newsvirginia limping toward early exit from ncaa tournament

Virginia limping toward early exit from NCAA Tournament

Chris Graham
uva baseball
Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Virginia was 26-3 and ranked as high as second in the national polls heading into its road trip to then-#5 Miami in early April. It’s looking likely now that the Cavaliers won’t even be hosting a regional when the NCAA Tournament field is announced next week.

The ‘Hoos were run-ruled, 13-3, on Wednesday at the ACC Baseball Championship by Florida State, the first time that a Brian O’Connor-led Virginia team fell victim to the mercy rule.

“I’ve coached in this tournament for 19 years, and we’ve never been beaten like that,” O’Connor said after the loss, which dropped UVA to 38-16.

That works out to a 12-13 mark since April 8 – basically an inverse of 2021, which saw Virginia sitting at 11-14 after a loss in early April, then closing out the regular season with a 16-8 mark, before winning two of three at the ACC Baseball Championship to eek out an invite to the NCAA Tournament.

That, memorably, turned into an improbable run to the 2021 College World Series.

It’s hard to fathom that a team that was 26-3 a month ago is about to limp into the postseason, but that’s where things are.

The team now is a different team from what it was at 26-3. The 12-13 ‘Hoos are hitting .286 as a team, averaging 6.9 runs per game, with the staff pitching to a 5.47 team ERA.

The 26-3 ‘Hoos: .337 team batting average, 10.2 runs per game, 2.71 team ERA.

Virginia sits at 20 in the RPI at the moment. Even with a win over Notre Dame on Friday in Charlotte, it’s hard to see them bumping up more than a couple of spots.

The top 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament field host regionals. Virginia Athletics sent season-ticket holders an email inviting them to buy tickets to a Charlottesville Regional next weekend.

It’s not likely to happen.

Also not likely to happen: this Virginia team getting past the opening weekend.

Story by Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris has won 17 Virginia Press Association awards for his work as an investigative reporter, feature writer and columnist. Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, both published in 2019, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, Want to reach Chris? Try [email protected].

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