Home MVP? Connor Jones, again, comes up big for UVA baseball

MVP? Connor Jones, again, comes up big for UVA baseball

connor jonesConnor Jones has just two wins in his last six starts, but that factoid goes to show you how worthless the win stat can be in baseball. Jones has not only been the best pitcher on the UVA staff this season, he’s the key reason the Cavs are still playing baseball, and right now two games away from the program’s sixth Super Regional in seven seasons.

Jones pitched into the eighth in Virginia’s 6-1 win over Southern Cal on Friday in the opening game of the Lake Elsinore Regional, giving up a run on five hits in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out four and walking two.

That he did so in the pressure cooker that was a 0-0 game into the seventh inning, with USC starter Kyle Davis taking a no-hitter into the seventh, adds to the significance of what Jones was able to do Friday.

There was no margin for error for Jones, even after he’d been staked to a 3-0 lead, after the ‘Hoos plated two in the seventh and one in the eighth, every one of his 114 pitches fraught with peril.

But it’s been that way since mid-April for Jones, who despite having just the two wins in his last six starts, dating back to the weekend that All-America ace lefty Nathan Kirby went down with a strained lat muscle, has gone at least seven innings in each of those six starts, and Virginia has gone 5-1 in those games, the lone loss being the 9-5 defeat to Miami last week in the ACC Tournament, which Jones left in the eighth inning with a 5-2 lead.

Jones has been nothing short of brilliant of late. Over his last six starts, he has a 2.01 ERA in 44 and two-thirds innings, striking out 50, walking 16 and allowing 32 hits.

He’s done his job getting UVA to the NCAA Tournament and getting them to Saturday in the regionals with a 1-0 record.

Whatever happens from here on out, Connor Jones is the 2015 Virginia baseball MVP. And it’s not even close that this is the case.

– Column by Chris Graham



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