GREENSBORO– The Tar Heel baseball team has been picked second in the ACC Coastal division by the league’s 14 head coaches.
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Announced by the ACC office Friday, Virginia was tabbed the conference favorite. Ten coaches named the Cavaliers as the team to beat while Florida State received four first-place votes.
Carolina received two first-place votes to win its division, but Virginia took the top spot in the Coastal.
In the Atlantic Division, Florida State is the favorite, receiving nine of the possible 14 first-place votes. N.C.State was the alternate choice, collecting the other top line votes.
UNC Head Coach Mike Fox says the inclement weather this January has presented some obstacles to the preseason practice schedule, but he enjoys this time of the year as the pieces of the puzzle are put together.
And those pieces will look a little different this year. The Tar Heels lost some reliable pitching in Chris Munnelly and Kent Emanuel as well as the steady hitting of Chaz Frank and Cody Stubbs. But sophomore sluggers Skye Bolt and Trent Thornton, both preseason All-America selections, will hope to fill in the gaps this season.
Expectations always start with a trip to Omaha (College World Series) for the Tar Heels and the Carolina baseball team is nearing first pitch. The Tar Heels open up the 2014 season Friday, Feb. 14 at home against the College of Charleston.
The 2014 ACC Baseball Championship is scheduled for May 20-25 at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C.
2014 ACC BASEBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Virginia (10)
2. Florida State (4)
1. Virginia (12), 96
2. North Carolina (2), 84
3. Miami, 66
4. Georgia Tech, 57
5. Duke, 36
6. Virginia Tech, 35
7. Pitt, 18
1. Florida State (9), 93
2. NC State (5), 88
3. Clemson, 70
4. Maryland, 48
5. Notre Dame, 40
6. Wake Forest, 36
7. Boston College, 17
CHAPEL HILL – Monday night’s regular-season finale could very well be a preview of the ACC Tournament Championship, but not if Virginia has anything to say about it.
North Carolina has been the odds-on favorite to win the ACC all season long. For all but two weeks this season, Carolina held at least one No. 1 spot in the four national polls. The Tar Heels have since dropped to fifth in the USA Today Coaches’ poll, sixth in the Baseball America and NCBWA (National College Baseball Writers Association) polls, but only dropped to third in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
Florida State wrapped up the Atlantic Division title at 20-10, a half a game ahead of N.C.State at 19-10. But Virginia was right on the heels of Carolina, finishing just one game back at 22-8.
According to the national coaches’ poll, all three teams are side-by-side: North Carolina at No. 5, Virginia at No. 6, and FloridaState at No. 7.
The Tar Heels have the easiest road in the tournament facing the No. 8 seed, No. 5 seed, and No. 4 seed. Virginia and FloridaState meet up on the final day of round-robin play, which could be the decider for which Pool B team advances to Sunday’s championship. Aside from that game, FSU opens against Georgia Tech—which, despite being a seven-seed, could present a challenge—and plays six-seed Virginia Tech on day two before its day off heading into the final day of round-robin action. Virginia’s bye also comes the day prior to the two-three matchup, and the Cavaliers play just the opposite schedule as the Seminoles.
All the action begins Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park with seven-seed Georgia Tech against two seed FloridaState. Top-seed North Carolina has day one off and begins play against eight-seed Miami Thursday at 3:00 p.m. You can hear all the Tar Heel games live on 97.9 FM WCHL and streaming here.http://chapelboro.com/sports/acc/2013-acc-baseball-tournament-preview