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Baseball Set to Start ACC Tournament on Tuesday

Hoos will face Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in Pool Play

Coach O’Connor - Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 ACC Baseball Tournament kicks off on Tuesday with a trio of important games for June’s NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers will begin pool play on Tuesday at 3 pm against Virginia Tech. On Friday morning, the Hoos will play their final pool play game against No. 7 Notre Dame.

The winners of the four respective pools will advance to the semifinals on Saturday with the winners of those games advancing to the Championship Game on Sunday in Charlotte.

Here’s the recent history of UVA’s pool opponents, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech Hokies (27-23, 16-20)

After starting off the season on fire and putting together a stellar 14-7 record in the ACC, the Hokies have fallen apart losing their final five ACC series including getting swept by Duke and Notre Dame to finish off the regular season. The Cavaliers took two of three in Blackburg at the beginning of the month winning two of the games by a combined score of 24-2. The Hokies were able to salvage some pride in the Saturday game with a 6-3 win, though only 3 of the 6 runs were earned by UVA’s Mike Vasil.

Since UVA and VT will play on Tuesday, both could opt to not use their weekend starters. Tech was 6-3 during the week with losses to VCU, UNC Greensboro, and Liberty.

With a 58 RPI and a lackluster showing over the final two months, VT needs to make some noise in Charlotte if they have any hope of playing in the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately for them, they won’t have much success to draw on against Notre Dame and UVA.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (29-10, 25-10)

Picked to finish nearly dead last in the ACC, Notre Dame has surprised the entire college baseball country this year and put themselves in the Top 10. No matter the outcome in Charlotte, the Irish will be in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015 and likely host their first regional since 2001 (shout O’Connor who was still on the ND staff then).

The Irish head coach Link Jarrett was just today announced as the 2021 ACC Coach of the Year.

Notre Dame has been on a heater all season winning all of their road series and losing only one ACC series all season (vs FSU two weeks ago). The Irish swept UVA in mid march by a combined score of 30-12 with the closest games being 8-3 and 10-5 with ND on top.

The game being on Friday could be an advantage for UVA. Notre Dame and VT are scheduled to play the 3 PM game on Wednesday, though the Irish will likely hold back their ace, John Michael Bertrand (7-1, 2.77 ERA), for Friday night’s game against UVA on normal rest.

Pool Play

Since the ACC has now gone to 3 team pools, winning is of the utmost importance for teams not seeded 1-4 (duh). The tiebreaker for 3 1-1 teams allows the highest seed to advance, meaning no matter the outcomes of the other games, the loser of the UVA-VT game on Tuesday is eliminated. It’s go 2-0 for UVA, or head back to Charlottesville on Friday and hold their breath until the selection show.