Home If you’re worried about Brian O’Connor, UVA Baseball, well, you know, don’t
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If you’re worried about Brian O’Connor, UVA Baseball, well, you know, don’t

Chris Graham
uva baseball brian o'connor
Photo: Chris Graham/AFP

There’s a sentiment out there among some UVA fans, those who take after Pat Forde, of “Towering Fraud” infamy, that getting knocked out early in the College World Series three of the past four years is somehow a blemish on Brian O’Connor.

So, OK, I look at it this way – getting to the College World Series is like getting to an Elite Eight in basketball.

O’Connor has had his Virginia teams in seven of the past 15 College World Series.

Imagine, and this is no knock on Tony Bennett, but imagine if Tony Bennett had seven Elite Eights on his resume.

(He’s been to two – in 2016, and then in 2019, when he won his national title.)

“We’ve certainly made a couple of deep runs, and we haven’t the last two years, this year and last year. That’s frustrating, disappointing. Nobody likes to go two-and-out. There’s going to be two teams in this tournament every year that do,” O’Connor said after Sunday’s 7-3 loss to Florida State, which ended Virginia’s stay in the 2024 College World Series.

The questions that have hounded Bennett since the 2019 national title run – in particular, about the offense, and the impact of the transfer portal on NIL on his approach to developing players – come against a backdrop of the uncomfortable reality that UVA Basketball hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since cutting down the nets in Minneapolis.

O’Connor, meanwhile, since his national title in 2015, had a brief spell between that run and his next CWS appearance, in 2021, where you had reason to, maybe, worry a smidge about how things were going.

But, man, coming up empty in three trips to Omaha in four years being viewed as cause for alarm, that’s a bit much.

“I don’t think it’s anything with regards to the program or anything,” O’Connor told reporters after the loss on Sunday. “We’re proud of making our seventh trip, but I feel like we absolutely know what it takes to win in Omaha. You’ve just got to get the guys to do it. And when you come here enough, there’s going to be times that you don’t perform real well.

“We’re really, really close,” O’Connor said. “We were really close last year, and just have to be focused on being a little bit, as you said, that 1 percent, a little bit better. And we weren’t that this weekend.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].

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