ACC Baseball 2010 Preview – Coastal Division

January 29, 2010
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Virginia Looks To Keep Rolling After CWS Season

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2009 Division Winners: Florida State won the Atlantic & North Carolina won the Coastal.

2009 Champion: Virginia defeated Florida State 6-3 to capture their 3rd ACC championship and first since 1996.

2009 Tough: Only two ACC teams finished with a below .500 record, with all ACC Coastal Division teams finishing at least 11 games over the mark.  The league also saw a record-tying seven teams earn a trip to the NCAA tournament with four teams (Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina) hosting regionals.

2010 No Easier: The ACC has 3 teams in the top 10 and 6 in the top 16 in Collegiate Baseball’s “Fabulous 40” Preseason Poll, the most by any conference in the country.  Virginia leads the way ranked 3rd, followed by Georgia Tech at number 6, and Florida State 7thMiami starts the year ranked 12th, while North Carolina checks in at number 13 and Clemson begins the year 16th.

Premier Players: 11 ACC players find themselves on the Louisville Slugger pre-season All-America teams including a conference high four 1st teamers.  Those on the first team are RHP Deck McGuire from Georgia Tech, C Yasmani Grandal from Miami, OF Jarrett Parker of Virginia, and OF Tyler Holt from Florida State.

2010 ACC Coastal Division Preview

Yesterday we previewed the ACC’s Atlantic Division and today we look at the Coastal Division.

Duke

2009 Season: (35-24, 15-15)

Nickname: Blue Devils

Head Coach: Sean McNally

Location: Durham, NC

Vitals: .300 BA, 53 HR, .379 OBP, .979 Fld. %…4.83 ERA, 17 SVs, 427 K, 238 BB, .267 Opp. BA

Blue Devil Bats: Duke loses their top three hitters from a year ago including All-ACC 2nd teamer Nate Frieman who led the team with a .340 BA, 20 HR, and 62 RBI.  The Devils, however, do return All-ACC 2nd team performer Sr. OF Jeremy Gould (.340, 20 doubles, 7 HR) and Ping! All-Freshman So. OF Will Piwnica-Worms (.317, 37 R, 30 RBI).

Challenging Schedule: Duke plays nine NCAA tournament teams from last year this season.  25 of their 56 games are against teams that qualified for regionals, including non-conference foes Baylor and Georgia.

Two Home Parks: The Blue Devils will call two facilities home beginning this year.  Duke will still play at Jack Coombs Field, their home since 1931, but will also play 18 home games at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the minor league team.

Georgia Tech

Deck McGuire (GT photo)

2009 Season: (38-19-1, 17-10-1)

Nickname: Yellow Jackets

Head Coach: Danny Hall

Location: Atlanta, GA

Vitals: .315 BA, 111 HR, .411 OBP, .965 Fld. %…4.65 ERA, 12 SVs, 523 K, 234 BB, .267 Opp. BA

Wrapping Up the Decade: Georgia Tech played in the NCAA tournament for the 23rd time in the last 25 years and hosted a regional for the 7th time in the decade.  They advanced to the regional championship before falling to eventual College World Series participant Southern Mississippi.

Deep Staff: The Jackets return one of the top pitching staffs in the country led by 2009 Collegiate Baseball 1st team All-American and ACC Pitcher of the Year Deck McGuire (11-2, 3.50 ERA, 118 K) and So. RHP Mark Pope (5-1, 6.00 ERA, 8 SVs).

Big Offense: In addition to the great pitching, Georgia Tech brings back plenty of offense from a team that hit a league high 111 homeruns from a year ago.  Four players hit double digit homeruns, and three of them are back this season: All-ACC 2nd teamer Tony Plagman (.354, 18 HR, 73 RBI), Jr. SS Derek Dietrich (.311, 10 HR, 54 RBI), and 1st Freshman All-American Matt Skole (.302, 17 HR, 58 RBI).

Miami

2009 Season: (38-22, 18-12)

Nickname: Hurricanes

Head Coach: Jim Morris

Location: Coral Gables, FL

Vitals: .294 BA, 68 HR, .394 OBP, .965 Fld. %…4.71 ERA, 19 SVs, 479 K, 206 BB, .259 Opp. BA

Yasmani Grandal (Miami photo)

Eye of the Storm: Miami loses OF Chris Herrmann (.341, 9 HR, 44 RBI), a 10th round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles, but do welcome back several big bats with the return of preseason 1st team All-American C Yasmani Grandal (.299, 16 HR, 45 RBI), and Sr. 2B Scott Lawson (.333, 75 H, 21 doubles).

Pitching Strength: The Hurricanes will have to find a new closer since Kyle Bellamy (3-1, 0.97 ERA, 16 SVs) turned pro, but they do return Jr. LHP Chris Hernandez (7-5, 4.76 ERA, 93 K), and Sr. RHP David Gutierrez (4-6, 4.38 ERA, 1 CG).  They also get back Jr. LHP Eric Erikson who was a 2nd team All-ACC selection in 2008, but missed 2009 after having Tommy John surgery.

Miami Bound : Miami looks to make the NCAA tournament for the 37th consecutive year, and has a schedule that could lead to success.  The Canes play all but 19 games at home, including a season-ending series against Virginia.  They do have to travel to Florida State and Georgia Tech, plus play an exhibition game against the Florida Marlins March 3rd in Jupiter, FL.

North Carolina

2009 Season: (48-18, 19-10)

Nickname: Tar Heels

Head Coach: Mike Fox

Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Vitals: .313 BA, 69 HR, .403 OBP, .970 Fld. %…3.73 ERA, 17 SVs, 661 K, 264 BB, .244 Opp. BA

Big Losses: The Tar Heels must deal with the loss of 1B Dustin Ackley, Rivals.com Player of the Year and 2nd overall pick in the MLB draft by the Seattle Mariners.  Ackley led the ACC with a .417 BA, 111 H, and 22 HR and was named the Hitter of the Decade by Rivals.com.  Also gone is top pitcher Adam Warren who finished with a 10-2 record, 3.31 ERA, and 103 K.

Carolina History: UNC earned a 4th straight trip to the College World Series last season becoming the first ACC team to accomplish that feat.  Carolina also became the first ACC school to send a team to the CWS, a bowl game, and the men’s Final Four in the same season.

Key Returners: UNC goes for 5 straight CWS appearances with a few key parts returning.  Jr. OF Ben Bunting (.336, 92 H, 63 R) leads the offense, while Jr. RHP Colin Bates (4-4, 3.15 ERA, 6 SVs) a 3rd team preseason All-American, heads up the pitching staff.

Danny Hultzen (UVA photo)

Virginia

2009 Season: (49-15-1, 16-11-1)

Nickname: Cavaliers

Head Coach: Brian O’Connor

Location: Charlottesville, VA

Vitals: .327 BA, 59 HR, .401 OBP, .972 Fld. %…3.23 ERA, 18 SVs, 593 K, 190 BB, .239 Opp. BA

Let the Good Times Keep Rolling: Virginia, fresh off their first ever trip to the College World Series, returns 23 of 29 letterman and begin the season ranked

Jarrett Parker (UVA photo)

2nd by Baseball America, their highest ranking ever in school history.

Stop Them If You Can: The entire starting lineup returns in 2009, including All-American Jr. OF Jarrett Parker (.355, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 20 SB), Jr. OF Dan Grovatt (.356, 51 RBI, 14 SB) and ACC Freshman of the Year LHP/1B Danny Hultzen (.327, 37 RBI, .993 Fld. %).

Dominant Pitching: The Cavaliers led the ACC with a 3.23 team ERA, a .239 Opp. BA, and 593 K and they return several key pitchers for 2010.  Among those back are Danny Hultzen (9-1, 2.17, 107 K), Jr. RHP Tyler Wilson (9-3, 2.97, 1 SV), and Jr. RHP Kevin Arico (2-3, 2.70, 11 SVs).

Virginia Tech

2009 Season: (32-21, 12-17)

Nickname: Hokies

Head Coach: Pete Hughes

Location: Blacksburg, VA

Vitals: .319 BA, 52 HR, .405 OBP, .960 Fld. %…5.18 ERA, 10 SVs, 428 K, 191 BB, .287 Opp. BA

Good Season, Tough League: Virginia Tech finished last in the ACC Coastal division last year, but still finished 11 games above .500 overall.  Jr. C/OF Steve Domecus was named to the All-ACC 2nd team becoming the first Hokie player named to an All-ACC team in Tech’ five seasons in the league.

Top Offense Back: The Hokies return 3 of their top 4 hitters from 2009 with Steve Domecus (.406, 4 HR, 42 RBI), Jr. Austin Wates (.397, 5 HR, 16 SB), and Sr. OF Mike Kaminski (.340, 6 HR, 38 RBI) all back to lead the offense.

Hokie Arms: Tech Jr. Jesse Hahn (1-2, 1 SV, 23 K in 24 IP) was named a preseason All-American by PGCrosschecker.com, a team that is made up of players who rank among the best pro prospects.  Tech also welcomes back Jr. LHP Justin Wright (7-2, 3.95, CG, 59 K).

2010 ACC Coastal Predictions

ACC Coastal Winner: Virginia just beats out Georgia Tech

Top ACC Coastal Player: Jarrett Parker—Virginia

Top ACC Coastal Pitcher: Deck McGuire—Georgia Tech

2010 ACC Predictions:

ACC Winner: Florida State does it again

Top ACC Player: Tyler Holt—Florida State

Top ACC Pitcher: Deck McGuire—Georgia Tech

By Collegebaseball360.com contributor Shawn Lewallen

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