Home Pitching woes continue for #9 Virginia: Jaxel rocked again in 14-10 loss at Louisville

Pitching woes continue for #9 Virginia: Jaxel rocked again in 14-10 loss at Louisville

Chris Graham

uva logo blue Kevin Jaxel got lit up, again, this time for five runs in a nightmare first inning that put #9 Virginia behind the eight-ball, in what turned into a 14-10 loss in Game 2 at Louisville on Saturday.

The hard reality: it’s going to be hard to take Virginia seriously as a College World Series contender with just one starting pitcher worth anything.

Jaxel (4-1, 10.65 ERA) would seem to have pitched himself out of the rotation after being charged with five runs on five hits and two walks in his inning of work in Saturday’s loss.

It was the second straight disastrous start for Jaxel. Last week, in a 12-7 Virginia loss to North Carolina, Jaxel gave up six runs on seven hits and two walks in two innings of work.

Back to Saturday: the pitching sucked, and the defense was also treading water, committing four errors, including a Casey Saucke drop on a routine fly ball to right field, and another drop, on a pop-up down the left-field line, by third baseman Luke Hanson, that somehow went into the books as a two-run double, and keyed a three-run Louisville sixth.

Virginia (27-8, 10-7 ACC) had battled back from an early 9-1 deficit to cut its deficit to 9-5 by that point.

It would get as bad as 14-5, but an Eric Becker two-run single in the eighth and a three-run pinch-hit homer from Aidan Teel got the Cavaliers to double-digits.

The loss was the second of the season for Virginia in which it scored 10 or more runs.

You’re not supposed to lose those games.

Virginia leads the ACC and is tied for third in the nation in scoring (10.3 runs per game), but that 5.67 team ERA, which ranks 10th in the ACC and 133rd nationally, is going to be a problem.

Brian O’Connor continues his search for answers in his pitching rotation with the move to try Penn grad transfer Owen Coady (1-0, 2.60 ERA) as the starter on Sunday.

Coady has made two starts this season, the most recent on March 5 in a 6-3 win over Penn State, in which he got a no-decision after giving up three runs on seven hits in four and two-thirds innings, striking out five.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham 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].