Game Notes: UVA opens ACC Baseball Championship on Tuesday

acc baseballNo. 10 seed UVA (28-24) will begin its play in the 2018 ACC Baseball Championship on Tuesday (May 22) with a matchup in Pool C against Florida State (39-17) at 3 p.m. The Cavaliers are back in action on Thursday (May 24) when they square off against third-seeded NC State (40-14).

Game Coverage

Regional Sports Networks from across the conference footprint and across the nation will carry all 14 games on Tuesday through SaturdaySunday’s noon championship game will be televised nationally by ESPN2. All games will also be available on WatchESPN (subject to blackout).

Virginia’s home audio broadcast of its two pool play games can be heard live on WINA 1070AM/98.9 FM. The ACC will be carrying a national broadcast the ACC Channel on Sirius/XM 371.Links for the radio broadcast as well as the game’s live stats feed are available on VirginiaSports.com. Fans can follow in-game updates on the team’s official twitter page (@UVABaseball).

Tournament Format

The ACC Baseball Championship features a pool-play format, leading into a four-team, single-elimination bracket to determine the league champion. Each team in the four pools will play one game against each of the other two opponents in its pool Tuesday through Friday. The four teams with the best records within their respective pools will advance toSaturday’s semifinals at 1 and 5 p.m., with the winners playing at noon Sunday in the ACC Championship Game. In case of a tie at the end of pool play, the highest-seeded team in the pool advances to the semifinals.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tuesday (3 p.m.)

  • Virginia: LHP Daniel Lynch (4-4, 4.08 ERA, 81.2 IP, 20 BB, 98 SO)
  • Florida State: RHP CJ Van Eyk (6-0, 2.88 ERA, 50.0 IP, 24 BB, 61 SO)

Thursday (3 p.m.)

  • NC State: RHP Reid Johnston (7-0, 2.97 ERA, 57.2 IP, 10 BB, 45 SO)
  • Virginia: RHP Derek Casey (6-4, 3.58 ERA, 88.0 IP, 24 BB, 97 SO)

Leading Off

  • Virginia has been part of every ACC Tournament since its inception in 1973 and will make its 45th overall appearance.
  • The Cavaliers own a 51-74 overall record in the ACC postseason and have captured tournament crowns in 1996, 2009 and 2011.
  • Under head coach Brian O’Connor, the Cavaliers have a record of 26-20 overall mark in the ACC Tournament.
  • NC State and Florida State are two of the three ACC teams Virginia did not play in 2018. The Cavaliers took two out of three against the Seminoles in Tallahassee in 2017 and the Cavaliers haven’t squared off against the Wolfpack since 2016.

Season at a Glance

  • Pitching has been the backbone of the 2018 club, highlighted by starting pitchers Derek Casey and Daniel Lynch. Back end relievers Andrew Abbott and Bennett Sousa have combined for 11 saves and eight total wins.
  • As a staff, the Cavaliers rank second in the country in strikeouts per nine innings (10.5). Casey (97) and Lynch (98) are both closing in on a hundred strikeouts and would be the first Virginia duo to accomplish the feat since Danny Hultzen and Tyler Wilson in 2011.
  • Six pitchers combined for a bizarre, 11-inning no-hitter in a 4-3 win against William & Mary onFeb. 28. The Cavaliers committed four errors and were down 3-2 with two outs in the bottom of the 11th. The Tribe made a throwing error that allowed two runs to score and Virginia to walk-off with the program’s 6th no-hitter
  • A total of 37 percent of Virginia’s games have been decided by one run, the third highest percentage of any team in the country. The Cavaliers played six-straight one-run games from April 20-29, including three one-run losses at home to Clemson. Virginia is 10-9 in one-run games in 2018.
  • In a knack for exciting baseball, Virginia has staged 12 come-from-behind wins in 2018, including six in walk-off fashion. Of the 12 total weekend series 10 were decided by the final game.
  • The Cavaliers have been victims of the injury bug with All-American outfielder Jake McCarthy missing 37 games and 2017 All-ACC performer Cameron Simmons out for the year. Starting pitchers Noah Murdock, an ACC All-Freshman selection a year ago, andSundaystarter Evan Sperling have missed significant portions of the season. Senior catcher Caleb Knight, a Johnny Bench Award nominee, has missed 12 games and primarily seen action as a designated hitter since late March.

On the Offensive

  • In the final ACC series of the season, Virginia had its best offensive stretch of the year, scoring 30 runs and accumulating 41 hits in three games at Wake Forest. As a team, the Cavaliers batted .345 and hit 11 doubles and six home runs.
  • InFriday’smiddle game, Virginia scored nine runs in the ninth inning en route to a season-high 15 runs. On Saturday, the Cavaliers out-hit the Demon Deacons 17-16 despite a 18-12 loss.
  • Virginia went deep four times inFridaynight’s contest, the first time since 2014 when Robbie Coman, Joe McCarthy, Derek Fisher and Mike Papi all went yard against Richmond.
  • Junior Jack Weiller homered twice in the nine-run ninth inningon Friday. He went on to homer in three-straight at bats after a pinch-hit, three-run shot in the series finale. His bid for four-straight homers fell short when he hit the right field wall in which he settled for a double. He became the third player in NCAA Division I Baseball this season to homer in the same inning.

On the Mound

  • Virginia comes into the weekend averaging 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings, the second highest total in the country.
  • Three of the team’s seven shutouts have come in ACC play. The staff’s seven shutouts are tied for the fourth most in the country. Only 11 teams in the nation have seven or more shutouts in 2018.
  • Thursday’sstarter Derek Casey has produced a team-best eight quality starts and has pitched into the seventh inning in eight of his last 10 starts.
  • Daniel Lynch is two strikeouts shy of reaching 100 for the season. His 98 Ks are the seventh most in the league. Teammate Derek Casey’s 97 strikeouts are the eighth most in the league.
  • The last Virginia pitcher to record 100 strikeouts in a season was Connor Jones in 2015 with 113. The Cavaliers haven’t had a pitching duo each strike out 100 batters each since Danny Hultzen (165) and Tyler Wilson (124) in 2011.
  • As a pitching staff, Virginia owns a 2.73 strikeout to walk ratio, the second best in the ACC to Georgia Tech and 21st best in the country.
  • The relief combination of Bennett Sousa and Andrew Abbott have combined for eight wins and 11 saves. Seven of the 11 saves have been multi-inning saves.
  • Virginia starting pitchers have produced 19 quality starts (6 IP, 3 ER or less) this season, 13 have occurred in the 27 ACC games this season.

Player Notes

  • Senior Justin Novak comes into the tournament as the team’s hottest hitter over the past 10 games, batting .400 (12-for-30). He has four multi-hit performances in his last seven games, including two at Wake Forest over the Weekend.
  • Junior Andy Weber, the team’s lone First Team All-ACC selection, goes into the postseason with the league’s fifth best batting average (.342). He ranks in the top-10 in the league in doubles (18-2nd) and RBI (48-10th). He’s homered in back-to-back games coming into the tournament and has only been hitless in eight games this season.
  • After missing the previous 37 games due to injury, junior Jake McCarthy returned to the lineup against Georgia Tech on May 14. In five games he’s 9-for-22 (.409), with 3 runs and 6 RBI. He matched career-high with four hits in the season finale, exactly one year to the date of his last four-hit game. Despite missing significant time, he leads the team with eight stolen bases.
  • True freshman Alex Tappen is amidst a season-best, nine-game hit streak. He has put together multi-hit efforts in four of his last five games. Filling in for Cameron Simmons, he’s played all 52 games in right field, one of three Cavaliers to start every game.
  • Junior Nate Eikhoff was 6-for-12 (.500) with five runs scored, two doubles and five RBIs in the Wake Forest. Both of his three-hit efforts this season have come in the last five games. He has multi-hit efforts in four of his last six games.