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Weekend Series Preview: Pittsburgh @ No. 15 Wake Forest

The Deacs welcome the Pitt Panthers for the final ACC series of the year

Wisconsin v Pittsburgh Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

It has been a breakout year for Tom Walter and the No. 15 Wake Forest Diamond Deacs. This weekend the team can take another big step forward and secure the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the tournament next week.

Wake Forest (36-16, 17-10) welcomes in Pittsburgh (22-28, 8-19) to Winston-Salem this weekend where a sweep would earn that 3 seed regardless of what Clemson or Virginia does in their respective series.

The Diamond Deacs are currently a game up on Clemson and Virginia, who both sit at 16-11 in the conference. Clemson visits a desperate N.C. State team looking to get a marquee win or two to boost its NCAA Tournament resumé, while Virginia will visit Georgia Tech.

While a 3 seed is important, the most important thing this weekend is to at least get a 4 seed, which would solidify the Deacs as the best seed in its pool for the upcoming ACC Tournament. Wake Forest can do that by taking at least two out of three this weekend. Even if Wake somehow managed to get swept it would take at worst the 5th seed.

The games this weekend will be at 6 PM on Thursday, 6 PM Friday, and 12 noon on Saturday. Note that the Saturday game time has been moved up from its previously schedule time because apparently Pittsburgh has no idea how to schedule their flights for road series.

The Pitt Panthers currently sit in the cellar of the ACC, and likely need to win two out of three to extend its season. The bottom two teams in the ACC are left out of the ACC Tournament and Pitt is currently tied with Boston College at 8-19, and a game back of Virginia Tech at 9-18.

Currently the Panthers are on a 4-game losing streak, and have lost 5 straight ACC series, managing to win just 2 of those 15 games.

The pitching staff for Pitt has allowed 5 runs a game, while the offense has managed 5.1 runs per game, not exactly a margin that spells success throughout the course of a college baseball season. A 1-13 record against the top 50 of the RPI also demonstrates their woes against top teams.

Probable Pitchers (Wake listed first)

Friday - Parker Dunshee (8-1, 4.23 ERA) vs. Josh Mitchell (1-5, 4.37 ERA)

Saturday - Donnie Sellers (3-5, 4.39 ERA) vs. Josh Falk (3-7, 3.75 ERA)

Sunday - Connor Johnstone (7-0, 3.26 ERA) vs. Dan Hammer (3-5, 5.14 ERA)

Pittsburgh is led in hitting by second baseman Alex Amos, who is batting .297 on the season. For reference, Wake Forest has 9 batters hitting better than that on the year.

Third baseman Nick Banman leads the Panthers in home runs with 7, but is batting just .206 on the year. The team RBI lead is held by Caleb Parry at 43 RBI’s.

For Wake, Jonathan Pryor leads everyday starters with a .374 batting average, while Gavin Sheets has hit 18 home runs and accumulated 72 RBI’s this season to lead the Deacs.

As long as Wake Forest continues to hit like it has been this season (#RakeForest), then this should be a series win that will keep the momentum going. While it’s never easy to sweep a team in the ACC, this would keep pushing the Diamond Deacs closer to the possibility of grabbing a national seed and potentially hosting a Super Regional.

This will be the final regular season home series of the year for Wake, but the Deacs will likely be hosting a regional series in Winston-Salem the first weekend in June.

If you enjoy watching Wake Forest teams that win and score a lot then this is the team for you. Get out there and support the team before it heads off to Louisville next week for the ACC Tournament!