We've arrived at the home finale for the 2019 season. It's coming on the heels of a series win over top 5, and ACC leader, Louisville. The win over the Cardinals garnered national attention. As a result, the Hoos find themselves either on the bubble of the field of 64 or tantalizingly close.
What we need from here are two things: wins and good wins.
Tuesday evening against VCU, the A10 leader, offers the chance for both.
Virginia: 29-21 (Overall), 12-15 (ACC), RPI 47
VCU: 36-16 (Overall), 16-5 (Atlantic 10), RPI 54
RPI figures courtesy of NCAA.com and are accurate as of the last update after games on May 12.
Tuesday, May 14 - 6:00 PM
Projected Starting Pitchers
UVA: RHP Paul Kosanovich (4-0, 3.63 ERA, 22.1 IP, 7 walks, 13 strikeouts)
Kosanovich, a junior, is in his first season at UVA. Last season, he pitched for East Los Angeles College as a sophomore. Prior to that, Kosanovich played football as a freshman at New Mexico Highlands University. During his one season at ELAC, Kosanovich compiled a 6-4 record with a 3.58 ERA. He notched 68 strikeouts in 83.0 innings pitched.
Kosanovich's season was good enough to earn him First Team All-State (2018 California Community College Southern California) and Pacific Association Southern California All-Region Second Team accolades. The first team all-state honor also automatically qualified him as an All-American as well. He was also one of two players named Pitcher of the Year 2018 South Coast Conference North Division.
The start against VCU will be Kosanovich's fourteenth appearance on the season and his first start as a Hoo.
He last pitched in relief this past weekend against Louisville in Saturday's 12 to 6 UVA win. Kosanovich did not retire a batter while allowing 1 hit, 2 runs (both earned), and 2 walks.
Kosanovich did not pitch against VCU when the teams played earlier this season on April 30.
VCU: RHP Justin Sorokowski (3-1, 3.73 ERA, 62.2 IP, 14 walks, 65 strikeouts)
Sorokowski is a redshirt sophomore in his first season for the Rams. A native of Mechanicsville, Virginia, he arrived at VCU via Tallahassee Community College. At Tallahassee, he posted a record of 5-1 and an ERA of 2.35. In conference play, his ERA dropped to 0.84. Over the course of the entire season, Sorokowski 65.0 innings where he struck out 80. His efforts earned him First Team All-Panhandle Conference honors.
Sorokowski, who's made seventeen starts in as many appearances, last pitched on Friday, May 10 against St. Joseph's. In that outing, a 9 to 3 win for VCU, he pitched 5.0 innings. In those 5.0 innings, he gave up 3 hits, 1 run (earned), no walks, and struck out 2.
Those 5.0 innings tied starts against South Carolina Upstate and Fordham for Sorokowski's longest outings of the season.
He did not pitch in the previous meeting between the two teams this season.
Weather Watch (Courtesy of Weather.com)
It's going to be a relatively cool evening of baseball Tuesday. Temps should be in the mid to lower 60s at the game's start falling into the upper 50s as the game progresses. The skies will be partly cloudy but there's no precipitation in the forecast. Winds will be around 10 MPH.
ACC Network Extra will have video streaming of the game. ACC Network Extra is available via ESPN's streaming platforms.
WINA will have the radio broadcast over the air in the Charlottesville area. They'll also stream the audio on WINA.com.
Ram To Watch
Sophomore 1B Liam Hibbits gets the spotlight in this matchup.
Hibbits brings a slash line of .389/.473/.573 to the table.
The batting average tops the Rams' regulars by over 50 points. The on base percentage and slugging percentage are also tops among VCU regulars.
Hibbits also leads VCU in hits (72) and RBI (56). He's second on the Rams in doubles (17), triples (1, tied), homers (5), total bases (106), sacrifice flies (3, tied), and fewest strikeouts (24).
Earlier this season against the Hoos, Hibbits went 1 for 4 with a run scored and two RBI. The one hit was a 2 run homer in the bottom of the 9th that cut UVA's lead to 3 to 2. That would be the game's final score.
In an ideal world, the Hoos would sweep this week's slate of four games to close the regular season on a six game winning streak. To do that, UVA must win this game. Taking two of three against Louisville over the weekend has allowed UVA to think about what's necessary to make the field of 64 this year after a one year absence.
Winning this game isn't essential to achieve that goal, necessarily, but winning does accomplish two things. First, it adds another nice win to the resume. Beating VCU wouldn't move the needle like the Louisville wins but the Rams aren't worth scoffing at either.
Second, a win here continues the momentum building at the end of the season. Going back to before the exam break, UVA has won 3 of 4 including the road win at VCU.
The team appears to be rounding into form at the right time. They're capable. And they know that they can beat this VCU team.
Virginia runs their winning streak to three with the win!