In the just concluded week of Wahoo Baseball, there were another five home games. And the fans were treated to some wild, sometimes frustrating, action at The Dish (Davenport Field at Disharoon Park). It seems like The Dish is the name of choice for now. We'll see if it catches on or if everyone reverts back to Davenport Field (or some version thereof). Until then...
The Hoos finished the week with an 8-4 record after going 4-1 on the week. All four wins (VMI, William & Mary, Yale X 2) were by one run. The lone loss on the week to Yale was a seven run beating.
Against VMI, the Hoos were able to exact a measure of revenge making up for the five run loss a week to the day prior. The Hoos won 10 to 9, scoring all their runs by the end of the third inning and then holding on for dear life to win. Freshman Andrew Abbott started but only pitched 4 innings and didn't figure into the decision. Classmate Devin Ortiz pitched 0.1 innings, enough to get credit for the win, the first of his Wahoo career. Bennett Sousa held down the 9th inning for save number two on the season. Caleb Knight scored two runs and drove in four as the game's offensive star.
On the surface, Wednesday's 4 to 3 win in 11 innings over William & Mary didn't seem like anything special. But when you look just below the surface, you'll realize that it was a game for the history books. Not only did six UVA pitchers combine for an unheard of 11 inning no hitter, but UVA also surrendered three runs in the game and found itself trailing 3 to 2 as the bottom of the 11th began. The Wahoo defense was almost the team's undoing as UVA infielders committed errors against three consecutive Tribe batters to push ahead the then go ahead run for William & Mary. In the bottom of the 11th, the Hoos demonstrated their flair for the dramatic as they were able to load the bases but still faced a 3 to 2 deficit as Justin Novak came to bat with 2 outs. In a bit of bitter irony for William & Mary, Novak's chopper to third was thrown away allowing two runs to score for UVA. William & Mary finished the game with two errors but it was UVA's four errors that left much cause for concern. Starter Bobby Nicholson, Blake Rohm, Grant Donahue, Riley Wilson, Mack Meyer, and Bennett Sousa were the six Wahoo pitchers that teamed up for the program's first no hitter since Nathan Kirby's against Pitt in 2014. Sousa picked up credit for the win, his first on the season. Jake McCarthy, Justin Novak, Nate Eikhoff, and Charlie Cody set the pace for the offense. As mentioned previously, it was Novak's ball that forced the William & Mary error in the 11th that allowed two runs to score. Cody scored from third on the play to tie the game and freshman Tanner Morris scored the game winner from second.
Against Ivy League defending champion and 2018 season favorite Yale, the Hoos took two out of three. The first game of the series was moved from Friday to Saturday, setting up a double header, because of high wind in the Charlottesville area Friday. The Hoos won the first and third games of the series, each by one run again. Game 1 saw Derek Casey strike out 12 batters for the second consecutive start. The Hoos won the game in the bottom of the 9th, however, so Casey was not around for the decision as he pitched 6.0 innings. Andrew Abbott pitched the 8th and 9th innings to pick up his first win on the season. A two out single in the bottom of the 9th by Charlie Cody scored Andy Weber for the win.
Game two of the Yale series was a drubbing in Yale's favor. The Bulldogs picked up their first win on the season in the 11 to 4 win. Yale had a season high sixteen hits in the win. Starting pitcher Daniel Lynch gave up seven runs, all earned, in 6.0 innings pitched. Lynch took the loss and fell to 0-2 on the season. It's been a rough 2018 so far for the left hander.
The rubber match of the series saw the Hoos win another one run game, 7 to 6. UVA scored six of their seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. The big inning gave UVA a 7 to 3 lead but Yale bounced back to score three runs in the top of the eighth making UVA fans sweat out the series victory. The seventh proved to be death by a thousand cuts for Yale as UVA used three walks, four hits, and two Yale wild pitches to score their six runs. On the mound, Evan Sperling went 5.2 innings for the no decision. He gave up 4 hits and 3 runs, all earned, while adding 8 strikeouts to his season total. Freshman Kyle Whitten picked up the win, the first of his career. Whitten pitched the last out of the sixth and all of the seventh inning for the Hoos.
The Hoos made a change to their weekend pitching rotation this past week. It was announced Thursday night that Derek Casey and Daniel Lynch would swap spots in the weekend rotation. At least for the Yale series, Casey would take the Friday night starting spot and Lynch would move into the Saturday starting spot. High winds moved the Friday game into Saturday but Casey still started the first game of the series. There's been no indication as to how the weekend rotation will work for this weekend's series at Duke, but it's not a stretch to assume that the Casey will be the Friday starter.
Status quo here. Noah Murdock and Cameron Simmons remain out for the year. Chesdin Harrington remains out as well. The Daily Progress provided additional info on Harrington's status on February 27 indicating that Harrington is out indefinitely with a sore right elbow. There's no set timetable for his season debut but it will be at least several weeks away.
Andrew Papantonis - Pinch hit vs Yale (Game 2), DH vs Yale (Game 3)
With the debut of Andrew Papantonis against Yale, all members of UVA's freshmen class have played in games this season. All players on the roster have played in a UVA game during their career now.
Players Of The Week
Pitcher - For the second week in a row, starting pitcher Derek Casey gets the nod. Casey struck out 12 for his second consecutive start. That makes Casey and UVA legend Danny Hultzen the only Wahoo pitchers to accomplish the feat since 2000.
Hitter - There were no dominant hitting performances this week but Caleb Knight had a nice week at the plate nonetheless. Knight had 5 hits in 15 at bats (.333 average). He also scored 4 runs, drove in 7, had 2 homeruns, and compiled 5 walks. On the season, Knight leads UVA with 3 homers and 13 RBI. He's also hitting .300 on the season to date.
We're adding a new poll to the mix this week. Welcome Collegiate Baseball! That makes seven polls we're tracking on a weekly basis now.
|Baseball America||14||Poll not updated yet this week|
|College Baseball Daily||16||Up from 17|
|Collegiate Baseball||27||Down from 26|
|D1 Baseball||17||Up from 19|
|NCBWA||18||Up from 20|
|Perfect Game||Not Ranked||No change|
|USA Today Coaches||19||Up from 18 in preseason poll|
The Florida Gators hold the number one ranking in six of the seven national polls. Oregon State is ranked number 1 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
The Hoos close out a ten game homestand with a Tuesday afternoon matinee against Davidson. You can read the preview here. UVA is rolling along with a 10 to 1 lead as I'm writing these notes.
The weekend brings the first ACC series of the year as the Hoos travel to Durham, North Carolina to take on Coastal Division foe Duke. In the ACC Baseball preseason poll, UVA was picked second in the Coastal while Duke was picked third. Duke is currently 9-2 on the season with both losses to Vanderbilt in a season opening series in Nashville. Duke has a game Wednesday against Longwood. The Blue Devils' most recent weekend series was a home sweep over three games against Cornell.