Nothing in life is certain.

Predicting that an ACC team will end up at the College World Series this year is as close to a certainty as you can get.

The conference has sent at least 1 team to Omaha in each of the past 18 years the event has been held, including 2 last year. With 6 teams ranked in the preseason polls as the 1st pitch of 2024 is set to be thrown on Friday, there are plenty of candidates lining up to continue the tradition.

Who and how many will it be this year?

Let’s handicap the field.

14. Pitt

Coach: Mike Bell
2023 record: 24-31 (10-18)
Postseason: Did not qualify

Best returning players: Senior OF CJ Funk (.267, 13 HRs, 43 RBIs), Junior C Jayden Melendez (.261, 10 HRs, 21 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Junior RH Jack Sokol (6-5, 7.45, 69 Ks), Graduate RH Erubiel Candelario (2-3, 7.30).

Top newcomers: Senior 2B Tyler Bischke (.309, 12 HRs, 54 RBIs at Kent State), Junior 1B Luke Cantwell (.331, 14 HRs, 51 RBIs at FDU), Junior RHP Ryan Adrade (1-2, 7 saves, 4.09 at Rhode Island), Freshman RHP Aiden Coleman, Freshman SS Ryan Zuckerman.

Outlook for 2024: The Panthers haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 1995 and, after taking a step backward last season, coach Mike Bell has almost completely retooled his roster. He brought in 15 veterans off the transfer portal to augment a recruiting class headed by pitcher Coleman and shortstop Zuckerman – both of whom were named “ACC Impact Freshmen” by To make any kind of move up the league standings, let alone qualify for the postseason, they’re going to have to improve on last year’s bloated 7.16 team ERA.

13. Boston College

Coach: Todd Interdonato
2023 record: 37-20 (16-14)
Postseason: NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional

Best returning players: Sophomore 1B Nick Wang (.233, 11 HRs, 43 RBIs), Senior CF Barry Walsh (.314, 8 HRs, 35 RBIs), Senior IF/OF Patrick Roche (.294, 38 RBIs), Senior LF Cameron Leary (.258, 10 HRs, 26 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Junior RH John West (5-3, 4.50, 1 save, 71 Ks), Junior RH Eric Schroeder (6-4, 5.37).

Top newcomers: Graduate OF Cam Caraher (.337, 14 HRs, 50 RBIs, 35 SBs at SNHU), Sophomore C Beck Miller (.245, 1 HR, 17 RBIs at Yale).

Outlook for 2024: The Eagles posted their most wins since joining the ACC and earned their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2016 last season, advancing to the championship round of the Tuscaloosa Regional. But instead of building on that success, coach Mike Gambino left for Penn State. His replacement, Todd Interdonato, will bring a different style to BirdBall, favoring small ball over the 3-run homer that became BC’s trademark in 2023. This isn’t a bad time for that change to take place, since slugging star Joe Vetrano has taken his team-leading 22 dingers with him to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

12. Notre Dame

Coach: Shawn Stiffler
2023 record: 30-24 (15-15)
Postseason: ACC Tournament pool play

Best returning players: Junior SS Jack Penny (.241, 10 HRs, 27 RBIs), Senior OF TJ Williams (.244, 4 HRs, 16 RBIs), Junior OF/DH DM Jefferson (.254, 1 HR, 13 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Senior RH Jackson Dennies (0-4, 3.11 49 Ks, 46.1 IP), Junior LH Jack Findlay (4-2, 3.79, 54 Ks, 40.1 IP).

Top newcomers: Graduate OF David Glancy (.284, 13 HRs, 37 RBI at St. John’s), Graduate 1B Josh Hahn (.326, 12 RBIs at UCLA), Graduate 3B Simon Baumgardt (.277, 13 HRs, 38 RBIs at Tulane), Graduate RHP Bennett Flynn (5-1, 3.66, 82 Ks, 56.1 IP at Davidson), Freshman RHP Jack Radel.

Outlook: Penny gives the Irish an experienced bat at the top of the order. But with most of last season’s key contributors gone and veteran starting pitcher Finlay unavailable until at least late April while rehabbing from an injury, 2nd-year coach Shawn Stiffler will have to rely heavily on transfers and freshmen to get the Irish to the NCAA Tournament. The good news is that there are plenty of newcomers capable of getting the job done. As many as 4 transfers – Glancy, Hahn, Baumgardt and Tito Flores – project to be in the opening day lineup. And the incoming freshman class is the 2nd-highest rated group in school history.

11. Georgia Tech

Coach: Danny Hall
2023 record: 30-27 (12-18)
Postseason: ACC Tournament pool play

Best returning player: Senior 1B John Giesler (.333, 8 HRs, 37 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: R-Junior RH Ben King (6-2, 3.73), Junior RH Aeden Finateri (2-4, 4.64), Jr. RH Terry Busse (1-2, 5.10, 9 saves).

Top newcomers: Senior 2B Mike Becchetti (.329,, 13 HRs, 54 RBIs at Fairfield), Junior SS Payton Green (.274, 10 HRs, 45 RBIs at NC State), Senior LHP/OF Cam Jones (.336, 37 SBs, 2-2, 2.04, 1 saves at Georgia State), Freshman OF Drew Burress.

Outlook: Coach Danny Hall was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January and it’s going to take all his skill to piece together this year’s team after losing 5 of the top 6 bats in last year’s potent lineup. He hit the transfer portal hard to try and fill the holes. As many as 6 transfers project to play significant roles, in addition to top recruit Burress. Hall’s most important pickup, however, could be pitching coach Matt Taylor – who comes in from crosstown neighbor Georgia State to help fix a staff that hasn’t finished better than 10th in the ACC in ERA since 2019.

10. Virginia Tech

Coach: John Szefc
2023 record: 30-23 (12-17)
Postseason: ACC Tournament pool play

Best returning players: Junior 3B Carson DiMartini (.323, 10 HRs, 57 RBIs), Junior 2B Christian Martin (.345, 3 HRs, 26 RBIs), Graduate OF Chris Cannizzaro (.337 10 HRs, 57 RBIs), Sophomore 1B Garrett Michel (.337, 10 HRs, 45 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Sophomore LH Andrew Sentlinger (3-1, 4.10), R-Junior RH Brady Kirtner (1-1, 4.62).

Top newcomers: Graduate RHP Jeremy Neff (3-1, 5.44 at Richmond), Graduate RHP Grant Manning (5-4, 3.58 at Chapman), Freshman LHP Madden Clement, Freshman RHP Brett Renfrow.

Outlook: Even without top power threat Jack Hurley, the Hokies have plenty enough offense returning to return to the level they reached in 2022 when they won 45 games and came within 1 win of getting to Omaha. They return 5 .300 hitters, led by All-American 3rd baseman DiMartini. The problem is that a pitching staff that was their Achilles’ heel last year has even more questions heading into this season. The only pitcher on the active roster to have started a game for Tech is sophomore right-hander Griffin Stieg, who has started exactly 1 game.

9. Louisville

Coach: Dan McDonnell
2023 record: 31-24 (10-20)
Postseason: Did not qualify

Best returning players: Senior 1B Ryan McCoy (.247, 12 HRs, 44 RBIs), Senior OF JT Benson (.288, 6 HRs, 34 RBIs, 16 SBs), Junior OF Eddie King Jr. (.274, 5 HRs, 42 RBIs).

Best returning pitcher: Junior RH Carson Liggett (7-2, 3.42).

Top newcomers: Senior LHP Sebastian Gongora (10-1, 3.17 at Wright State); Senior RHP Jake Karaba (7-2, 1.62, 119 Ks, 66.2 IP at Lewis), Senior catcher Luke Napleton (.352, 29 HRs, 87 RBIs at Quincy).

Outlook: The Cardinals have been to 6 Super Regionals and 3 College World Series since joining the ACC in 2014. But they’ve failed to qualify for the postseason in 2 of the past 3 seasons and missed out on the conference tournament for the first time in 2023. Coach Dan McDonnell blamed the fall on a lack of commitment from school administrators. In response, Louisville officials approved several facility upgrades. In the meantime, McDonnell has upgraded his roster with the addition of non-JUCO transfers for the first time in his career. Among the best are veteran pitchers Gongora and Karaba, along with slugging catcher Napelton, who led Division II in both homers and runs batted in in 2023.

8. Florida State

Coach: Link Jarrett
2023 record: 23-31 (9-21)
Postseason: Did not qualify

Best returning players: Junior 1B James Tibbs III (.338, 17 HRs, 43 RBIs), Junior OF Jamie Ferrer (.324,, 22 2bs, 42 RBIs), Sophomore 3B Cam Smith (.258, 7 HRs, 36 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Junior RH Conner Whittaker (5-6, 4.33), Senior LH Andrew Armstrong (2-3, 4.19, 2 saves).

Top newcomers: Sophomore SS Alex Lodise (.306, 16 HRs, 63 RBIs at North Florida), Sophomore 2B Drew Faurot (.252, 15 HRs, 51 RBIs at Central Florida), Sophomore RHP Cam Leiter (3-2, 4.92 80 Ks, 56.2 IP at UCF).

Outlook: It’s been an awful year for the Seminoles. On top of seeing their record streak of 44 straight NCAA Tournament appearances snapped in Link Jarrett’s 1st year as coach, they lost legendary former coach Mike Martin just 2 weeks ago. The outlook for the coming season, however, could brighten things up considerably. In addition to the return of top 2 hitters Tibbs and Ferrar, along with potential 1st-round draft pick Smith, Jarrett has added 7 transfer pitchers and 6 transfer position players to the program – led by the slugging duo of Lodise and Faurot, who set freshman home run records at their previous schools before coming to Tallahassee.

7. Miami

Coach: JD Arteaga
2023 record: 42-21 (18-12)
Postseason: NCAA Coral Gables Regional

Best returning players: Sophomore 2B Blake Cyr (.305, 17 HRs, 63 RBIs), Senior catcher Carlos Perez (.210, 13 HRs, 31 RBIs), Junior OF Edgardo Villegas (.264, 7 HRs, 27 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Junior RB Gage Ziehl (8-4, 4.30, 100 Ks, 92.1 IP), Senior RH Ben Chestnutt (7-0, 5.71).

Top newcomers: Senior OF Lucas Costello (.325, 2 HRs, 13 RBIs at Wake Forest), Senior SS JD Urso (.368, 25 2bs, 57 RBIs), Junior LHP Herick Hernandez (8-3, 2.86,, 90 Ks at Miami Dade CC), Freshman 3B Daniel Cuvet, Freshman RHP Brandon Olivera.

Outlook: The Hurricanes begin a new era as long-time pitching coach JD Arteaga takes over for Gino DiMare, who won 42 games in his final season. In addition to the change in leadership, the roster has also undergone a significant turnover. There are more newcomers on the roster (20) than there are returners (15). The cupboard DiMare left Arteaga, however, isn’t entirely bare. Second baseman Cyr is coming off a monster freshman season and Ziehl is one of the top returning pitchers in the ACC. Transfer outfielder Costello has CWS experience at Wake Forest while shortstop Urso has a D2 national championship ring playing for his father at Tampa.

6. NC State

Coach: Elliott Avent
2023 record: 36-21 (13-16)
Postseason: NCAA Columbia Regional

Best returning players: Jr. C Jacob Cozart (.301, 10 HRs, 42 RBIs), Sophomore OF Eli Serrano III (.292, 7 HRs, 32 RBIs), Junior OF Chase Nixon (.319, 2 HRs, 21 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Sophomore LH Dominic Fritton (3-4, 3.59, 3 saves), R-Senior Logan Whitaker (5-3, 4.29).

Top newcomers: Senior 1B Alec Makarewicz (.258, 11 HRs, 49 RBIs at East Carolina), Senior 1B Garrett Pennington (.307, 15 HRs, 55 RBIs at Wichita State), Sophomore OF Josh Hogue (.412, 7 HRs, 41 RBIs at Santa Fe), Senior RHP Hollis Fanning (0-0, 1.26, 14.1 IP at Tennessee).

Outlook: Expectations remain high for the Wolfpack, who start the season ranked as high as No. 13 by There’s reason for optimism with the return of catcher Cozart, a preseason All-America and potential early-round MLB Draft pick, along with steady sophomore Serrano and some power-hitting transfers. The question for Elliott Avent’s team will be if it has enough pitching to make a serious run at Omaha. He has a good foundation in budding star Fritton and veteran Whitaker. But the best, most polished pitcher on the roster – Matt Willadsen – won’t be available for most, if not the entire season, because of an injury suffered in preseason practice.

5. North Carolina

Coach: Scott Forbes
2023 record: 36-24 (14-14)
Postseason: NCAA Terre Haute Regional

Best returning players: Junior OF Vance Honeycutt (.257, 12 HRs, 43 RBIs), R-Sophomore OF Casey Cook (.317, 3 HRs, 23 RBIs), Senior 2B Jackson Van de Brake (.307, 8 HRs, 48 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Senior RH Matt Poston (3-3, 1.90, 5 saves), R-Sophomore LH Dalton Pence (4-3, 3.33, 2 saves).

Top newcomers: Senior 1B/3B Parks Harber, (.283, 18 HRs, 56 RBIs at Georgia), Graduate OF Anthony Donofrio (.364, 16 HRs, 64 RBIs at Quinnipiac), Junior LHP Shea Sprague (7-3, 2.69, 82 Ks at Elon), Freshman C Luke Stevenson, Freshman LHP Fogler Boaz, Freshman RHP Boston Flannery.

Outlook: Like rival NC State, the Tar Heels also lost their Friday starter when ace Jake Knapp recently suffered a season-ending arm injury. That will put even more responsibility on the shoulders of a stellar freshman class rates as the 3rd-best in the country. Two members of that group, lefty Boaz and right-hander Flannery, could end up in the starting rotation while catcher Stevenson is a rising star. Transfers Harber and Donofrio should add some pop to the lineup while Sprague is an experienced arm slotted to be a weekend starter. As for the holdovers, top MLB prospect Honeycutt is primed for a bounce-back season after battling a back issue that kept him out of the postseason.

4. Duke

Coach: Chris Pollard
2023 record: 39-24 (16-13)
Postseason: NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional

Best returning players: Senior C Alex Stone (.315, 17 HRs, 62 RBIs), Sophomore OF Tyler Albright (.312, 3 HRs, 34 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Junior LH Jonathan Santucci (2-2, 4.30, 50 Ks, 29.1 IP), Junior RH Fran Oschell III (6-0, 0.69, 66 Ks, 39.1 IP), Graduate RH Charlie Beilenson (6-3, 3.86, 78 Ks, 60.2 IP). Sophomore LH Andrew Healy (5-1, 2.32).

Top newcomers: Graduate IF Logan Bravo (.304, 7 HRs, 25 RBIs at Harvard), Graduate 1B Ben Miller (.319, 7 HRs at Penn), Junior IF Wallace Clark (.237, 1 HRs, 18 RBIs at Oklahoma), Graduate SS Harrison Rodgers (.361, 15 HRs, 65 RBIs at Colorado Mesa), Freshman OF/LHP Kyle Johnson.

Outlook: After losing ace Santucci to an early-season injury, coach Chris Pollard still managed to piece together a pitching staff that got the Blue Devils to within a game of the CWS. With Santucci back, along with a majority of the arms that carried the team after he went out – led by preseason All-American reliever Oschell – Duke is poised to finally break through and get to Omaha. How far they go will depend on how well the transfers and other newcomers fill the holes in the everyday lineup around star catcher Stone.

3. Clemson

Coach: Erik Bakich
2023 record: 44-19 (20-10)
Postseason: NCAA Clemson Regional

Best returning players: Sophomore OF Cam Cannarella (.388, 7 HRs, 47 RBIs, 46 SBs), Junior OF Will Taylor (.362, 5 HRs, 46 RBIs), Senior 3B Blake Wright (.250, 8 HRs, 45 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Junior RH Austin Gordon (2-4, 4.61), Senior RH Nick Clayton (8-0, 3.17), Sophomore LH Ethan Darden (3-2, 5.53).

Top newcomers: Senior SS Jacob Hinderleider (.282, 7 HRs, 43 RBIs at Davidson), Senior OF/RHP Alden Mathes (.296, 9 HRs, 41 RBIs), Senior RHP Matthew Marchal (11-4, 4.58, 93 Ks at Wofford), Junior RHP Lucas Mahlstedt (7-2, 2.69 at Wofford).

Outlook: The Tigers caught fire late last season, winning 17 straight on the way to the ACC Tournament championship in coach Erik Bakich’s 1st year with the program before running out of gas in their NCAA Regional. This year’s team is armed and loaded to make a deeper postseason run. Even without last year’s ace Caden Grice, who was also the team’s most clutch hitter, Clemson’s staff – which has been enhanced by a pair of transfers from nearby Wofford – will be one of the nation’s best. And while the Tigers will miss the bats of Grice and Tennessee transfer Billy Amick, they’ve got a star to build around in 2023 ACC Rookie of the Year Cannarella.

2. Virginia

Coach: Brian O’Connor
2023 record: 50-15 (19-11)
Postseason: College World Series

Best returning players: Junior SS Griff O’Ferrell (.396, 42s RBI, 16 SBs), Junior C Ethan Anderson (.375, 15 HRs, 66 RBIs), Junior OF Anthony Stephan (.329, 5 HRs, 35 RBIs), Junior OF Casey Saucke (.299, 4 HRs, 48 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Sophomore RB Jack O’Connor (6-3, 3.86), Junior RH Jay Woolfolk (2-1, 2.91, 9 saves).

Top newcomers: Graduate C./DH Jacob Ference (.364, 14 HRs, 45 RBIs at Salisbury), Sophomore RHP Ryan Osinski (0-1, 2.37, 8 saves at Bucknell), Sophomore LPH Blake Barker (4-1, 2.00), Freshman 3B Eric Becker, Freshman 1B Henry Ford.

Outlook: The Cavaliers lost ACC Player of the Year Kyle Teel and slugger Jake Gelof, the program’s all-time leading home run hitter. But they return 6 of 9 starters from a lineup that led the nation with a .322 batting average and finished 2nd in the ACC with 581 runs scored. Preseason All-American O’Ferrell returns as the table-setter after leading the league in hits a year ago while Anderson moves from 1st base to replace Teel behind the plate. The pitching staff is solid, especially with Woolfolk moving into the rotation now that he’s given up football to concentrate on baseball in his draft year. Whether it’s Woolfolk, O’Connor or someone else, someone is going to have to step up and replace reliable ace Connelly Early at the top of the rotation to get back to Omaha.

1. Wake Forest

Coach: Tom Walter
2023 record: 54-12 (22-7)
Postseason: College World Series

Best returning players: Junior 1B Nick Kurtz (.353, 24 HRs, 69 RBIs), SS Marek Houston (.220, 4 HRs, 29 RBIs).

Best returning pitchers: Junior LH Josh Hartle (11-2, 2.81, 140 Ks, 102.1 IP), Junior RH Michael Massey (3-1, 2.59, 1 save), Graduate RH Cole Roland (2-1, 2.05, 2 saves).

Top newcomers: Junior OF Seaver King (.408, 11 HRs, 53 RBIs at Wingate), R-Junior C Tate Ballestero (.288, 10 HRs, 45 RBIs at St. John’s), Graduate 3B Adam Tellier (.316, 9 HRs, 46 RBIs at Ball State), Sophomore 2B Austin Hawke (UNC), R-Senior C/DH Cam Gill (.368, 41 RBIs, 16 SBs at Wofford), Junior RHP Chase Burns (5-3, 4.25, 2 saves, 114 Ks, 72 IP at Tennessee).

Outlook: The Deacons are coming off the best season in school history, one that saw them come within a run of advancing to the national championship series. But don’t think for a minute that “Little Wake Forest” is a 1-hit wonder. Sure, the Deacs lost a pair of 1st-round picks to the MLB Draft. But coach Tom Walter went out and replaced ace Rhett Lowder and slugger Brock Wilken with 2 of the best available transfers – hard-throwing Burns from Tennessee and King from Wingate. And that’s in addition to the abundance of returning talent, highlighted by national Player of the Year contender Kurtz and a deep pitching staff anchored by the hard-throwing duo of Hartle and Massey. As crazy as it might sound, Wake could be even better this year.