Noting ACC Baseball: Friday, March 18

March 18, 2011

Boston College
BC might be 6-8, but it has faced the second toughest schedule in the country, according to Boyd’s World ... the Eagles had a pair of three-game series at No. 1 Florida and No. 4 Florida State and played their season opener at No. 23 Coastal Carolina ... BC lost to the Chanticleers and dropped the series finale against the Seminoles on walk-offs ... the Eagles lone loss against an unranked team came at UCF on March 9 (the Knights were receiving votes in multiple polls) ... every game BC has played so far has been away from home ... BC’s road swing continues this weekend at Maryland, and it does not play its first home game until March 25 (vs. Virginia Tech).

Clemson has played the nation’s toughest schedule to date, according to independent analyst Warren Nolan ... the Tigers’ first 14 games included three-game series against top 10 teams South Carolina and Virginia ... senior outfielder Chris Epps is among the best in school history in drawing “free passes” ... Epps has 114 walks in 449 at-bats over 166 career games – one walk for every 3.94 at-bats in his career, the third-best mark in Clemson history ... as a team, the Tigers finished 2010 third in the nation in walks (375), and have picked right up where they left off ... Clemson has totaled 82 walks in 14 games this season, good for 5.9 walks per game.

Duke pitchers Chase Bebout, Dennis O’Grady, Marcus Stroman and Eric Pfisterer have combined for a 7-0 record and a 1.62 ERA on the weekends ... Duke leads the ACC with 38 steals and is stealing at a 76 percent success rate thanks to the aggressive base running of junior Will Piwnica-Worms – who leads the ACC with 10 steals – and veterans O’Grady and Joe Pedevillano, who boast five steals apiece ... Duke is coming off of a 4-1 win over Charlotte on Wednesday in which freshman Chris Marconcini hit his first career homer and Duke’s third home run in the last four games ... the Blue Devils have allowed no more than four runs in each of the last five games.

Florida State
The Seminoles’ much anticipated series at Virginia this weekend matches two of the top team statistical leaders in the ACC ... Florida State ranks second in hitting (.315), while Virginia boasts the league’s top pitching staff (1.72 ERA) ... the Seminoles’ pitching staff ranks third in ERA (2.48), while the Cavaliers rank fourth in team hitting (.311) ... Florida State continued its long history of success in the opening series of the Atlantic Coast Conference season, sweeping Boston College in three games last weekend ... the Seminoles have won 18 of 20 ACC opening series since joining the league for the 1992 season.

Georgia Tech
The 21st-ranked Yellow Jackets will conclude its 16-game home stand with its three-game ACC series against NC State this weekend ... Tech is currently on a season-best nine-game win streak after winning two midweek games against Georgia Southern ... freshman centerfielder Kyle Wren leads the league in batting with a .444 average and 32 hits ... Wren is coming off of a 4-for-4 performance at the plate against Georgia Southern on Wednesday ... Friday starter Mark Pope has allowed just one earned run all season with 25 consecutive scoreless innings since last allowing a runner to cross the plate in the season opener on Feb. 18

Five Terps had multiple-hit games in a 10-5 win over Liberty on Wednesday, and Maryland had six straight hits in the second inning before recording an out ... freshman DH Tim Kiene hit his first collegiate home run, a three-run shot to right-center field, and second baseman Ryan Holland had a pair of doubles and three RBI ... Alfredo Rodriguez had two hits Wednesday and has hit safely in five of the last six games ... Maryland has been consistent defensively through the first 17 games and now leads the ACC in fielding percentage (.984) ... the Terps have committed the fewest number of errors among conference teams (10).

Miami pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts, including a career-high eight for starter Steven Ewing, in Tuesday night’s win over visiting Florida Atlantic .. . the Hurricanes retired the final 16 batters of the game, with the last FAU hitter to reach base coming on a two-out, fourth-inning walk ... that came on the heels of last weekend’s ACC-opening series sweep of Virginia Tech, which saw Miami allow just one run in each of the three games ... after beginning the year hitting just .229 through a 4-7 start, Miami has raised its team average to .267 over the course of the last six games ... Harold Martinez has keyed the resurgence, batting .600 in the last four games.

North Carolina
The Tar Heels have won nine of their last 11 games heading into this weekend’s ACC eries at Virginia Tech ... Jesse Wierzbicki extended his hit streak to a career-high 10 games with a solo home run in the second inning of Tuesday’s 11-2 win over visiting Princeton ... the Tar Heels blew the game open with a nine-run eighth inning ... RHP Patrick Johnson has not allowed more than a run in any of his starts this year ... outfielder Ben Bunting has driven in three runs in three of the last five games ... UNC (15-3) remains ranked among the nation’s top 20 teams despite dropping the final two games of last weekend’s series at Wake Forest.

NC State
Harold Riggins’ grand slam home run made the difference in Tuesday’s 7-5 win over Buffalo ... Riggins drove in six of the Wolfpack’s seven runs and added two more RBIs in Wednesday’s win over George Mason ... the Wolfpack is hitting at a .293 clip as a team, while the pitching staff has combined for a 3.99 ERA ... shortstop Chris Diaz enters this weekend’s Georgia Tech series riding a 10-game hitting streak, longest by any Wolfpack hitter this season and tied for the longest active streak in the ACC at present ... Diaz has multiple hits in four games of the streak, which began with a 2-for-4 showing against Penn State on March 4.

Virginia carries an 11-game winning streak into this weekend’s marquee series with Florida State, a three-game set that will match the nation’s fourth- and fifth-ranked teams ... one of the highlights of the weekend will come Friday night as two of the nation’s best left-handed pitchers will square off - Virginia All-American Danny Hultzen and FSU All-American Sean Gilmartin ... both hurlers are 4-0 on the young season ... Hultzen sports an ERA of 0.66, while Gilmartin checks in at 1.24 ... with two home runs in Wednesday’s win over James Madison, John Hicks became the first Cavalier to post a multi-home run since Jarrett Parker hit two at Duke last May 1.

Virginia Tech
The Hokies are now 4-1 when Andrew Rash hits a home run (he has hit seven in five games), while teammate Tim Smalling has four home runs in three games ... Rash leads the ACC with seven home runs and is also first in doubles (10), RBI (26) total bases (56) and slugging percentage (.824) ... senior Michael Seaborn has started 113 consecutive games at second base ... the last time Seaborn did not start at second was March 22, 2009 ... this weekend’s ACC series vs. North Carolina will be the Hokies’ only home conference series in the month of March ... Virginia Tech opened ACC play last weekend at Miami and travels to Boston College next weekend.

Wake Forest
Kevin Jordan, the freshman outfielder who received a donated kidney from head coach Tom Walter, will attend his first Wake Forest baseball game on Friday, when the Demon Deacons play host to Miami ... Jordan received the donated kidney from Walter during a surgical procedure at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Monday, Feb. 7 ... Jordan has been recovering at home in Columbus, Ga., since being released from the hospital ... this will be his first visit to campus since leaving Wake Forest at the end of the fall semester ... Wake Forest has won three straight ACC series, dating back to last season, including taking two of three from UNC last weekend.