After the impressive come from behind wins and scratch your head losses the Cavalier baseball team had this last weekend, they welcome the Marist Red Foxes to Davenport Field tonight and tomorrow in a pair of midweek showdowns. The Cavaliers need to build off the momentum they captured on Sunday with wins today and tomorrow as they will travel to highly touted Florida State this weekend.
The Red Foxes enter the year with a 3-5 record with wins against Old Dominion, Campbell, and surprisingly, Coastal Carolina. The New York based college has had a slow start to the season and their trip to UVa will be the first midweek games they have played all season.
Historically, the Cavaliers hold the edge over the Red Foxes having swept the only series the two teams have ever played. In early March 2005, Marist traveled to Charlottesville and handed the Hoos three easy wins by a combined score of 19-5. For this year's team sake (and the fans that follow them), these two games this weekend need to go the same way the previous three did.
At the plate the Red Foxes are lead by Junior infielder Mike Orefice. Orefice has been on fire early this season accumulating a .471 batting average. He's got seven runs and six RBIs to go with his 16 hits to make him a credible threat in the Marist lineup. If the UVa pitchers weren't licking their chops to get a piece of Marist til now they should after hearing this; the Marist lineup has a combined 60 strikeouts and only 16 walks in their 8 games. Never has a more free swinging team been seen in the friendly confines of Davenport Field. The Cavalier pitching had (just about) no problem this past weekend with the Hokies and they shouldn't with the Red Foxes either. Branden Kline needs to forget about his Friday night debacle and settle back down to dominance when he toes the rubber Tuesday afternoon.
I am not sure who Marist is going to send to the mound as the starter for either game but whoever it is, the UVa lineup should not have a problem with them. The Red Foxes' pitching staff has a tremendous 6.41 ERA and given up an impressive 52 earned runs in their 8 games. The only good stat that I can find for the Marist staff is that they are averaging a little over five strikeouts and walks per game. To make matters worse for Marist and better for UVa, the fielding for the Red Foxes has been suspect at best. Not that the Cavaliers have set the world on fire in the field either, but Marist has committed 15 errors is this season and has a .955 fielding percentage. Put the ball in play, avoid the strikeouts, and earn the walks should be a recipe for success for the Cavaliers in these two games.
Both games' first pitch will be at 5 and from the looks of it, the weather should be perfect in Charlottesville. As always, I will be providing that witty commentary you all know and love on Twitter (@STLUVaBaseball) and of course, GO HOOS!