UVA Weekend Preview

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.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


What do the Hokies realistically need to do down the stretch to qualify for the ACC tournament? If i remember correctly its the top two teams from each division and then the 6 best teams after that, regardless of division correct? If the season ended right now they are in right? Thanks for your features.

If I remember correctly, the ACC tournament is 8 teams; top 2 from each division, and four best conference records after that. If this is correct, and the season ended today, Tech would squeeze into the last seed. That being said, after this weekend's series against a very good UVA team, Tech has two more conference series against teams that are below .500 in conference (Boston College (6-34, 0-20 ACC) and Wake Forest (24-20, 7-14). So if we were able to avoid a sweep this weekend, I'd venture to say that chances would be very good that you'd see Tech playing in Durham.

That UNC series was a huge letdown, so hopefully they can pull it together and take 2 of 3 from UVA. What's the deal with our 2nd baseman? They were switching him around to avoid being hit to, is that something we should expect to keep seeing?

And one more thing, do we really not have a better shortstop than Perez? He is an average to below average fielder and is batting sub-.200

Rip his freaking head off!

I agree not being able to take a game against UNC was disappointing, but that's what happens when you try to out-slug the best offensive team in the country.
I also agree that our middle infield has been a disappointment this season. The only reason I can come up with that Brendon Hayden is playing second is because we need to have his bat in the lineup and he doesn't really fit anywhere else. The other option at second base is freshman Matt Dauby, who has actually impressed me quite a bit this year, but does have 8 errors on the season.
Sadly, we really don't have a better shortstop option than Perez (at least that I've seen). He has great range at short and an above average arm, but he certainly doesn't have the hands for the position. Pinder has played some short in key situations this year, but he is our best defensive option at third so it is tough to justify that move too often. I have noticed that Coach Hughes seems to like the double play combination of Pinder and Perez so they will occasionally move Hayden to third for the play to allow those two to try and work the GDP in the middle infield.

Oh, and I forgot to specify at the beginning of the article, but a player's "slashes" following their names are (batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage)

Thanks Aidan for the great preview!!

I'm super excited because I'll be in town and the whole family will be going to Sunday's game! I went to high school with one of the UVA players, which is part of why we're going, but we're also hoping to see a Hokie win!

I want to take the series. I'd love to get two on them. But if Tech can take one against UVA, I'll be pleased. UVA is a SOLID ball team. But they're beatable. Tech needs to get on the board first to put the pressure on and play absolutely flawless defense.

We'll also get a look at how mentally tough our boys are. UVA can put teams in tough situations and we'll see how the Hokies handle the pressure. And it will give us an idea of how the team might hold up in the field of 64. *fingers crossed*

Those were 2 HUGE wins. This team has a legit shot at the NCAA tournament now. Just have to finish the season strong, an above .500 finish in the ACC is entirely possible.

Rip his freaking head off!

If you weren't at English Field today, you missed a great Hokie performance! The bats were hot and it was glorious. Hokieball was ON tonight, y'all.

If that's the ball team that comes out of the dugout the rest of the season, they will make the NCAA tournament.

Tech won the series! LOVE IT. This girl is happy, happy, happy.