Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball:

With League-Record Presence In NCAA “Sweet 16,”
Five ACC Schools Still Chasing Elusive NCAA Title

By David Glenn
North Carolina Sports Network

The Atlantic Coast Conference has been considered one of the top leagues in college baseball for decades.

During the 2024 regular season, the ACC ranked second nationally in conference RPI, behind only the Southeastern Conference.

Indeed, when the 64-team bracket was announced for this year’s NCAA Baseball Championship, the SEC had a record 11 entries, and the ACC claimed the second-most bids, with eight.

Like the ACC in men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse and other sports, the SEC has often been the standard bearer in, for example, football and baseball.

Just as the SEC has captured six of the nine most recent national championships in college football, it also has claimed six of the nine most recent NCAA titles in baseball, including the last four in a row.

NCAA Baseball Champions
(Year—School, Conference)

2023—LSU, SEC
2022—Mississippi, SEC
2021—Mississippi State, SEC
2020—(No Tournament/COVID)
2019—Vanderbilt, SEC
2018—Oregon State, Pac-12
2017—Florida, SEC
2016—Coastal Carolina, Big South*
2015—Virginia, ACC
2014—Vanderbilt, SEC

*—conference membership at time of NCAA title

So far in this year’s NCAA baseball postseason, the ACC and SEC again clearly have been the nation’s top leagues, although you could make the argument that this time it’s the ACC that’s been just a bit better.

Both leagues have five teams playing in this week’s Super Regionals (the other 28 conferences combined have only six entries!), but that means six SEC teams have been sent home, whereas only three ACC squads were eliminated on the opening weekend. Percentage-wise, at least, that translates to an advantage for the ACC.

Adding to the theme, five of the SEC teams that were eliminated last weekend saw their seasons end in regionals hosted by ACC schools, and in three cases (North Carolina over LSU, NC State over South Carolina, Virginia over Mississippi State) ACC teams directly contributed to SEC teams’ early departures from the Big Bracket.

The ACC teams competing over the extended June 7-10 weekend (for the full Friday-Monday schedule and TV/streaming options, please click HERE) for a trip to the 2024 College World Series are Clemson, Florida State, NC State, UNC and Virginia, and not one of those five postseason success stories has been a surprise.

The #4 Tar Heels, #6 Tigers, #8 Seminoles, #10 Wolfpack and #12 Cavaliers all entered the NCAA Tournament with much-desired national seeds, thanks to their outstanding regular-season play, and each team won on its home field during regional play last week.

UNC (against West Virginia), Clemson (Florida), FSU (UConn) and UVa (Kansas State) are hosting again this weekend, and that can be a huge advantage. The Tar Heels, for example, were 32-2 during the regular season at Boshamer Stadium, their on-campus venue. In another head-to-head ACC-SEC matchup, NC State is taking on Georgia in Athens.

As illustrated in the chart below, since the NCAA Baseball Championship expanded to 64 teams (from 48) and adopted its current Super Regional format in 1999, the ACC has had multiple teams reach the second weekend of the tournament (i.e., the Super Regionals) every single year.

In fact, those “ACC In Super Regionals” numbers have been going up lately, and there’s been an impressive amount of variety, too.

Just in the past three years, 10 of the ACC’s 14 baseball-playing schools have competed in the Super Regional round at least once. (Syracuse doesn’t sponsor a varsity baseball program.) The only four exceptions during that relatively brief period have been Boston College, Georgia Tech, Miami and Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, just as the state of North Carolina appears to be in its “Golden Era” of college baseball, the ACC has entered some rarefied air, too.

This year represents the first time in history the ACC has had five teams reach the Super Regional round of the NCAA Baseball Tournament, an event that dates to 1947.

For now, the two most impressive ACC baseball seasons of the modern era are arguably 2006 and 2015.

In 2006, the ACC tied the all-time record for most College World Series teams from a single conference in a single season, with four. (Four remains the record today.) Eighteen years ago, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami (then a brand-new ACC member) and UNC all represented the league in Omaha.

In 2015, FSU, Louisville, Miami and Virginia all played in the Super Regionals, the Hurricanes and Cavaliers both advanced to the CWS, and the Cavs captured the national championship.

The only other ACC team ever to win the College World Series, Wake Forest, did so way back in 1955. That was so long ago that the ACC, which is now a 71-year-old league, had existed for only two years.

In another stunning sign from those dramatically different times, the Demon Deacons’ title-winning head coach, 47-year-old Taylor Sanford, resigned at midseason the following year (in January 1956), citing money matters and feelings of job insecurity. He never coached again.

ACC Teams In Super Regionals

2024 (5) — Clemson, Florida State, NC State, UNC, Virginia
2023 (3) — Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest
2022 (4) — Louisville, Notre Dame, UNC, Virginia Tech
2021 (3) — NC State, Notre Dame, Virginia
2020 — No Tournament/COVID
2019 (4) — Duke, Florida State, Louisville, UNC
2018 (2) — Duke, UNC
2017 (3) — Florida State, Louisville, Wake Forest
2016 (4) — Boston College, Florida State, Louisville, Miami
2015 (4) — Florida State, Louisville, Miami, Virginia
2014 (2) — Maryland, Virginia
2013 (4) — Florida State, NC State, UNC, Virginia
2012 (2) — Florida State, NC State
2011 (3) — Florida State, UNC, Virginia
2010 (4) — Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Virginia
2009 (4) — Clemson, Florida State, UNC, Virginia
2008 (4) — Florida State, Miami, NC State, UNC
2007 (2) — Clemson, UNC
2006 (4) — Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, UNC
2005 (4) — Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami
2004 (2) — Florida State, Georgia Tech
2003 (3) — Florida State, NC State, UNC
2002 (3) — Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech
2001 (2) — Clemson, Florida State
2000 (3) — Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech
1999 (3) — Clemson, Florida State, Wake Forest

BOLD = went on to win College World Series