UVA Weekend: April 26th-28th
This weekend The University of Virginia brings their 37-6 (16-5 ACC) record and #5 national ranking into Blacksburg for an ACC series. The Hokies (25-17, 9-12 ACC); are coming off of a weekend where they took a much needed two of three games from the Maryland Terrapins, after dropping seven of their previous eight. The Cavaliers are on a six game winning streak after sweeping Florida State last weekend at home.
Friday: April 26th
Game Time: 5:30
Probable Starters: Brad Markey (VT) vs. Brandon Waddell (UVA)
Promotion: Project Purple T-Shirts (First 400 Fans)
Saturday: April 27th
Game Time: 2:00
Probable Starters: Joe Mantiply (VT) vs. Scott Silverstein (UVA)
Promotion: Maroon Effect and Saturday Signings
Sunday: April 28th
Game Time: 1:00
Probable Pitchers: Devin Burke (VT) vs. Nick Howard (UVA)
Promotion: Mini Helmet Ice Cream
Overview: This weekend series brings together two teams with completely different outlooks on the post season. The Cavaliers seem poised to host a regional, while the Hokies need to put together a solid end to the season in order to make the field of 64. Despite what the standings may suggest, this promises to be an exciting series, pitting a high-powered Hokie lineup against a shutdown UVA rotation.
Players to Watch:
UVA Starting Pitching: The Cavaliers’ weekend starters have shut down their opponents this year, combining for a 15-4 record and a 2.87 ERA.
UVA-OF-Derek Fisher: Fisher (.313/.420/.534) is a high level outfielder and a prospect for the MLB Draft in 2014. Known for his power, Fisher is tied for second on the team in homeruns and third in slugging percentage, despite missing 6 games after spraining an ankle at Towson in late March.
UVA-OF-Brandon Downes: Downes (.315/.408/.583) is another powerful sophomore outfielder for the Cavaliers. His bat has a lot of pop and he is an exciting player to watch, but he does have a lot of swing and miss in his game (striking out once every four at bats). Hokie pitchers should be able to exploit this weakness and limit his impact this weekend.
VT-3B-Chad Pinder: Pinder (.339/.431/.464) has been a much watch for many scouts and is sure to be high round selection in the draft on June 6th. Arguably one of the smoothest fielding third basemen in the ACC, he has also come into his own at the plate; currently leading the team in several offensive categories.
VT-OF-Andrew Rash: After a breakout sophomore season, Rash struggled to produce during his junior campaign. As a senior leader, however, he has once again found his stroke, leading the team in doubles, homeruns, RBI, and slugging percentage. In the Hokies’ two wins at Maryland and Tuesday’s victory at VMI, Rash was a combined 6 for 12 with 5 extra base hits and 7 RBI. Look for him to stay hot coming into the weekend.
Keys to Hokie Victory: In order to win the series, the Hokies need to keep the score under control and be able to jump on the mistakes that the UVA pitchers make. That being said, the wildcard this weekend’s series is going to be the Virginia Tech pitching staff. The Hokie lineup has done a great job of capitalizing on errors and bad pitches in order producing runs off of successful pitchers this season. However, the Tech pitchers need to show up and go deep into the games in order to keep the team within striking distance.
Prediction: UVA will take the series, winning 2 of the 3 games.