UVa. scored a run in the third inning on Sunday in its series finale with Clemson on a sacrifice fly off the bat of mike papi that plated Robbie Coman from third base. Who knew then, but that was to be the only run in what turned out to be a 1-0 win for the second-ranked Cavs, who it would be understating things to say have been playing a lot of low-scoring ACC games in 2014.
“College baseball game are hard to win,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said after the series-clinching W, which played a lot like the 3-2 UVa. win on Friday night, though you have to say that the opener was an offensive explosion compared to the finale.
The two teams combined to put 16 runners on base – Clemson getting eight hits and a walk, Virginia getting four hits and three walks – in 64 plate appearances on Sunday. For the weekend, the Cavs and the #14 Tigers put up a grand total of 14 runs on the board all weekend, seven of those coming in two big innings from Clemson, a three-run sixth and a four-run seventh, in their 7-1 win on Saturday.
Which means that Virginia got out of the weekend with two wins while scoring all of five runs in three games.
Virginia is averaging 3.6 runs per game in ACC play, and yet is somehow 14-4 in the conference and tied for first in the Coastal Division (with Miami) and tied for the best record in the ACC overall (Atlantic Division leader Florida State is also 14-4 in the ACC).
The somehow is a 2.14 taam ERA in ACC play, by far the best in the ACC, and more than a run per game better than Miami or FSU. So this is a team equipped to win 1-0 games, but that doesn’t make them any easier to endure, if you’re a coach, player or fan.
“As a fan, you have to appreciate the little details of the game. You have to appreciate a 1-0 shutout, a great pitched game,” O’Connor said. “It might not be that exciting, because there’s not a lot of offensive explosion, but you have to appreciate great defense.”
Starting pitcher Brandon Waddell was part of a second straight Sunday shutout for UVa. Waddell was the linchpin of the Cavs’ 3-0 Sunday win that clinched a series at Pitt last weekend, and he put up 6.1 innings of scoreless work this Sunday in the win over Clemson.
“It’s definitely not as exciting as it used to be for fans with all the home runs and everything like that,”
Waddell said. “But I think if you truly know the game, and you truly are a big fan, you really do appreciate that. You realize all the work and the great plays and everything that goes into a 1-0 game, and the kind of stuff that it takes to stay on top of those games.”