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ACC Baseball Tournament: Clemson Preview & Open Game Thread

I thought of making a preview for the whole thing, but it seems pointless considering the amount of data I'd have to sift through. ACCSports has one up, as does OTB. All the games are televised on Fox/Sportssouth so you'll see all the statistics for the lineups at gametime. The Tournament starts at Noon with UVA vs BC. Pitching matchups have not been announced for all the games but its an almost certainty that Harman and Weismann will start the first 2 games.

Clemson's 1st game will be NC State (36-20, 15-15) at 8pm

LHP Casey Harman 6-2 3.98 86.0 81 41 38 26 70
LHP Alex Sogard 1-2 5.49 39.1 51 24 24 16 19

Normally their #1 starter is Jake Buchanan, but it appears that they are going the FSU-route and throwing out a bad lefty to take out the lefty-dominated lineup. Its still a smart move statistically, since we're 11-12 against LH starters.

Game 2 against VT (36-19) on Friday at 4pm. Scott Weismann for CU, unknown yet for VT.

Game 3 against GT (44-11) on Saturday at 4pm. I'm leaning towards Will Lamb, considering that GT's best hitters are all leftys.

We own the series historically against the 1st two opponents, and GT is 100-100-3 according to Tim Bourret since 1902. Of course its that way, since Clemson has been good at baseball for a long time, so I put zero faith in it. Clemson has winning records against them all in postseason tournament play and neutral sites, but can we really call Greensboro neutral? Tell me why the damn Tournament isnt at Myrtle Beach?

Clemson swept both NC State and Virginia Tech earlier this year and we played really well at that time. NC State had been hitting really well and we shut them down. They've continued to do so, and the same problem that they had then is one they still have: too many walks from their pitchers. Together with some bad defense, thats not good for your ERA. The Poulks are dangerous enough at the plate to make up for some of that though and this ballpark is a hitter-friendly venue.

NC State has lost series 2-1 to Miami, UNC, GT, and FSU. They were swept by BC and CU, and won a series against Virginia 2-1. They are coming in off a sweep of Duke to end the season.

I doubt NCSU will do too well in this tournament.

Full NC State Statistics for 2010.

Virginia Tech was a team I worried about stealing one from us earlier this year, because I knew they were good beforehand. To my surprise we pulled off a total sweep. Since then they have improved and have defeated FSU (2-1), Miami (2-1), GT (2-1), BC (3-0), WF (2-1) and Duke (2-1). Last weekend they were swept by a UNC team desperately trying to save their season and make the ACC Tournament.

Their starting pitching is talented, and I believe Justin Wright is set to pitch their opener against GT on Thursday. That means we could get Matt Price (7-3, 4.50) or Jesse Hahn (5-4, 3.55). They can score though. As a team they hit a collective .323, 8 points behind NC State. 

This is a dark horse candidate to win the Tournament outright in my opinion.

Full VT Statistics for 2010.

We went to Georgia Tech and laid an egg, to put it simply. We couldn't outhit them. This will be the most interesting pitching matchup, mostly because I don't know who Jack will send out there. Its still possible we could send Harman out again. GT has 2 frontline starters and might start McGuire on short rest again if they have to, but I suspect it'll be Brandon Cumpton (8-2, 4.86) or Mark Pope (7-1, 4.26).

GT has had some hiccups since their sweep of Clemson, losing to VT (2-1) and NC State (2-1), which knocked them out of the top 5 in the nation. Thankfully, they are both in this division. Since that rough patch they've defeated Miami in Coral Gables and BC in Chestnut Hill. Georgia Tech certainly has what it takes to win the Tournament and their pitching depth indicates they should go far in the NCAA Tournament.....but they always choke at the end of the year for whatever reason.

Still, its hard to bet against them winning this division of the round-robin.

Full GT Stats for 2010.

With WarranNolan's RPI putting us at 15th, and with the 12th-rated SOS, a good showing would mean a great shot and hosting a Regional. Clemson has won only two road regionals in Leggett’s tenure — at Arkansas in 1999 and in Myrtle Beach (hosted by Coastal Carolina) in 2007.

"I think we’ll definitely have to be playing for the championship on Sunday, and might have to win it," Hinson said. "I think we’ve got a good chance, got as good a chance as anyone else. We’re excited."

I'm not sure Clemson's pitching has enough to win it all, and I dont expect us to beat UVA should we make it to the last game, but in baseball theres always hope....