After their Friday victory over Georgia Tech, the Cavaliers were playing with house money. Certainly no player or coach would be satisfied with only one win in Atlanta but I think many in the realm of college baseball would have respected UVa just the same had they only beaten the Yellow Jackets once this past weekend. Good thing for Cavalier fans this program doesn't accept mediocrity and strives to win every game on the schedule.
While most UVa games have been characterized by strong defense and even stronger pitching, Saturday's game showed that the 'Hoos are able to win games with their offensive prowess as well. The pitching staff did not have thier best game of the year and relented 9 runs on 12 Georgia Tech hits and 5 issued walks. Justin Thompson was fairly impressive for the Hoos as he came on in the 5th inning and pitched 3 scoreless innings before giving up three earned runs in the 9th to preserve the victory and earn the win. The middle of the lineup secured the victory as John Barr, John Hicks, and Steven Proscia combined to bat .500 (8-16), score 3 runs, and amass half of the UVa RBIs (6/12). Keith Werman also seemingly broke out of the slump he has been in this year by going 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and scored 3 runs. UVa wound up winning the game 12-9 to clinch the series and improve their winning streak to 12 in a row.
The same problems that Virginia had on Saturday resurfaced in their Sunday game. The 'Hoos used 5 pitchers in the game and all but one (Artie Lewicki who pitched the 8th) surrendered at least one earned run in their time on the mound. Starting pitcher Cody Winiarski had a disappointing start as he gave up 5 earned runs on 6 hits in the three innings he lasted. Unfortunately, the offense was not able to get the pitching staff out of the jam and the Yellow Jackets were able to steal the victory 12-8. A few of the Cavaliers did have impressive games at the plate as five of them had multi hit games. Coleman was the star of the offensive output. He went two for four and had 2 RBIs with 3 runs scored.
Even though the Cavaliers dropped the Sunday contest, they were able to sew up a series victory with their wins on Friday and Saturday. The series win also gave UVa a one game lead in the Coastal Division over the Yellow Jackets and North Carolina. The one game lead over GT is actually a two game lead given that the 'Hoos will now hold the tiebreaker. The UVa and North Carolina matchup is looking more and more like it will decide the winner of the Coastal Division. Unfortunately, that series doesn't take place til the final weekend of the regular season in late May.
Entering the weekend the team was ranked 2nd in most polls. I don't see that changing. Vanderbilt was number one in those same polls and swept SEC foe Alabama. Even though Georgia Tech is considered a better team than Alabama would be, I don't think winning two of three in Atlanta will be quite enough for UVa to leap the Commodores in the standings.
The Cavaliers will be back in action on Tuesday against Georgetown before playing host to perennial NCAA qualifier and Big South Champion, Coastal Carolina on Wed.