ACC Baseball Preview: Wide-open Coastal Division, series to watch

Virginia's Keith Werman, left, scores the first run of the game behind Clemson catcher Spencer Kieboom during an NCAA baseball game on Sunday, Mar. 13, 2011 in Clemson, S.C.  (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

Virginia's Keith Werman, left, scores the first run of the game behind Clemson catcher Spencer Kieboom during an NCAA baseball game on Sunday, Mar. 13, 2011 in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

2012 ACC Baseball Preview

Coastal Division Outlook

1) North Carolina

2011 Record: 51-16 (20-10)

ACC Coaches Poll: 1st in Coastal, ACC Champion

Returning Starting Position Players: 5

Returning Starting Pitchers: 2

Top Hitters (2011 Stats): 3B Colin Moran (.335 BA, 9 HR, 71 RBI), 2B/SS Tommy Coyle (.311, 2 HR, 36 RBI), C/1B Jacob Stallings (.292 BA, 4 HR, 43 RBI).

Top Pitchers (2011 Stats): LHP Kent Emanuel (20 app., 9-1, 2.33 ERA), RHP Chris Munnelly (21 app., 6-5, 4.09 ERA), RHP Michael Morin (32 app., 4-2, 4.64 ERA, 10 saves).

Schedule Notes: The Tar Heels hit the road for their first two series, at Clemson and Maryland, and also do a back-to-back roadie to Miami and Virginia. They do have the benefit of hosting three of their final four ACC series, including games against both Techs.

2) Georgia Tech

2011 Record: 42-21 (22-8)

ACC Coaches Poll: 2nd in Coastal

Returning Starting Position Players: 7

Returning Starting Pitchers: 2

Georgia Tech's Buck Farmer throws a pitch during a college baseball game against Clemson on Sunday, May 1, 2011 in Clemson, S.C. Farmer pitched a complete game allowing four hits as Clemson won the game, 3-1. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

Georgia Tech's Buck Farmer throws a pitch during a college baseball game against Clemson on Sunday, May 1, 2011 in Clemson, S.C. Farmer pitched a complete game allowing four hits as Clemson won the game, 3-1. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Top Hitters (2011 Stats): 1B Jake Davies (.347 BA, 5 HR, 35 RBI), C Zane Evans (.270 BA/5 HR/46 RBI), CF Kyle Wren (.340 BA/32 RBI/57 R).

Top Pitchers (2011 Stats): RHP Buck Farmer (16 app., 11-3, 2.82 ERA), RHP Luke Bard (25 app., 2-2, 2.72 ERA, 8 saves), RHP Matt Grimes (15 app., 7-4, 4.15 ERA)

Schedule Notes: Georgia Tech travels to NC State and BC to start ACC play, and also hit UNC, Wake Forest and Virginia, while hosting big series against FSU, Clemson and Miami.

3) Miami

2011 Record: 38-23 (19-10)

ACC Coaches Poll: 3rd in Coastal

Returning Starting Position Players: 5

Returning Starting/Relief Pitchers: 5/3

Top Hitters (2011 Stats): LF Rony Rodriguez (.308 BA, 13 HR, 44 RBI), SS Stephen Perez (.263 BA, 12 2B, 31 RBI), 3B Brad Fieger (.280 BA, 2 HR, 29 RBI).

Top Pitchers (2011 Stats): LHP Bryan Radziewski (16 app., 9-2, 3.35 ERA), LHP Steven Ewing (13 app., 8-2, 2.66 ERA), RHP Eric Whaley (16 app., 7-5, 2.70 ERA).

Schedule Notes: The ‘Canes take on Florida then the Miami Marlins (no, really) then open the ACC season with Boston College. The thick of their schedule being at Clemson in week three of ACC play, coming home to host UNC, traveling to Virginia Tech and FSU, and back to Coral Gables for Virginia. They close the season at Georgia Tech.

4) Virginia

2011 Record: 56-12 (22-8)

ACC Coaches Poll: 4th in Coastal

Returning Starting Position Players: 4

Returning Starting Pitchers: 0

Top Hitters (2011 Stats): SS Chris Taylor (.305 BA, 2 HR, 49 RBI), 2B Keith Werman (.223 BA, 31 RBI, 39 R), 1B Jared King (.321 BA, 2 HR, 29 RBI).

Top Pitchers (2011 Stats): RHP Whit Mayberry (17 app., 5-0, 3.00 ERA), RHP Branden Kline (32 app., 4-1, 1.88 ERA, 18 saves), RHP Chris Thompson (22 app., 3-1, 3.46 ERA).

Schedule Notes: Virginia starts with rival Virginia Tech in ACC play before facing the Atlantic’s best back-to-back in Tallahassee at FSU and back home against Clemson. The ‘Hoos host UNC and Georgia Tech, but travel to Miami this season.

5) Virginia Tech

2011 Record: 30-25 (11-19)

ACC Coaches Poll: 5th in Coastal

Returning Starting Position Players: 5

Returning Starting Pitchers: 2

Top Hitters (2011 Stats): DH/OF Andrew Rash (.335 BA, 18 HR, 53 RBI), LF Jake Atwell (.304 BA, 2 HR, 19 RBI), 1B Ronnie Shaban (.292 BA, 5 HR, 52 RBI).

Top Pitchers (2011 Stats): RHP Joe Mantiply (14 app., 5-8, 4.36 ERA), RHP Marc Zecchino (14 app., 6-5, 4.66 ERA), RHP Patrick Scoggin (14 app., 4-1, 3.66 ERA).

Schedule Notes: It’s not pretty – trips to Virginia, Georgia Tech and FSU three out of the first four ACC series…and finishing at UNC.

6) Duke

2011 Record: 26-30 (7-23)

ACC Coaches Poll: 6th in Coastal

Key Returning Position Players: 11

Key Returning Pitchers: 4

Top Hitters (2011 Stats): RF Chris Marconcini (.291 BA/4 HR/39 RBI), CF Will Piwnica-Worms (.264 BA/2 HR/31 RBI), C/DH Jeff Kremer (.347 BA/1 HR/19 RBI).

Top Pitchers (2011 Stats): RHP Marcus Stroman (17 app., 3-4, 2.80 ERA, 4 saves), RHP Chase Bebout (13 app., 2-4, 3.38 ERA, 1 save), RHP Robert Huber (16 app., 4-1, 4.37 ERA).

Schedule Notes: They open with a three-game at Texas, and host FSU and Miami in Durham Bulls Athletic Park to start the season. They also host Clemson and NC State, and finish the season at BC.

Coastal Division Notes: There’s little room for error among the top three in the division in UNC, Georgia Tech and Miami – all have aces ahead of the staff and solid lineups. And what will hurt them is a strong bottom three in the Coastal with perennial power Virginia taking a step back as they refill the rotation, and Virginia Tech and Duke, who struggled last year but return some talent. There won’t be three 20-ACC win teams in the Coastal this season because of that, and an improved overall Atlantic Division as well (both 2011 and 2010 yielded a trio of 20-ACC win Coastal teams…I’d look back further, but the internet doesn’t seem to have such info). This division is a gauntlet.

Dominic Leone talks 2012 anticipation

None

5 OOC Series to Watch

Duke at Texas, February 17-19

South Carolina vs. Clemson, March 2-4

Florida at Miami, March 2-4

Southern Cal at UNC, March 2-4

Florida vs. FSU, March 13, March 27 & April 10

5 ACC Series to Watch

UNC at Clemson, March 9-11

UNC at Miami, April 6-8

UNC at Virginia, April 13-15

Clemson at Georgia Tech, April 27-29

FSU at Clemson, May 12-14

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