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O’Connor sets weekend starting rotation for #5 UVA’s season-opening series with UConn

uva logo bluePreseason All-American Andrew Abbott will get the ball for #5 Virginia in the Cavaliers’ season opener on Friday against UConn.

Abbott, a senior, is making the move from the bullpen, where he was dominant over the past three seasons – 165Ks in 128.1 IP, including 28 in 13.1 IP in 2020, in which he was 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in nine appearances.

Abbott taking over as the Friday night starter pushes everybody else back a day.

Griff McGarry (3-0, 1.35 ERA in four starts in 2020) will start on Saturday, and Mike Vasil (2-0, 2.45 ERA in four starts in 2020) moves to Sunday.

Nate Savino (1-0, 3.38 ERA in three starts in 2020), the top-rated college prospect in the 2022 MLB Draft class, per Baseball America, will be available out of the bullpen this weekend, UVA coach Brian O’Connor said Thursday, and if he’s not used in long relief this weekend, he would be in line to get the start against VMI on Tuesday.

“Obviously, those guys all have some really great experience,” O’Connor said. “It’s been well-documented about Abbott’s move to the rotation. And then, you know, the guy that was starting for you on Fridays last year, McGarry, he’s moving to Game 2, at least this weekend. And then, you know, candidly, Mike Vasil, if you look at his statistics, he was our most consistent starter last year, so, you know, I’m excited about where we’re at.”

O’Connor stressed that Savino’s move to the ‘pen or mid-week isn’t a demotion.

“Nate Savino is doing great. It wasn’t anything other than I think we have four really great guys, and we’ll do what we have to do to win each game,” O’Connor said. “Nate’s very, very talented, he’s still learning, right. I mean, he’s only been in college baseball for 11 innings, you know, and so even though he arrived here a year ago, we all know what’s transpired over the last 11 months. So there hasn’t been a lot of opportunities to really, really develop in game competition. So, you know, he looks good, he looks very good.

“It makes you feel good about all four of those options,” O’Connor said. “Things change and adapt as the season goes on. Things happen. We all know that. It’s a long season, and it’s you feel good about all four of those guys, no matter when they’re starting. Every game is critical. I feel good about all of them.”

UVA Baseball Notebook

Friday – 3 p.m.

  • UConn: RHP Ben Casparius
  • Virginia: LHP Andrew Abbott (3-0, 1.35 ERA, 13.1 IP, 8 BB, 28 SO)

Saturday – 1 p.m.

  • UConn: RHP Joe Simeone (1-1, 3.00 ERA, 15.0 IP, 13 BB, 23 SO)
  • Virginia: RHP Griff McGarry (3-0, 1.35 ERA, 20.0 IP, 19 BB, 31 SO)

Sunday – 1 p.m.

  • UConn: TBA
  • Virginia: RHP Mike Vasil  2-0, 2.45 ERA, 22.0 IP, 10 BB, 23 SO

*2020 statistics

Broadcast coverage

The entire series will be carried live on ACCNX, available to authenticated subscribers of ACC Network via the ESPN App. In addition, Friday and Sunday’s game can be heard locally in Charlottesville on WINA 98.9 FM/1070 AM and anywhere on WINA.com.

Links for broadcasts and in-game live stats are available on VirginiaSports.com.

Fans can also follow the Virginia baseball official twitter account (@UVABaseball) for in-game updates.

Story by Chris Graham


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