Wed. 5/20 8 p.m. - UNC (Adam Warren, Sr. RHP 6-2, 3.49 ERA) vs Duke (Christopher Manno, Jr. LHP 5-5, 4.72 ERA)
Fri. 5/22 8 p.m. - UNC (Alex White, Jr. RHP 7-2, 3.38 ERA) vs Virginia (Danny Hultzen, Fr. LHP 7-1, 2.28 ERA)
Sat. 5/23 4 p.m. - UNC (Matt Harvey, So. RHP 6-2, 5.86 ERA) vs Clemson (Starter TBD)
Previewing Duke: Duke heads into the ACC Tournament for the first time since 2005. The Blue Devils are 37-18-1 on the season (15-15 ACC). Duke won two of three against UNC at Boshamer Stadium in March – UNC's first series loss against the Blue Devils since 2001.
Duke will send junior southpaw Christopher Manno to the mound to face the Tar Heels. Manno was named ACC Pitcher of the Week earlier this month for his six inning shutout stint against Virginia and has gone 4-2 with a 3.25 ERA in his last 8 starts. Manno lost his start against the Tar Heels earlier this season, giving up five earned runs in a 3.2 inning start.
Senior Nate Frieman has tied for the Duke career record with 42 home runs – he has 19 this season and is sporting a .692 slugging percentage. Two-way player Alex Hassan has excelled in both roles -- as right fielder, not committing an error this season while batting .348, and as the Blue Devils' closing pitcher, leading the squad with eight saves on the season and striking out 34 batters in 26.1 innings pitched.
Duke is fundamentally sound playing defense - leading the ACC at a .980 clip along with being the only team in the ACC that has turned more double plays than committed errors. The Blue Devils also have limited opposing baserunners to a .593 success rate stealing bases, while senior catcher Matt Williams has thrown out 16 baserunners this season - second in the ACC.
Virginia enters the ACC Tournament with a 39-12-1 record (16-11-1 ACC). The Cavaliers lost their ACC series to the Tar Heels in late March and both losses occurred as the Tar Heels scored in their final at bat. The Cavaliers are coming off a series loss to Virginia Tech.
The Cavaliers had five players named to the All-ACC Team this season. Freshman first baseman/starting pitcher Danny Hultzen was honored on the first team in addition to being announced as the ACC Freshman of the Year. Hultzen is 7-1 on the mound with a 2.28 ERA with 80 strikeouts, in addition to batting .331. Joining Hultzen on the first team were sophomore second baseman Phil Gosslen (.322), junior shortstop Tyler Cannon (.366) and sophomore outfielders Dan Grovat (.372) and Jarrett Parker (.380, 15 HR).
Virginia has been active on the basepaths this season, stealing 100 bases on opponents in 122 attempts.
Senior Andrew Carraway (12 starts on the season) is coming off of a disappointing outing against the Hokies, giving up four earned runs on eight hits in 2.1 innings pitched. Hultzen (11 starts this season) won the Wahoos' last game in a three-inning relief stint, while Robert Morey gave up four earned runs in five innings, allowing 10 hits earlier in that game. Meanwhile freshman right hander Will Roberts is coming off a shutout in his last start against Virginia Commonwealth.
In the pool play format, the Tar Heels' second and third opponents face each other in their opening game. Virginia will need to find a starter to get off to a strong start against Clemson on Thursday night or else the bullpen depth could be depleted for Friday night's game against UNC.
Clemson heads into the ACC Tourney with a 39-17 record (19-11 ACC), coming off of a sweep of NC State. Clemson lost its ACC series with North Carolina in early March, losing two of the three close contests. Clemson has won the ACC Tournament nine times and been in the finals in 21 of the previous 35 tournaments.
Clemson expects to use one of its pair of left handed pitchers against the Tar Heels - either freshman Chris Dwyer (4-4, 5.03) or sophomore Casey Harman (7-3, 4.01). Dwyer earned ACC pitcher of the week honors in April for his complete game two-hitter against Miami. He gave up three earned runs in four innings pitched against the Tar Heels on four hits and three walks. Dwyer leads the Tigers in innings pitched and in strikeouts this season.
Harmann has struck out 67 batters in 67.1 innings this season, while walking 11. He started the season as a relief pitcher but entered the rotation against Wake Forest on March 13. Harmann pitched in relief against the Tar Heels on March 6, allowing one base hit and no runs in a 2/3 of an inning.
Sophomore outfielder Jeff Schaus earned ACC first team honors this year batting .337 with a .440 on base percentage. Clemson has three batters tied for the team lead with 11 home runs - Ben Paulsen (.369), Schaus and Kyle Parker (.270).