The weekend in Tallahassee that never was was quickly forgotten (right? RIGHT?!). So, the Cavaliers had to get back down to business yesterday as they hosted VMI in their mid-game tilt. The offensive firepower that everyone's heart hopes to show up game in and game out showed it's head for the first time in about a week to give the Hoos a 12-3 victory.
First year Barrett O'Neill moved his record to an impressive 2-0 after his second good start in as many weeks. Although he got himself in some trouble early by allowing VMI to tie the game 2-2 in the 3rd, O'Neill settled down and didn't allow another run in his five innings. The first year only issued a single walk and scattered six Keydet hits while striking out three and handed a 10-2 lead over to the bullpen in the sixth inning.
O'Neill's fellow first year, Nick Howard came in and held the Keydets at bay as the bullpen should. Howard gave a strong three innings without giving up a run. What is more impressive is that Howard was able to strike out six while only giving up three hits over those innings. JUCO transfer Joel Effertz relieved Howard in the 9th and secured the victory for the Cavaliers. Effertz did give up a one out home run to VMI in the 9th but the game was in hand already.
In the batter'sbox, all but one Cavalier in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit. Chris Taylor lead the way withhis best game of the year at the plate. Taylor went 4-4 with THREE doubles and added two runs and an RBI just to make sure he made the paper today. Papi did his best to counter Taylor's 4-4 but was outdone just a bit. Papiwent 3-3 with only one double (pssshhhh). The first year outfielder is really coming in to his own at the plate. If Papi and Taylor can stay hot, it will bode very well for the Hoos the rest of the year.
The win moved the Cavaliers to 12-8-1 on the year. It was much needed after the Hoos dropped their three games at FSU this past weekend. While midweek games are good, they aren't what is needed right now. The boosts of confidence are minute. This weekend against Clemson, they are going to have to come in to their own and start to win more ACC games. A 2-4 record in the conference right now is alright but more wins are needed.
Hoos will welcome to Clemson on Friday night at the Davenport. Look for my preview of that showdown some time tomorrow morning. Until then, enjoy some more March Madness tonight, allow your heart and mind to get some rest, and of course, GO HOOS!