 Virginia 15, No. 11 Georgia Tech 1, 7 innings
No. 3 Clemson 14, No. 10 Virginia Tech 5
No. 1 Wake Forest 10, No. 12 Pittsburgh 2
No. 7 North Carolina 10, No. 2 Virginia 2
No. 4 Miami 4, No. 9 N.C. State 2
No. 3 Clemson 4, No. 6 Boston College 1
No. 4 Miami 7, No. 5 Duke 6
No. 1 Wake Forest 7, No. 8 Notre Dame 5
No. 3 Clemson 10, No. 7 North Carolina 4
No. 4 Miami 7, No. 1 Wake Forest 2
Sunday’s championship at Durham Bulls Athletic Park
No. 3 Clemson 11, No. 4 Miami 5
FINAL POOL PLAY STANDINGS
Wake Forest 2–0
Notre Dame 0–2
North Carolina 2–0
Georgia Tech 0–2
Boston College 1–1
Virginia Tech 0–2
N.C. State 1–1
|17||Friday||10–8 L||Seton Hall||Home||0–1|
|18||Saturday||11–2 W||Seton Hall||Home||1–1|
|19||Sunday||4–2 W||Seton Hall||Home||2–1|
|24||Friday||6–5 L||No. 15 East Carolina||Greenville||4–2|
|26||Sunday||6–5 L||No. 15 East Carolina||Home||4–3|
|4||Saturday||7–5 W||Stony Brook||Home||8–3|
|5||Sunday||15–4 W||Stony Brook||Home||9–3|
|8||Wed.||15–5 W||Penn State||Home||11–3|
|10||Friday||7–3 L||No. 11 Virginia||Home||11–4,|
|11||Saturday||8–4 L||No. 11 Virginia||Home||11–5,|
|11||Saturday||6–0 W||No. 11 Virginia||Home||12–5,|
|15||Wed.||16–2 W||High Point||Home||14–5|
|17–7 W||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||15–5, |
|21||Tuesday||6–4 W||N.C. A&T||Home||16–5|
|23||Thursday||6–3 W||Duke||Home||17–5, |
|24||Friday||8–5 L||Duke||Home||17–6, |
|25||Saturday||5–3 W||Duke||Home||18–6, |
|28||Tuesday||12–7 L||No. 9 Coastal Carolina||Home||18–7|
|31||Friday||10–8 W||Notre Dame||South Bend, Ind.||19–7, |
|2||Sunday||5–2 W||Notre Dame||South Bend, Ind.||20–7, |
|2||Sunday||9–1 L||Notre Dame||South Bend, Ind||20–8, |
|4||Tuesday||5–0 L||South Carolina||Charlotte||20–9|
|6||Thursday||8–1 W||Georgia Tech||Atlanta||21–9, |
|7||Friday||10–6 W||Georgia Tech||Atlanta||22–9, |
|7||Friday||8–4 L||Georgia Tech||Atlanta||22–10, |
|13||Thursday||5–4 L||No. 8 Miami||Home||23–11, |
|9–8 W, |
|No. 8 Miami||Home||24–11, |
|15||Saturday||4–3 L||No. 8 Miami||Home||24–12, |
|Boston College||Home||25–13, |
|22||Saturday||9–4 L||Boston College||Home||25–14, |
|23||Sunday||6–2 L||Boston College||Home||25–15, |
|28||Friday||7–0 L||Virginia Tech||Blacksburg, Va.||26–16, |
|29||Saturday||12–8 W||Virginia Tech||Blacksburg, Va.||27–16, |
|29||Saturday||13–7 W||Virginia Tech||Blacksburg, Va.||28–16, |
|2||Tuesday||6–5 L||No. 11 Campbell||Home||28–17|
|3||Wed.||2–1 W||No. 15 East Carolina||Greenville||29–17|
|11||Thursday||9–8 W||N.C. State||Home||31–17, |
|12||Friday||9–3 W||N.C. State||Home||32–17, |
|13||Saturday||12–2 W||N.C. State||Home||33–17, |
|16||Tuesday||8–6 L||No. 9 Coastal Carolina||Conway, S.C.||33–18|
|18||Thursday||14–7 L||No. 3 Clemson||Clemson, S.C.||33–19, |
|19||Friday||5–4 L||No. 3 Clemson||Clemson, S.C.||33–20, |
|20||Saturday||3–1 L||No. 3 Clemson||Clemson, S.C.||33–21, |
|23||Tuesday||11–5 W||Georgia Tech||Durham||34–21|
|25||Thursday||10–2 W||No. 11 Virginia||Durham||35–21|
|27||Saturday||10–4 L||Semifinal vs.|
No. 3 Clemson
|Terre Haute Regional|
|2||Friday||5–4 L||Iowa||Terre Haute, Ind.||35–23|
|3||Saturday||5–0 W||Wright State||Terre Haute, Ind.||36–23|
|Iowa||Terre Haute, Ind.||36–24|
Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications