Virginia Tech continues its push toward an ACC baseball tournament berth and possible postseason, while Virginia aims to solidify its place atop the conference, in big home series this weekend.
The Hokies (28-21, 9-15 ACC) have won 14 of 19, but face a team even hotter in Clemson, in a three-game series at English Field. The Tigers (34-15, 13-11 ACC) have won 20 of 23 since they were swept by North Carolina in early April and are ranked as high as 16th this week.
Tech is one game behind Wake Forest and two behind N.C. State for the seventh and eighth spots in the conference. Only the top eight teams make the ACC tournament.
The Hokies are led by left fielder Andrew Rash, batting .351 and leading the ACC in home runs (17), slugging percentage (.750) and total bases (126). Centerfielder Tony Balisteri, a senior from Lexington, has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games to raise his average to .325.
Clemson's Brad Miller leads the ACC in hitting (.437) and on-base percentage (.537), and is one of four Tigers hitting at least .324.
Center fielder Will Lamb, a junior from York High, has a 24-game hitting streak — tied for longest in the conference this season — to raise his average to .324. He is batting .367 (33-for-90) during the hit streak.
Virginia, the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, resumes play after a 10-day break for semester exams. The Cavs face Miami in a matchup of ACC and national powers at Davenport Field.
The Cavaliers (43-5, 20-4 ACC) have won 12 of 14 and lead the stronger Coastal Division by two games over Georgia Tech.
Virginia leads the ACC in team batting (.314) and pitching (2.23 ERA). Junior lefthander Danny Hultzen (9-1) leads the conference in ERA (1.19) and strikeouts (112).
The Cavaliers' weekend starting rotation of Hultzen, Cody Winiarski and Tyler Wilson are a combined 20-3 with an ERA of 1.40.
John Hicks (.359) and Steven Proscia (.351) are tied for second in the conference in hits (71), and the Cavaliers have scored a league-high 372 runs.
Miami (31-16, 16-7 ACC) is ranked as high as 16th this week and has won 16 of its last 21 games. Junior centerfielder Nathan Melendres (.343) and DH/outfielder Rony Rodriguez (.313) are the top hitters, while all four Hurricane starters have ERAs under 3.30.
Dave Fairbank watches the ACC among other things for the Daily Press. Read his blog at dailypress.com/fromthetarpit.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times