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O’Connor on College World Series loss: ‘Unacceptable. That’s not Virginia Baseball.’

Chris Graham
griff o'ferrall uva baseball
Photo: UVA Athletics

Brian O’Connor wasn’t happy with his UVA team after the 3-2 loss to North Carolina in the opening game of the 2024 College World Series, and made that much obvious in his postgame, on-the-field talk with his team.

He was still visibly frustrated as he talked with reporters in the underbelly of Charles Schwab Field several minutes later.

“We’re frustrated because we just don’t believe that we played a very good baseball game today,” said O’Connor, whose team has now lost three straight one-run CWS games in the past two years.

The most frustrating thing to this has to be, O’Connor and his players, literally just yesterday, after taking the field for their pre-College World Series practice, talked at length about how they’d realized they needed to put more focus on the finer details than they did last year, when, the consensus seemed to be, everybody was kinda, sorta, just happy to be there.

To hear O’Connor break it down after the Game 1 loss, everything that could have gone wrong, did.

Missed signs. Three missed opportunities to get an extra base off pitches in the dirt. A failure to adjust the approach at the plate to the ballpark, which was playing like that 617-yard par-5 at Pinehurst No. 2.

“We didn’t make an adjustment,” shortstop and leadoff man Griff O’Ferrall said. “We knew that after the first couple of innings, and we kept hitting the ball in the air. Even if it was barreled, it wasn’t going anywhere.”

Twelve flyball outs into the dead Omaha air, the box score tells us.

Ten runners left on base – bases loaded in the first, first and third in the third, first and second in the fourth, a leadoff walk stranded at first in the fifth, a runner at third in the sixth, a runner at second in the seventh.

Virginia was 3-for-17 with runners on base and 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

“It’s us getting locked into what we do and being more opportunistic. We were not opportunistic today. We had a lot of opportunities with multiple runners in scoring position, and just couldn’t get a big hit,” O’Connor said.

The talk all week from the UVA side was about knowing that the difference between winning and losing at the CWS is “the margins.”

“That’s on me as the leader,” O’Connor said. “My responsibility is to make sure that they’re prepared for the fine details. I spoke about it in the opening press conference. At this time of the year, it’s the margins. Your margin for error is so small, and you’ve got to be on top of everything to win in Omaha.”

Back to his message to his team after the game.

“Be better. Be better, period. End of story. Unacceptable. That’s not Virginia Baseball,” O’Connor said.

“What I’m talking about is the small details. Every coach sits up here and talks about it this time of the year. They did it, and we didn’t. So, period, end of story, we have to be better. And if we’re better, then we’ll have an opportunity to win and potentially move forward,” O’Connor said.

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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