ACC baseball: Final series will determine division champs, tourney teams

cwright@newsobserver.comMay 15, 2013 

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N.C. State's Logan Ratledge (6) is met at the plate by teammate Jake Fincher (30) after scoring in the second inning against UNC-W on Tuesday May 7, 2013 at Doak Field in Raleigh, N.C.

ROBERT WILLETT — rwillett@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

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    Last chance

    The final three-game series start Thursday. Seven teams already have clinched a spot in next week’s ACC tournament (*):

    *Virginia (20-7) at *North Carolina (20-5)

    *N.C. State (16-10) at Duke (9-18)

    *Clemson (17-10) at *Florida State (18-9)

    Wake Forest (9-18) at *Virginia Tech (13-14)

    *Georgia Tech (14-13) at Miami (12-15)

    Boston College (3-23) at Maryland (9-18)

— Kudos to the ACC baseball schedule makers.

The mad dash to Durham concludes this weekend, and every series will help determine who makes next week’s eight-team ACC tournament. Three series will determine who wins the Atlantic and Coastal Division. Seven teams, including North Carolina and N.C. State, already are in the field but won’t know their seed until Saturday evening. Four others, including Duke and Wake Forest, have a chance to steal the last spot.

Here’s a look at what’s at stake:

UNC (20-5 ACC)

Final series: vs. Virginia (20-7)

When: 6 p.m. Thur., 7 p.m. Fri., 2 p.m. Sat.

At stake: The top seed in next week’s ACC tournament. The Tar Heels need just one victory against Virginia to win the Coastal Division and secure the top seed. That’s important because the ACC tournament uses a pod system. The No. 1 seed is grouped with the Nos. 4, 5 and 8 teams. The second division winner is the No. 2 seed and gets the Nos. 3, 6 and 7 teams. If Virginia sweeps the series, the Cavaliers would win the Coastal, and the Heels would fall to the No. 3 seed and be placed in the Atlantic Division champion’s pod.

N.C. State (16-10)

Final series: at Duke (9-18)

When: 6 p.m. Thur., 6 p.m. Fri., 1 p.m. Sat.

At stake: The Wolfpack could win the Atlantic title if they sweep Duke and Clemson beats FSU twice. Otherwise, the Pack is looking at a middle seed, no lower than sixth. The Wolfpack needs to beat Duke just once to knock the Blue Devils out of the ACC tournament.

Duke (9-18)

Final series: vs. N.C. State (16-10)

When: 6 p.m. Thur., 6 p.m. Fri., 1 p.m. Sat.

At stake: It’s complicated, so let’s start with the simple stuff: Duke has to sweep N.C. State and have Miami lose all three home games against Georgia Tech to have a chance (and that might not be enough based on other results). But, if Duke and Miami are the only two 12-18 teams, Duke would secure its first ACC tournament bid since 2009 because it owns the tiebreak against the Hurricanes. Duke also would make it if there is a three-way tie with Miami and Wake Forest.

Wake Forest (9-18)

Final series: at Virginia Tech (13-14)

When: 5:30 p.m. Thur., 5:30 p.m. Fri., 2 p.m. Sat.

At stake: Like the Blue Devils, the Demon Deacons must sweep Va. Tech and have Miami lose all three to have a chance. One loss or one Miami win, and they’re done. The Deacons hold a couple of tiebreak edges, however, so if they finish in a three-team tie with Miami and Maryland, they will go the tournament. They also go if there is a four-team tie with Miami, Duke and Maryland.

Wright: 919-829-4643

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