Does UVA baseball still host an NCAA regional?

virginia baseballUVA baseball fans know that a bad week at the ACC Baseball Championship means nothing when it comes to the games that really matter.

That would be next week when NCAA regional play begins.

The 2015 Cavs, you remember, went 0-3 in pool play at the ACC Tournament, got sent on the road in the NCAA regionals, as a three seed, made it through that weekend, then the Super Regionals, went back to the College World Series, and brought home the program’s first national championship with a stirring run in Omaha.

So starting out 0-2 in Durham is no cause for alarm.

It can be, though, cause for frustration for Virginia fans who selfishly want to watch their team open NCAA play at home next weekend.

The ‘Hoos were ranked as high as seventh in the national polls this week, but after losing back-to-back games at the ACC Baseball Championship, the latest rendering of the RPI has UVA at 18th.

Sixteen schools host NCAA regional play, as long-time fans are very well aware.

Going into the week, the focus of fans was on the outside shot that the Cavs had of inserting themselves into the mix for a top eight national seed, which would have guaranteed home-field advantage through the first two weekends of the NCAAs.

That hope is clearly gone now, and if Virginia falls short on Saturday night in its ACC finale with Louisville, you have to assume that the ‘Hoos will be sent on the road for the first weekend.

Which, again, isn’t the worst possible news. Baseball is about matchups, and more than anything else it’s about how hot your pitching is at any particular time.

That’s what should concern UVA fans more than anything, even more than where their team is going to play next weekend.

Ace Connor Jones (11-1, 2.29 ERA) hasn’t looked good his past two starts – gutting his way through five innings in an 8-3 win last week over Virginia Tech, allowing three runs on five hits with five walks, then looking similarly unspectacular in a no-decision in UVA’s 5-4 loss to Clemson on Thursday, allowing four runs on four hits with four more walks in six innings in that outing.

Virginia’s formula the past several weeks has been solid outing from Jones, solid outing from Adam Haseley (8-3, 1.73 ERA), then figure out something when Alec Bettinger (2-5, 5.69 ERA) has his turn.

You have to fear that Jones has hit some sort of wall, and if that’s the case, it won’t matter where the Cavs play next weekend.

Column by Chris Graham

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