UVa will be up in Chestnut Hill this weekend to take on the BC Eagles. Photo courtesy of Ms. Sarah Tolzmann
Your #1 ranked Cavaliers travel this weekend up to Chestnut Hill to take on the unranked Boston College Golden Eagles in one of the last remaining ACC weekends.
Boston College enters the weekend with a rather unimpressive 15-24 overall record and stand at 6-14 in the conference. While they have struggled mightily against the cream of the ACC crop, they have been been pretty successful against the lower tier teams. While they haven't swept anyone, BC was able to take 2 of 3 and win series' against Duke, VPISU, and Maryland. The 'Hoos on the other hand, are 9-0 against those three schools.
Even though the Eagles have struggled against the ACC, lest we not forget they did beat Harvard this past week to claim the 2011 Beanpot Championship!
Let me preface this next part of the preview by saying that I studied the BC pitching stats for about 30 minutes and don't understand some of them. Friday, Junior LHP Andrew Lawrence takes the mound for BC. He has a pretty good record at 2-1 with a 2.86 ERA. The stat that has baffled me is his innings pitched. Lawrence has 9 games started and 17 appearances on the mound. With all those times on the mound he has only amassed 22 innings pitched! Former 'Hoo star Brad Grove and I are befuddled as to how thats even possible. Even if he only has the 9 games started, does anyone want to argue he only averages 2.2 IP/start? I don't get it. Anyways, on Saturday Senior RHP John Leonard will take the mound and has more normal statistics. They certainly aren't Cavalier-esque at 4-5 and a 4.69 ERA, but aren't terrible.
Senior RHP Garrett Smith has been one of the highlights of the BC bullpen. Smith has closed out 6 of the Eagles 15 wins with a 2.63 ERA. Even though he has walked 7 batters in the 13 IP, he has 13 K's to counterbalance those walks.
What confuses me even more than the pitchers stats are the hitters stats when you compare them to BC's win-loss record. The Eagles have five players who have logged sufficient playing time and have batted around .300 or better. With stats like that, most would expect the Eagles to be a strong team and score runs in bunches. They only have 185 runs so, while they get hits, it appears they don't come at opportune times. I know I've said this many times before, and when it doesn't come true Brian likes to call me out on it but, the Cavalier pitchers should set a record for K's this weekend. The Eagles have struck out 284 times in 39 games which comes to an average of over 7 Ks/game! If the 'Hoos pitchers can limit the hits and avoid the bats like the Eagles like to do, UVa should have a great weekend.
The Cavaliers haven't lost a weekend series yet this year and I certainly don't expect them to start this weekend. I predicted the 'Hoos to sweep NC St. last weekend and they only took two of three. BC is not nearly as hot as NC St. was or as talented. I expect the 'Hoos to take care of business as they have every other year against the Golden Eagles and sweep the series in Boston.
In the rest of the college baseball world, the series UVa fans should be focused on is the South Carolina-Auburn series in Columbia. If the Tigers can upset the Gamecocks it will benefit the 'Hoos two-fold. It would bolster Auburn's RPI while in turn help UVa's and it would help distance the Cavs from the Gamecocks in the national polls. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, has a showdown with their interstate rival Tennessee.
As always, either myself or your fearless leader Brian Leung will be supplying updates on Twitter @STLUVaBaseball or @TheUVAFool. And of course, as SB Nation's BC reporter Brian from BC Interruption says on his Twitter feed @BCInterruption: "Well, my school is terrible at baseball, and just about every other sport. So, GOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSS"