ACC announces Baseball Championship expansion, format change

Monte Lee

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship will expand to include 12 teams and feature a new format beginning with the 2017 season, Commissioner John Swofford announced today.

The ACC Baseball Championship will increase from 10 to 12 teams, and will  feature a pool play format, leading into a four-team, single-elimination bracket to determine the league champion. The event will be held May 23-28 at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky.

“ACC Baseball has never been stronger and the number of nationally prominent teams is remarkable,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “Expanding the format to include additional teams is in the best interest of our players, programs and conference.”

The top team from both the Atlantic and Coastal divisions, determined by conference winning percentage, and the next 10 teams with the best conference winning percentage regardless of division will be selected to participate in the championship. The two division champions will automatically be seeded number one and two based on winning percentage in overall conference competition. The remaining teams will be seeded (No. 3 through No. 12) based on winning percentage in overall conference competition without regard to division.

The 12 teams in the championship will be grouped into four pools with three teams apiece. Pool play will take place Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with three games per day. Each pool will play a round-robin, with the top team advancing to the semifinals.

The semifinals will take place on Saturday, followed by the championship on Sunday.

Each team in the tournament is guaranteed two games, while the two teams that advance to Sunday’s championship will play four games. All teams will have at least one day off.

“The goal of the baseball committee, our head coaches, and the ACC is to provide as many student-athletes as possible with a championship experience,” said Boston College’s Matt Conway, a member of the ACC Baseball Committee. “The expansion to 12 teams and the adjusted pool play format guarantees all 12 teams at least two games achieves that goal, while still protecting the value of the regular season.

“This format will also assure our student-athletes and fans that four teams will still be alive to win the championship come Saturday, and every game on the weekend has championship implications.  We also feel this format still balances our goal to have as many teams as possible well prepared to compete in the NCAA tournament the following weekend.”

The championship format, originally proposed by the league’s head coaches, was approved this week at the ACC’s October meetings by the conference’s Senior Women’s Administrators, Athletic Directors, and Faculty Athletics Representatives.

The ACC Baseball Championship annually features many of the nation’s top-ranked teams. The ACC placed 10 teams in the 2016 NCAA Championship field, tied for the most from any conference in NCAA history, and a total of 21 ACC squads have reached the College World Series over the last 11 years.

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