The regular season is over and the Virginia Cavaliers have nothing left to do but survive and advance over the next month.
The first step on the road to Omaha begins this week in Charlotte for the ACC Tournament where the Hoos are the No. 5 seed in a pool with the No. 4 Notre Dame Irish and No. 9 Florida State Seminoles.
Though all three are locks for next week’s NCAA Tournament, none are considered locks for hosting a regional in the first round and in order any of them to reach that next level they’ll have to win more than a few games in the ACC Tournament.
No. 9 Florida State Seminoles (32-22, 15-15) vs. UVA Wednesday at 3 PM
The Seminoles looked like a force to be wreckoned with over the last month of the regular season before they faltered last week against North Carolina. They had won four of five series including taking down Miami and sweeping Louisville and looked to be the 5 or 6 seed in the ACC Tournament, but fell apart last weekend when they were swept UNC in Chapel Hill. That performance dropped them from a possible host in the NCAA Tournament to a three seed in the eyes of the D1Baseball experts.
The good news for UVA is that by playing the Noles on Wednesday they will almost certainly miss FSU’s ace and 1st Team ALL-ACC starting pitcher Parker Messick who pitched against UNC on Friday and their 2nd best pitcher and 2nd Team All-ACC starting pitcher Bryce Hubert who pitched on Saturday.
No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (33-13, 16-11) vs. UVA Friday at 11 AM.
The Irish were in a battle with Louisville down the stretch to see who would win the ACC Atlantic Division. They lead the Cardinals entering the final weekend, but were unable to hold serve against Miami, losing the series, but winning the Saturday night game 5-0.
The added benefit of being a top 4 seed in the ACC Tournament is the tiebreaker all will enjoy in pool play in case of a 1-1 finish among the three teams. That means Notre Dame will know before their tournament begins which of their games against Florida State or UVA will be the deciding game of the pool.
If UVA can win their first game against FSU they’ll likely face Notre Dame ace and 1st Team All-ACC starting pitcher John Michael Bertrand who was top 10 in the ACC in ERA, wins, opponents’ batting average and strikeouts.
The ACC Tournament starts on Tuesday with the other three pools starting pool play:
Pitt vs. Georgia Tech at 11
NC State vs. Wake Forest at 3 and
Clemson vs. North Carolina at 7