The final regular season series of the season has arrived. The Hoos travel to Winston Salem to square off against host Wake Forest. After taking 2 of 3 from Georgia Tech this past weekend, UVA has a lot to play for this weekend. An ACC Tournament berth is within the team's grasp. Can they reach out and grab it?
Virginia: 27-22 (Overall), 11-16 (ACC)
Wake Forest: 23-29 (Overall), 11-16 (ACC)
Thursday: 6 PM
Friday: 6 PM
Saturday: 1 PM
Here's our final look at the ACC standings as we head into the final weekend of conference play. The action this weekend will determine who makes the trip to Durham for the ACC Baseball Tournament held May 22 - May 27.
The Hoos have yet to clinch their conference tourney berth, but it's hard to imagine that it won't happen. Any of the following events would punch UVA's ticket.
- - 1 UVA win over Wake Forest
- - 1 UNC win over Virginia Tech
- - 1 Pitt win over Clemson
Other ACC action this week includes:
NC State at Florida State
Notre Dame at Louisville
Virginia Tech at North Carolina
Duke at Georgia Tech
Boston College at Miami
Clemson at Pittsburgh
Projected Starting Pitchers
Thursday - UVA: RHP Derek Casey (6-3, 3.27 ERA, 82.2 IP, 21 walks, 93 strikeouts) vs Wake - RHP Griffin Roberts (4-4, 3.94 ERA, 82.1 IP, 34 walks, 117 strikeouts)
Roberts, a junior from Midlothian, VA, leads the ACC in strikeouts. He's fifth nationally.
The Hoos and Deacons did not play last season because of the unbalanced ACC schedule. The Hoos hosted Wake in a three game series two years ago, however. Roberts, a freshman at the time, did not pitch in the series. As a result, this will be his first career appearance against the UVA.
Friday - UVA: RHP Noah Murdock (1-2, 6.75 ERA, 9.1 IP, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts) vs Wake - RHP Morgan McSweeney (2-5, 4.28 ERA, 67.1 IP, 33 walks, 64 strikeouts)
McSweeney, a sophomore, will be making his tenth start of the season. He's also made seven appearances out of the bullpen this year.
This will be his first career appearance against UVA.
Saturday - UVA: TBD vs Wake: RHP Colin Peluse (6-1, 3.86 ERA, 77.0 IP, 24 walks, 57 strikeouts)
If UVA needs this game to clinch their ACC Tournament berth, they could turn to Daniel Lynch. Otherwise, they would prefer to let him rest this weekend and return to action once tournament play begins. Lynch threw approximately 120 pitches Monday night in the win against Georgia Tech.
If Lynch is not needed to start this game, then sophomore Bobby Nicholson should get the ball. He was named the expected starter in Tuesday's game against Richmond only to be replaced by Kyle Whitten on Tuesday afternoon.
Peluse, like McSweeney, is a sophomore at Wake Forest. This will be his first career appearance versus UVA as a result. Last season as a freshman, Peluse split time as a reliever and starter. About a third of his appearances (7 of 20) came as a starting pitcher. This season, Peluse has started thirteen of his fourteen appearances. He's responded well to the new role this year.
Weather Watch (Courtesy of Weather.com)
Thunderstorms are in the forecast for Winston Salem most of the day Thursday. At the scheduled game time, the chance of thunderstorms is 90%. Temps will be in the mid 70s all evening but it's difficult to see Thursday's game going off as scheduled.
Friday is more of the same with the only difference the chance of thunderstorms at game time decreasing to 75%.
Saturday's forecast is essentially identical to Friday's.
The teams appear to be in for a struggle to get these games started and completed this weekend.
ACC Network Extra is scheduled to stream all three games of the series. As usual, your ESPN streaming platform of choice is the place to find the broadcast.
WINA.com is scheduled to stream the radio broadcast of all three games. Likewise, WINA is scheduled to carry the games over the air in the Charlottesville area.
Wake has lost 8 of their last 9 ACC contests. The last six of those games were on the road, however. The series directly prior to those two was a home series against Clemson in which the Tigers earned a sweep. Clemson's sweep of Wake represented the first home series loss for Wake since the 2016 season.
Roberts and Peluse give Wake a big advantage in the starting pitching department in the series as Derek Casey is the only UVA pitcher likely to start that is on their level this season. But with Wake limping to the finish line, will that be enough?
This feels like a 2 to 1 series win for Wake, if the games get played. But that will be enough to get UVA into the ACC Tournament, so they'll ultimately take that result and prepare for postseason play.