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Series Preview: Virginia needs to take care of business at Boston College

uva athleticsVirginia will play its final three games of the regular season at Boston College beginning Thursday at Harrington Athletics Village. The series opener is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. first pitch and all three contests will air on ACCNX.

Game Coverage

ACCNX is available to authenticated subscribers of ACC Network via the ESPN App. In addition, Thursday and Friday’s game can be heard locally on WINA (98.9 FM/1070 AM) and anywhere on WINA.com.

Links for the broadcast 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.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Thursday – 5:30 p.m.

  • Virginia: LHP Andrew Abbott (6-5, 3.12 ERA, 75.0 IP, 24 BB, 115 SO)
  • Boston College: RHP Emmet Sheehan (5-4, 3.89 ERA, 71.2 IP, 30 BB, 102 SO)

Friday – 2 p.m.

  • Virginia: RHP Mike Vasil (6-4, 4.40 ERA, 61.1 IP, 13 BB, 57 SO)
  • Boston College: RHP Mason Pelio (3-7, 6.33 ERA, 61.2 IP, 38 BB, 54 SO)

Saturday – 11 a.m.

  • Virginia: LHP Nate Savino (2-2, 3.43 ERA, 39.1 IP, 10 BB, 24 SO)
  • Boston College: TBA

The Stakes

The good news: Virginia took care of business this past weekend with a sweep of Wake Forest. The reality: gonna have to do it again this weekend on the road at Boston College.

UVA (25-21, 16-17 ACC) actually dropped three spots in the RPI ratings, from 44 to 47, even with the sweep of the Demon Deacons (17-26, 7-22 ACC, RPI: 96).

Boston College (20-25, 9-21 ACC, RPI: 94) is another weekend fraught with RPI peril for the ‘Hoos. For one, this is a team that took two of three from Miami (29-16, 17-15 ACC, RPI: 22), Duke (24-20, 13-17 ACC, RPI: 43), has single wins over Notre Dame (26-10, 22-10 ACC, RPI: 13), Pitt (22-16, 16-14 ACC, RPI: 41), UNC (24-22, 17-16 ACC, RPI: 45), Florida State (28-19, 19-14 ACC, RPI: 48) and Virginia Tech (27-20, 27-20, 16-17 ACC, RPI: 52).

Notice a trend there? The Eagles have been eliminated from contention for one of the 12 spots in the 2021 ACC Tournament in Charlotte coming up next week, but they’ve got some serious pelts.

And BC has a Friday night guy in Emmet Sheehan (5-4, 3.89 ERA, .202 opp BA, 1.16 WHIP, 102K/30BB in 71.2 IP) who is the real deal.

In his last four starts – against FSU, Notre Dame, Miami and Pitt – Sheehan has a 2.48 ERA, 43K/11BB and 14 hits allowed in 25.1 IP.

Dude can deal, basically.

And the Saturday guy, Mason Pelio (3-6, 5.79 ERA, .284 opp BA, 1.71 WHIP) might not scare you with his numbers, but the past three weekends, he has been effective – going at least six innings in each start, with a 3.00 ERA, with 16K/9BB and 18 hits allowed in his 18 innings against Notre Dame, Miami and Pitt.

Point being, it won’t be easy, and even taking two of three likely has Virginia dropping another spot or two in the RPI.

Sort of a lose-lose, when you think of it that way.

Team Notes

  • Virginia has clinched a spot in next weekend’s ACC Tournament taking place in Charlotte and is either tied or within a game of seven different schools in the win column.
  • The Cavaliers come into the weekend winners of five of the last six ACC series, including three-straight.
  • Virginia has won eight of its last 11 games and are coming off its first ACC series sweep of the season.
  • The Cavaliers are 9-9 away from Disharoon Park this season, and have won their last three road ACC series.
  • Virginia has reached 16 ACC wins for the first time since the 2017 season, when it won 18 games in the league.
  • The series against Boston College will be the first between the two schools since 2018. Only two Cavalier position players on the current roster, Alex Tappen and Devin Ortiz, played in all three games.

Pitching Staff

  • Virginia’s team ERA of 3.76 is the second lowest only to Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference and ranks 25th in the NCAA.
  • As a staff, Virginia ranks 11th in the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings (10.8) and 17thin total strikeouts (492).
  • The Cavaliers have struck out 10 or batters in 10 of the last 12 games and a total of 31 times this season. Virginia is 19-12 when fanning 10 or more batters in game.
  • Thursday night starting pitcher Andrew Abbott enters the weekend ranked first in the ACC and third in the country behind Vanderbilt’s Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker with 115 strikeouts. The 115 punch outs are the sixth most in a single season by a UVA pitcher and Abbott is nine strikeouts shy of matching Seth Greisinger for second all-time on UVA’s career strikeout list.
  • Among active NCAA pitchers, Abbott’s 13.75 career strikeouts per nine innings is the third highest in all of college baseball.
  • Abbott and Mike Vasil are looking to become the first UVA pitchers to reach seven wins since Derek Casey went 7-4 in 2018. Virginia hasn’t had a pair of pitchers win seven games since Adam Haseley, Alec Bettinger and Daniel Lynch one seven-plus in 2017.
  • Vasil is responsible for six of the 12 quality starts produced by Virginia pitchers this season.
  • Over his last two starts, Nate Savino has thrown 13 innings, allowed three earned runs, walked two and struck out eight. Against Virginia Tech on May 2nd he threw 65 pitches in a career-high seven innings. Virginia is 6-2 in games he starts his season.
  • Closer Stephen Schoch’s 25 career saves are the fourth most among active NCAA pitchers. His 12 in two seasons at UVA are tied for the 10thmost in school history. His seven this season are the second amongst ACC closers.

Offense Notes

  • Freshman Jake Gelof has started eight straight games at first base and has multi-hit efforts in four of them. Against Wake Forest the first year 5-for-11 (.455) with two doubles, a triple, four runs, four walks and five RBI. He clinched the series with a walk-off single in the ninth of game two.
  • Appearing in only his fourth game since April 1 and playing in his last game at Disharoon Park, senior Christian Hlinka capped an unforgettable weekend with a walk-off double in the ninth inning of game three against Wake Forest. He came on earlier in the contest as a pinch-hitter recorded only his second hit in as many days.
  • Alex Tappen and Brendan Rivoli are each responsible for eight home runs over the course of their Cavalier careers. Both hit their first home runs of the 2021 season in the weekend series against Wake Forest.
  • As a pinch-hitter this year, Tappen is 4-for-11 (.364) with three doubles and a home run. The four pinch-hits are the most on the team.
  • Sophomore Chris Newell will bring a hit streak of seven games into the series against BC, the longest active streak on the team and the longest of his young UVA career. His batting average has climbed 35 points since April 10 and Virginia is 11-6 in that span.
  • Zack Gelof moved to the leadoff spot on April 1 and has a hit in 19 of the 22 games from the top spot. He’s batting .337 (34-for-101) with six doubles, four home runs and 18 RBI batting first for Virginia.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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