ACC Baseball Tournament on the horizon after wild regular season


Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor

Pitt senior pitcher Matt Gilbertson (45) pitches during a game against the University of Virginia in April.

By Jack Markowski, Staff Writer

With the 2022 college baseball regular season winding down, all eyes are looking ahead to the upcoming slate of conference tournaments. The ACC has arguably been one of the strongest leagues throughout the entire campaign, as it boasts nine of the top 25 teams in RPI, with several others just missing the cut. 

Eight schools have secured their spot in Charlotte, North Carolina for the ACC Tournament next week — including the Pitt Panthers. With 13 teams from the conference still eligible for a spot in the NCAA Tournament, perhaps no tournament will be more important towards sorting out the field for the national tournament. 

While No. 3 Virginia Tech (36-11 overall, 16-9 ACC) may not clinch the Coastal division title, there is no doubting the fact that the Hokies are not only serious threats to win the ACC, but also to take home the College World Series in Omaha. The Panthers started the year off 7-0 before going on to win ranked series against Notre Dame, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia and Louisville in conference play. 

Pitt currently ranks No. 4 in RPI, and media outlets such as D1Baseball and the NCAA consistently rank the Hokies in the top three. It appears as though they will host a regional in Blacksburg regardless of what occurs from here on out, and for good reason. 

No. 9 Miami (37-14 overall, 18-9 ACC) will look to lock up the best record in the ACC as well as the Coastal division title this upcoming weekend in a battle of heavyweights against No. 14 Notre Dame (31-11 overall, 15-9 ACC). Both clubs have put themselves in an advantageous spot to host a regional, though the Fighting Irish will likely need to prove themselves over the next few weeks. 

As the Fighting Irish attempt to lock that up, they also have to make sure No. 10 Louisville (35-15-1 overall, 16-10-1 ACC) doesn’t steal the Atlantic division crown from them. The Cardinals are also a prime candidate to host a regional tournament, and with all three teams ranking inside the top 15 in RPI, it gives the ACC a trio of teams that seem poised to make serious noise in both the ACC Tournament and beyond. 

No. 12 Virginia (37-13 overall, 16-11 ACC) still has a sliver of a chance to win the Coastal as they travel to Louisville this weekend, sitting two games back of the Hurricanes and two back in the loss column behind Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers have been one of the more balanced teams in the conference this season, ranking No. 4 in runs scored and No. 1 in ERA. The Hoos also roster one of the ACC’s best players in sophomore infielder Jake Gelof, who is top five in OPS, batting average, home runs and on-base percentage

While they may have lost a step from the start of the year, Virginia is one of the elite teams in the country and should have success in the ACC Tournament, while also boasting an impressive resumé that could earn them a regional in Charlottesville. 

No. 20 Florida State (32-18 overall, 15-12 ACC), NC State (32-17 overall, 14-12 ACC) and Pitt (27-22 overall, 13-13 ACC) round out the eight teams that have punched their ticket to Charlotte. 

The Seminoles currently sit at No. 17 in RPI and possess one of the strongest pitching staffs in the conference, ranking No. 2 in ERA. Redshirt sophomore starters Bryce Hubbart and Parker Messick have consistently turned in spectacular performances for Florida State and could lead the charge for the team in the tournament as they, too, hope to host a regional. 

The NC State Wolfpack and first year Tommy White are looking to play the role of Cinderella a year after making the championship game against Duke. But the team ranks in the bottom half of the conference in both runs scored and ERA, and it will take a solid performance from top to bottom in the lineup to repeat last year’s magic. 

As for the Panthers, they have suffered a number of tough out-of-conference losses and have found themselves at the bottom of the ACC in a number of key categories. Despite this, they won series against ranked opponents such as Virginia, Louisville and Clemson, and have a strong starter duo in senior Matt Gilbertson and junior Billy Corcoran that can hold their own against any offense in the tournament. 

Clemson (32-20 overall, 10-16 ACC), Georgia Tech (29-21 overall, 12-15 ACC), North Carolina (31-19 overall, 12-15 ACC) and Wake Forest (35-16-1 overall, 12-14-1 ACC) all have yet to earn their way into the ACC Tournament despite each team being ranked inside the top 25 in various polls throughout the year. But only Clemson remains in real danger of dropping out of the field, as they sit only one game ahead of Duke (21-29 overall, 10-17 ACC) in the loss column entering the weekend. 

The ACC has proven itself to be an incredibly deep conference, and all 12 teams that will be competing in the conference tournament can hold their own. With the level of unpredictability this year, ACC fans are in for a very interesting few days. 

The ACC Tournament will take place from May 24-29 at Truist Field in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fans can watch pool play on ACC Network Extra. The semifinals will air on ACC Network and the championship on ESPN2.