Baseball: #21 Virginia hosts Boston College in ACC weekend series

uva baseballNo. 21 Virginia (11-6, 1-2 ACC) will play its first home Atlantic Coast Conference series this weekend when it hosts Boston College (6-8, 1-2 ACC) at Disharoon Park. The series opener is scheduled for Friday (March 16) at 4 p.m. Games two (March 17) and three (March 18) will both begin at 1 p.m.

Game Coverage: All three games will be carried live on ACC Network Extra, a dedicated digital channel for ACC sports which is available to authenticated subscribers of ESPN3 through WatchESPN and the ESPN app at no additional charge.

The middle game of the three-game set can be heard on WINA 1070 AM/98.9 FM as well as online on WINA.com. All three contests will feature live stats with links also available on VirginiaSports.com. Fans can follow in-game updates on the team’s official twitter page (@UVABaseball).

Promotions: Sunday will mark the first ACC Family Day presented by Stick’s. The Family Ticket Package offers four General Admission tickets and four concession vouchers (each valid for $8 worth of concessions) for $40. Additional tickets (including $8 concessions voucher) are available for $10 for General Admission.

The first set of UVA baseball trading cards will be available on Sunday to first 1,000 fans. Kids can get postgame autographs and kids run the bases after the conclusion of Sunday’s game.

Leading Off

  • Virginia has won its last three games at Disharoon Park and own an 8-3 mark at home this season.
  • The Cavaliers are 11-3 under Brian O’Connor in ACC home openers and have lost only two home opening ACC series in the last 14 seasons (2004, 2015)
  • Virginia and Boston College meet in league play for the first time since 2016 in which the Eagles captured their first ever series win over the Cavaliers in Chestnut Hill.
  • Boston College is winless in all 12 previous games in Charlottesville.
  • This marks the fourth time Virginia has opened up its ACC home slate against Boston College (2008, 2010, 2014).

Midweek Recap

  • Virginia walked off with its 11th victory of the seasonon Wednesdayagainst James Madison. Freshman Tanner Morris delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning that scored Alex Tappen.
  • Starting pitcher Bobby Nicholson established career-highs in innings pitched (6.0) and strikeouts (7) but did not factor in the decision. Between 2017 and 2018, the Cavaliers are 4-0 in games Nicholson starts.

Tight Games

  • Wednesdaymarked the fifth come-from-behind win and third in walk-off fashion for the Cavaliers this season.
  • Virginia has played in seven one-run games in 2018 in which it boasts a 5-2 record.
  • The Cavaliers have played in two extra-inning affairs this season, including an11-inning no-hitter against William & Mary on Feb. 28.In a combined 119 games between 2016 and 2017, the Cavaliers were only involved in four extra-inning contests.

Last time vs. BC

  • After posting a shutout in the series opener, Virginia fell in the final two games to BC in its final at bat. • In the middle game, Boston College scored thegame-winning run in the ninthon an errant throw to first in an attempt to complete an inning-ending strikeout.
  • The Eaglesclinched the serieson Sunday with walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th inning. The five-hour, one-minute game was the longest by time in program history and the third longest overall.
  • Only five players on the current roster (Charlie Cody, Nate Eikhoff, Jack Gerstenmaier, Justin Novak and Bennett Sousa) have appeared in a game against BC.

All Starts on the Mound

  • As a staff, Virginia pitchers come into the weekend striking out 11.1 batters per nine innings, the fifth highest total in the country.
  • Virginia starting pitchers have produced quality starts in three consecutive games and seven overall.
  • Each pitcher in the weekend rotation has been credited with a pair of quality starts and in 12 combined starts, all have pitched five or more innings.
  • Fridaynight’s starter, Derek Casey, leads the ACC and ranks fourth in the country in strikeouts with 41. He has fanned 10 or more batters in each of his last three starts, the first Cavalier to do so since Danny Hultzen in 2011.
  • Daniel Lynch had his best outing of the season last Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader at Duke. The lefty pitched seven innings and combined with Andrew Abbott for the team’s second shutout of the season.
  • Opponents are hitting a league-low, .117 against Evan Sperling this season. The sophomore struck out a career-best 12 batters in 6.1 innings pitched at Duke last week.

Player Trends/Notes

  • Nate Eikhoff comes into the weekend with a hit in each of his last 12 games. The hit streak matches Andy Weber for the longest on the club this season. Eikhoff has reached safely in all 17 games this season.
  • Freshman Alex Tappen has been Virginia’s hottest hitter over the past five games with a .412 average (7-for-17). He scored the game-winning runon Wednesdaynight after drawing a lead-off walk in the bottom of the ninth.
  • Senior Caleb Knight is tied for the team lead with 14 runs scored. He has reached base safely in 16 of the 17 games this season. He was hit by his seventh pitch of the season on Wednesday, the second most in the ACC. He has been plunked 20 times in 50 career games with the Cavaliers.
  • Bennett Sousa struck out the only batter he sawon Wednesdaynight, stranding two JMU runners in the top of the ninth. He was credited with his second win of the season and has now struck out 10 batters in his last 4.2 innings pitched.
  • Justin Novak leads the team in batting with a .345 average. He had an 11-game hit streak snapped last weekend at Duke.

Noting BC

  • The Eagles have yet to play a home game this season and have played baseball in four states over the first month of college baseball.
  • BC won 11 conference games last season and has now competed in consecutive ACC Championships or the first time since 2009-10.
  • BC avoided the sweep last weekend at NC State with an 11-3 win in the nightcap of aSaturdaydoubleheader. The Eagles had a 1-0 lead going into the eighth inning before a two-run homer by Wolfpack shortstop, Will Wilson that proved to be the difference in 2-1 NC State victory.
  • Freshman Chris Galland leads the ACC with a .514 batting average (18-for-35). The right-handed hitting outfielder has seven multi-hit games this season and is slugging .708, fourth highest percentage in the league.
  • The Boston College pitching staff has an ACC-high, 6.66 ERA, more than a run higher than its next highest ACC counterpart.

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