Around the Horn: Big UNC Series Looms

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UVa pitcher Pat McAnaney made his first appearance of the season earlier this week.

The Virginia Cavaliers tuned up for their big weekend ACC series with top ranked North Carolina with a record-setting 29-2 victory Tuesday evening against Niagara. The Hoos 27-point blowout is the largest margin of victory in school history and the 29 runs scored tied a school record.

Coming off a disappointing weekend in Winston Salem where the Cavs lost two of three to Wake Forest, coach Brian O’Connor said this was a perfect ointment for Virginia’s wounds, especially the offensive effort.

“The thing about today’s game I really thought our hitters swung the bats very well,” said O’Connor. “It’s very easy in the middle of the week when you face a lot of different pitchers within in a game for guys not to adjust to what they need to do offensively to each particular pitcher. We did a very good job of that today. We had a lot of base hits the other way on hard ground balls. We just strung a bunch of hits together and to score 29 runs with only one error is unheard of.”

Brandon Guyer set what is believed to be a school record with 9 RBI.

“I feel like Brandon Guyer over the last five games or so has really been swinging the bat well, like we need him too,” O’Connor said. “We saw that out of him in the last two games at Wake and we saw that again [Tuesday]. He’s squaring the ball up very consistently and that’s what we’re going to need in our league.”

It’s hard not to find more than one pleasing aspect of such a dominating victory but one of the most encouraging events of Tuesday’s game may have been on the defensive side of the field with the return of Pat McAnaney to the mound. McAnaney was expected to challenge for a weekend starter’s role this season but a fractured hand set him back several weeks and his three innings of work against Niagara was his first action of the year.

“I thought he pitched