This weekend the No. 1 Cavaliers welcome the NC State Wolfpack to Charlottesville for an ACC showdown. The Cavaliers won their two midweek games against Richmond and Radford by a combined score of 24-1. The two wins pushed their record to 38-3 and extended the current winning streak to 7 games. The 'Hoos own the best record in the nation and are more than deserving of their #1 ranking.
NC State enters the weekend with a 23-16 record and an 8-10 ACC record. While on the surface that isn't the most impressive record the Cavs have faced, the Wolfpack are riding a five game winning streak including a sweep of North Carolina last weekend that shocked the conference. With the sweep, the Wolfpack positioned themselves to remain in the hunt for the Atlantic division race.
On the mound, the Wolfpack will be lead by RS Senior Rob Chamra. While Chamra has only started 3 of the 10 games in which he has pitched in, he has amassed a 5-0 record with a 4.35 ERA. The other two starters for NC St., Mazzoni and Sasser, have a combined 4-6 record. All three of the Wolfpack starters don't have overly impressive statistics but they have been fairly successful so far this year. Sophmore RHP Chris Overman has been their anchor in the back end of the bullpen. Overman has struck out 26 in the 28.2 IP and has closed out 4 of NC St's victories. Should the Wolfpack have a lead entering the 9th inning, the Cavaliers will have to come back against an above average closer.
The UVa pitching staff on the other hand shouldn't have too difficult of a time with the NC St. hitters. With a .280 team batting average, and only three hitters batting over .300, the offense is clearly not their strong suit. Even though the Wolfpack have hit 22 home runs, couple that with their 279 strikeouts, and the Cavalier pitching staff should be successful this weekend. Coach Kuhn will have a gameplan to exploit the holes that have lead to all those strikeouts and improve the 'Hoos already impressive K/9 ratio.
Even though the Cavaliers have the clear edge on the mound and at the plate, the Wolfpack have the edge in the history department. Shockingly enough, Coach O'Connor has only taken a series from NC St. once (2009). It is truly amazing, but NC St. holds the best winning percentage against UVa in the Coach O'Connor era for ACC opponents.
Coming in to the year I believe I said UVa would only win 2/3 games. After this amazing season that the 'Hoos have put together I don't doubt this team anymore. If they come out and play their game on the mound and at the plate I can't see the 'Hoos tripping up against the Wolfpack like the Tar Heels did last week. As always, I will be providing updates on twitter via the official StreakingTheLawn Baseball twitter @STLUVABaseball and as the future 2011 ACC Tennis champion Cavaliers say when they watch baseball: "Goooooooooo HOOOOOOOOS"