Nothing is as ripe for overreaction as the opening game, or in the case of college baseball, the opening weekend of a new season.

And there’s plenty of it to go around in the ACC.

For a change, most of it is good.

NC State coach Elliott Avent reached a milestone by notching his 1,000th career victory, while Miami rookie coach JD Arteaga recorded his 1st. Duke exploded out of the gate with a record-tying home run barrage on Saturday, while North Carolina set a record by stealing 10 bases in a win against Wagner on Sunday.

In all, the league’s 14 baseball playing teams went a combined 34-5 with all but Louisville winning their season-opening series.

The promise that successful start has sparked is only 1 of the 10 things I’m overreacting to as the ACC baseball season gets into full swing.

10. Fretting about Fritton

With projected ace Matt Willadsen sidelined for most, if not all of the season with an injury, NC State is going to need others to step up and give its pitching staff a boost.

The Wolfpack got promising performances from freshmen Ryan Marohn and Jacob Dudan, JUCO transfer Shane Van Dam and resurgent senior Sam Highfill in their weekend series against VCU. But the pitcher Avent needs most was pitcher who produced the least.

Hard-throwing Dominic Fritton was mentioned on several preseason All-American teams and is poised to become a breakout star after ringing up 75 strikeouts and allowing opponents to hit only .211 in 62 2/3 innings last season. The sophomore left-hander got off to a promising start by retiring the 1st 7 hitters he faced before allowing 5 runs in a disastrous 5th inning that sent State to defeat.

“I wasn’t sure if it was the cold weather or if he didn’t have it,” Avent says afterward, writing Fritton’s problems off on a breaking ball that “he couldn’t land.” That’s a wrinkle he’s going to have to iron out for the Wolfpack to have any shot at contending once the conference schedule begins.

9. Cardinals’ start is for the birds

Indiana State and UConn both played in the NCAA Tournament last season. The Sycamores even hosted a regional. So the competition Louisville faced last weekend in rainy Tampa was hardly chopped liver.

But if you’re hoping to bounce back from a 2023 campaign that saw you miss the ACC Tournament for the 1st time and NCAA regional play for the 2nd time in 3 years, going 0-2 against anybody isn’t a great way to start.

There were some positives, to be sure. Transfer pitchers Sebastian Gongora and Jake Karaba both had successful debuts and transfer catcher Luke Napleton had a 2-run triple against Indiana State. But the bullpen let coach Dan McDonnell’s team down in both games, a recurring problem that continues to plague the Cardinals after helping to bring them down a year ago..

8. Virginia’s new driving force

How are the Cavaliers going to fill the gaping hole in the middle of their batting order with the departures of ACC Player of the Year Kyle Teel and record-setting home run hitter Jake Gelof?

Not with a Chevy, a Toyota or a Mercedes-Benz.

But a Ford.

Henry Ford, to be exact. And this kid is no Model T.

A Charlottesville native, the freshman 1st baseman was the driving force behind UVa’s sweep of Hofstra by going 7-for-13 with a pair of home runs, 6 RBIs, a double and 6 runs scored. Between his famous name, his local ties and his potent bat in the middle of the order, Ford is destined to become the face of the Cavaliers’ program for the next 3 years.

7. Not so sweet as Honey

It is time to start worrying about Vance Honeycutt’s bat?

Sure, he hit a couple of homers and scored 6 runs in North Carolina’s season-opening sweep of Wagner. But those were the only 2 hits he managed in 12 at bats. His .167 average ranks 8th among the Tar Heels’ 9 starters. Normally that wouldn’t be cause for concern. It’s a long season and a small sample size. But considering the offensive drop-off the UNC star experienced a year ago, it’s at least something to keep an eye on.

Honeycutt was a consensus Freshman All-American and the ACC Tournament MVP in 2022 after hitting .292 with 25 homers, 57 RBIs and 29 steals. But he slumped to .257, 12, 43 and 19 last season. Some of that can be attributed to a back issue that sidelined him for the postseason and most of the summer.

He’s still considered the top overall prospect in this year’s draft. But he won’t be for long if his 2023 performance wasn’t a sophomore slump and his bat doesn’t heat up.

6. Sophomore slump? Fuggedaboutit

Clemson’s Cam Cannarella is about to lay waste to the time-honored “Sophomore Slump” myth. Last year’s ACC Freshman of the Year has picked up right where he left off at the top of the Tigers’ batting order. He was at his table-setting best by going 7-for-13 for a .538 average with a double and 5 RBIs in his team’s impressive sweep of Xavier.

Cannarella was the catalyst for Clemson’s late season 17-game winning streak and ACC Tournament championship in 2023. It’s a role at which he’s still excelling. Even without MLB Draft pick Caden Grice and Tennessee transfer Billy Amick, Erik Bakich’s 10th-ranked team still managed to produce 33 runs in its first 3 wins.

5. Greener pastures

Sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side. Especially for a prospect named Green.

Payton Green, that is.

It sure looks as though the change of scenery has done wonders for the junior shortstop. After playing his first 2 seasons at NC State, the former 15th-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox put together a smashing debut at Georgia Tech.

Green certainly wasn’t a bust with the Wolfpack. He hit 17 homers and drove in 84 runs in 112 games. But he never fully realized the promise that preceded him. It was on full display this weekend, though. He went 7-for-11 (.636) with 3 homers and 7 RBIs in his first 3 games as a Yellow Jacket. He added 4 walks for an on-base percentage of .733, punctuating the performance with a go-ahead grand slam on Sunday that sent Tech on to a sweep of Radford.

4. FSU is back

To put into perspective how long it had been since the Seminoles last missed out on the NCAA Tournament in baseball before 2023, consider this: Not only did it happen before any of the team’s current team members were born. It was also before a lot of their parents came into the world, as well.

FSU’s string of 44 straight tournament appearances dating to 1977 ended after a dismal 23-31 (9-21 ACC) effort in coach Link Jarrett’s first season back at his alma mater. But don’t don’t get used to seeing it buried near the bottom of the ACC standings.

Bolstered by an influx of new talent off the transfer portal and motivated by the memory of legendary former coach Mike Martin, who passed away last week, the Seminoles served notice that they’re well on their way back with a pair of double-digit wins against Butler – the first of which was an 11-0 shutout that served as a fitting tribute to Martin and his familiar jersey No. 11.

3. Fireworks at the beach

Usually, the fireworks displays at Myrtle Beach are reserved for Friday nights in the summer. Duke apparently couldn’t wait that long. So the Blue Devils put on a little pyrotechnic display of their own during the 3-game Baseball at the Beach event.

Chris Pollard’s team launched 16 home runs in wins against Indiana, George Mason and host Coastal Carolina. Eleven came in Saturday’s 23-3 blowout of the Patriots – a barrage that tied an ACC single-game record also held by Georgia Tech in 1985 and Maryland in 1980. Five players had multiple homers, including 3 each by redshirt senior Zac Morris and freshman AJ Garcia.

Duke’s strength this season is supposed to be its deep pitching staff. And it didn’t disappoint. Ace Jonathan Santucci, showing no ill effects from last year’s arm injury, reliable reliever Charlie Beilenson and highly-touted freshman Kyle Johnson all posting impressive outings. As good as those pitchers are already, imagine how much more dominating they’ll seem with all that run support behind them.

2. Lab work already paying off

A lot of big-time programs, especially Tennessee, are going to regret letting Chase Burns anywhere near Wake Forest’s renowned pitching lab. Let alone have unlimited access to the facility whose state-of-the-art biomechanics and technology have been instrumental in transforming the Deacons into a national power.

Burns has always had the physical tools to back up his standing as a blue-chip prospect. His heater hits triple-digits, and he has a filthy slider and a resume that includes selection as the national Freshman of the Year at Tennessee in 2022. All he needs to complete the package is some command.

From the looks of things, his work in the lab since transferring to Wake last summer already has him heading in that direction. The junior right-hander struck out 10 while allowing only 3 hits and 1 walk in 6 shutout innings of a 5-2 win against Illinois in his Deacons debut on Friday.

If he continues lighting up the radar gun and punching out hitters at that rate, he could be the X-factor that gets Wake over the hump it just missed clearing at least at year’s College World Series. And the first player selected in this year’s draft.

1. The ACC will have multiple teams in Omaha

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s only 1 weekend. I know. But considering the ACC’s overall performance in that 1 weekend and that 6 of those teams are ranked among the top 19 of Baseball America’s poll, it’s hard not to set the bar high.

Especially after all 6 of the ranked teams looked the part.

No. 1 Wake Forest got big performances from its star-studded pitching staff and several plug-and-play transfers, especially leadoff man Adam Tellier from Ball State, to outscore its 1st 3 opponents by a 21-8 margin.

Duke and Clemson both showed that they’ve plenty of offensive firepower to go along with their respective arsenals of arms on the way to opening weekend sweeps. The Blue Devils pounded out 16 homers in wins against Indiana, George Mason and Coastal Carolina. The Tigers rang up 33 runs in a 3-game sweep of Xavier.

Virginia and North Carolina also went 3-0 for the weekend. NC State came 1 bad inning from doing the same while Miami and Georgia Tech had the look of NCAA Tournament teams. The ACC tied a College World Series record by sending 4 teams to Omaha in 2006. There’s a real possibility of a repeat performance this year.