ACC Super Regionals Preview

For the second straight year, the ACC will send a conference record-tying four teams to Super Regionals. Louisville, Miami, Florida State and Boston College kept their seasons alive and are now just two wins away from the College World Series.  

Boston College (34-20) at No. 3 Miami (48-11)
Coral Gables, Fla.
5 p.m. (ESPNU), noon (ESPNU), noon (ESPN2 or ESPNU)
Miami leads all-time series 18-6
The ACC is guaranteed to have at least one team in Omaha, as Miami will host Boston College. 

Miami is participating in its record-setting 44th consecutive NCAA tournament and 11th all-time Super Regionals. Boston College on the other hand, is in its first NCAA tournament since 2009, eighth of all time and first Super Regionals in program history [NCAA Super Regionals debuted in 1999]. 

The Canes are 18-6 all-time versus Boston College, including a sweep of their most recent series, but that was in the 2014 season. The Eagles will try to be the first road team to win a Super Regionals series at Miami. The Hurricanes are 10-1 all-time in Super Regionals in Coral Gables, with the lone loss coming eight years ago to Arizona.

Boston College does have the two main ingredients needed for any great baseball upset: nothing to lose and a major league arm. The Eagles head to Coral Gables as a Cinderella team – a three seed that some did not expect to make the NCAA Tournament, let alone win the Oxford Regional. Boston College certainly faces a very tall task in Miami, but when you’re riding that postseason momentum anything can happen. 

Having a first-round caliber arm on the mound certainly helps. Junior right-hander Justin Dunn will be a huge key for the Eagles. Dunn, a shutdown closer turned top of the rotation starter, boasts a 1.49 ERA and was taken 19th overall in the MLB Draft. He’ll definitely need some support, but if the Eagles are going to get to Omaha, the road will more than likely go through Dunn’s right arm.

Florida State (40-20) at No. 1 Florida (50-13)
Gainesville, Fla.
6 p.m. (ESPN2), 6 p.m. (ESPN2 or ESPNU), **1 p.m./4 p.m./7 p.m. (ESPN2) or 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Florida State leads all-time series 127-110-1
Florida State will travel to Gainesville to take on the top-seeded Florida Gators in the marquee matchup of the weekend. The Seminoles will look to keep the bats hot against a formidable Florida rotation. The Gators 3.02 team ERA ranks ninth in the country and includes lefty A.J. Puk, who went sixth overall in the MLB Draft. But the Gators have a number of arms that can shut down their opponents. Alex Faedo (13-1, 3.19 ERA) and Logan Shore (11-0, 2.44 ERA) both boast better records, ERAs and have pitched more innings than Puk. 

Simply put, Florida State needs to get runners on base in any way possible and come up with some timely base hits. The ‘Noles will look to their All-American shortstop Taylor Walls to continue being the spark plug he’s been all season. Walls ranks top-5 on the team in hits, runs, doubles, steals, batting average and RBIs. Batting leadoff, Walls’ ability to work the count and get on base will prove vital for FSU. 

UC Santa Barbara (40-18-1) at No. 2 Louisville (50-12)
Louisville, Ky.
noon (ESPN2), noon (ESPN2 or ESPNU), **1 p.m./4 p.m./7 p.m. (ESPN2) or 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
-First meeting between the two programs
No. 2 Louisville plays host the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. The Cardinals are one of the most well-rounded teams in the country, with a team ERA (2.77) and batting average (.323) that both rank fourth nationally. Louisville is led by outfielder Corey Ray who ranks second in the country with 44 steals and has been caught just eight times. Ray the fifth overall pick in the MLB draft to the Brewers, the first of three Cardinals to go in the first round.

While keeping Ray off the base paths is important for the Gauchos, their main focus should be getting on base themselves. Louisville has three top-tier arms in its rotation. First-team All-American Brendan McKay (12-3, 2.12 ERA) and ACC Pitcher of the Year Drew Harrington (12-2, 2.08 ERA) and Kyle Funkhouser, who turned down the MLB to return for his senior season, completes the trio of Cardinal starters. Louisville will look to go deep in the game with each starting arm before handing the ball to star closer Zack Burdi. 

The Gauchos have battled with injuries all season and are finally healthy, but their team batting average of .260 will certainly be put to the test against one of the best pitching staffs in the country.