October 30, 2020

Independent analysis and commentary on UVA athletics

Midweek Games – UMass Lowell

The Hoos wrap up a fifteen game homestand with momentum at their back. Coming off a thrilling series win over 7th ranked NC State, the homestand concludes with two games against UMass Lowell. With a road trip to Pittsburgh looming, UVA will look to avoid a letdown against the River Hawks.

Team Records

Virginia: 12-4 (Overall), 2-1 (ACC)

UMass Lowell: 4-9 (Overall), 0-0 (America East)

Game Schedule

Tuesday, March 10 – 1:00 PM

Wednesday, March 11 – 11:00 AM

Stats Check

Batting

Format will be raw stat and then D1 rank (of 298). Info is as of games played on March 8, 2020 to include RPI and SOS.

TEAM OBP SLG RUNS/GAME
UML .360 (128) .357 (159) 5.1 (165)
UVA .406 (23) .504 (12) 8.4 (15)

OBP = On Base Percentage

SLG = Slugging Percentage

If you add OBP and SLG, you get OPS.

Pitching

TEAM ERA K/9 BB/9
UML 6.92 (253) 8.6 (159) 7.01 (288)
UVA 3.31 (67) 11.5 (17) 4.75 (195)

K/9 = Strikeouts Per 9 Innings

BB/9 = Walks Per 9 Innings

Miscellaneous

TEAM FLD % RPI SOS
UML .944 (282) 255 255
UVA .958 (219) 57 89

FLD % = Fielding Percentage

SOS = Strength Of Schedule

Note that all stats are from NCAA.com. RPI data is from NCAA.com. Strength of schedule info is from WarrenNolan.com.

Series History

This will be the first matchup between the programs.

Projected Starting Pitchers

Tuesday – UVA: RHP Matt Wyatt (0-0, 4.50 ERA, 8.0 IP, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts) vs UMass Lowell: RHP Gerry Siracusa (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts)

Siracusa, a sophomore righty, will make just his second pitching appearance of the year against UVA on Tuesday. And it will be the second career start for the UMass Lowell outfielder. 

Last season as a freshman, Siracusa made 17 total appearances as a pitcher. Of those appearances, 16 were as a reliever and 1 was a start. He completed his freshman season with a 1-3 record and 4.63 ERA. Siracusa pitched a total of 23.1 innings as a freshman. He walked 18 and struck out 12.

In his one outing as a sophomore this year, Siracusa pitched 3.0 innings of relief against Canisius during college baseball’s opening weekend. In the 14 to 4 victory for the River Hawks, Siracusa picked up the win. He allowed no runs, just 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. 

Siracusa is an excellent athlete as he also handles center field for UMass Lowell.

Wednesday – UVA: TBD vs UMass Lowell: TBD

Neither team was prepared to name a starter for Wednesday morning’s contest. It’s not unreasonable to expect a staff day from each team.

Weather Watch

While we all prefer clear skies, 70 degree temps, and a pleasant breeze, that’s not what we’ll get on Tuesday.

At game time, the temperature will be close, at least. Expect temps in the mid to upper 60s throughout the afternoon. Skies will be mostly cloudy. And there’s a 20% chance of rain at first pitch. That will drop to 15% throughout the game.

Winds could be a factor on Tuesday. They’ll be around 15 MPH during the game.

The game on Wednesday morning will have temps about ten degrees cooler in the mid to upper 50s. Skies will still be mostly cloudy. Wind will not be an issue. Neither will be precipitation as the chance of rain is at 5% and falling throughout the contest.

Media Coverage

ACC Network Xtra will have live streaming of each game. Fans that have access to the ACC Network through their providers can view ACC Network Xtra through their favorite ESPN streaming platform.

There will not be a radio broadcast available for the two games.

River Hawks To Watch

Senior catcher Ciaran Devenney is the headliner on this UMass Lowell team. He won First Team All-America East honors as a junior in 2019. Devenney posted a slash line of .287 / .446 / .566 during his junior campaign. The .446 on base percentage and .566 slugging percentage combined for an impressive OPS of 1.012. The OPS, on base percentage, and slugging were all team leading numbers. He also posted the team lead with 7 homers. 

Thus far in 2020, Devenney is off to a bit of a slow start. His slash line is only .229 / .391 / .400 to date. His 10 walks are tied for second on the team.

The most dangerous batter to date has been junior outfielder Vinnie Martin. He currently leads the team in hits (19), doubles (4), homers (2), walks (11), slugging (.725), batting average (.475), on base percentage (.596), and OPS (1.321). 

Prediction

UVA has a ton of momentum right now. And they’re beginning to get some recognition on the national stage. The Hoos are ranked in most of the major college baseball polls with 16 in Perfect Game’s poll representing the current apex.

I’m usually good about knowing a team’s mascot and conference affiliation. But I had to look that up for UMass Lowell. The River Hawks play in the America East conference. Last season, they finished 5th in the 7 team league. In the 2020 America East preseason poll, they were picked in the same slot.

UVA is clearly the better team in this matchup.

The challenge will be twofold. First, they must avoid the letdown. Having just upset 7th ranked NC State and getting a ton of positive press, it would be easy to cruise into the game with the expectation that showing up at The Dish guaranteed a series win. Second, they must avoid looking ahead to their first ACC road series of the season against Pitt. Building on the NC State series win by taking the Pitt series is going to be important. It could be easy for the players to have their attention on Pitt.

The challenge will be for the coaching staff to avoid those scenarios. I think they’re up to that challenge as this is a hungry program. They’re hungry to prove that Virginia Baseball still belongs in the national conversation about top programs. And they’re hungry to return to postseason play. 

The Hoos will avoid those trap scenarios. The offense will continue to roll. 

UVA sweeps the series, 2 to 0.

 

Media
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Voices

We can’t just cheer for them on game day. We need to hear them on all days. Our athletes are human beings with voices, and they need to be heard. Right now they are saying, “Basketball is not enough. We can’t just stick to basketball. Our freedom, our lives are at stake.”

As we prepare for the new basketball season, let’s appreciate the work of our heroes, anticipate their artistry in 2020-21, and at the same time, hear their Voices.

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