The Virginia baseball team is headed to Greenville, North Carolina, for its NCAA Tournament Regional. As the regional No. 2 seed, the Hoos will take on Coastal Carolina, the No. 3 seed, in their first game on Friday, while the host and No. 1 seed East Carolina will face the No. 4 seed Coppin State. The four teams will play in a double-elimination format with the Regional winner moving on to the Super Regional round.
Virginia – No. 2 Seed
Last year, Virginia made it all the way to the College World Series for the fifth time since 2009. This year, the Cavaliers will hope to return to the CWS yet again, but they’ll need to play much better than they have been of late. They enter the NCAA Tournament on a three-game losing streak after they closed out the regular season with a loss to Louisville and crashed out of the ACC Tournament with losses to Florida State and Notre Dame. Those losses also likely removed the Hoos from consideration for any top 16 national seed and the chance to host a regional at home in Charlottesville.
After racing out to a 26-3 record and the No. 3 rank in the country as of early April, Virginia battled through the ACC, going 17-13 in conference play. The Hoos started ACC play well, winning their first four series against Duke, Boston College, Georgia Tech, and then Wake Forest. But things took a turn for the worse soon after as the Hoos lost five straight games – including a 3-game sweep by Miami – for the first time since 2003. Following that five-game losing streak, the Hoos’ inability to win games consistently like they had earlier in the season resulted in just a 12-9 record in their final 21 games, including the ACC Tournament. The Cavaliers hold a 38-17 overall record heading into the NCAA Tournament and rank 24th in the RPI, a metric that quantifies a team’s wins, losses, and strength of schedule into a ranking.
As a team, Virginia finished the season ranked 17th in team ERA at 4.03. Nate Savino and Brian Gursky were the only two pitchers to start double digit games for the Hoos so expect that pair to be the go-to starters on the mound for the first couple games in Greenville. Savino and Gursky finished the season with ERAs of 4.02 and 4.04, respectively. Out of the bullpen, Virginia coach Brian O’Connor will likely lean on Jay Woolfolk as he made the most appearances of any UVA pitcher this season. Woolfolk has a 3.00 ERA and recorded 53 strikeouts across 36 innings.
On offense, Virginia’s .311 batting average ranked 11th in the country and the team set a program record for home runs in a single season. Jake Gelof has been the biggest offensive threat for the Hoos as he batted .373, hit 19 home runs, knocked in 74 runs, had an on-base percentage of .474, and slugged for a .751 percentage. However, the offense has struggled of late, scoring just three runs combined in the two ACC Tournament games.
Virginia made it to the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since 2017 and made it all the way to the College World Series. The program’s five appearances in the CWS since 2009 are tied for second most of any school in the country. In order to advance out of the Regional this year and clear the first hurdle en route to another appearance in the CWS, UVA will need its offense to reignite the firepower that it has shown for most of the season. In the...
Subscribe to read full story
Tired of low effort articles and clickbait? So are we. Subscribe to read great articles written by a full-time staff with decades of experience.
Already a subscriber? Login Here