There is not a coach more happy in the country than Coach O'Connor right now. His team swept the Clemson Tigers this past weekend in fairly convincing fashion and now they get to host the Towson Tigers in a pair of midweek games tonight and tomorrow. Can someone get Princeton and Memphis on the dial to see if they're available in the next few weeks?(We'll leave Auburn and LSU out, big boy baseball in the SEC scares me)
Also similar to Clemson, Coach O'Connor has a stellar career record against Towson. His 10-1 record since he took over at UVa has featured at least two victories over these Tigers every year since 2008, the only year the Tigers beat Coach O'Connor (it was a rough year).
This year, Towson comes to Charlottesville with an 12-10 record. Two of those ten losses came at the hands of Liberty, who the Cavalier fans can completely understand. Even though they are just over .500 on the season, they have been hot as of late. The Tigers have won six of their last seven games, including a series sweep of George Mason two weeks ago.
I honestly have no idea who Towson is planning on pitching tonight or tomorrow. Their last Tuesday and Wednesday games they pitched Johnny Wholestaff in losses to Buffalo and George Washington. Their stats aren't overly impressive with a 3.99 ERA and averaging giving up just over a hit an inning. Their strikeout to walk ratio is more than two to one which isn't all that intimidating but given the rest of their stats, it is something they can hang their hat on.
Unfortunately, it appears their defense has let them down routinely this year. The .968 fielding percentage behind the pitchers has lead to 16 extra runs being scored that the pitchers were not accountable for. The error brigade has been lead by Sophomore SS Hunter Bennett who has six errors on the year and a .932 fielding percentage. Things like that are not acceptable but should give UVa confidence that they can come back if they find themselves down early in the game.
Dominic Fratantuono has been the shining beacon of the Towson offense so far this season. His .413 batting average and 19 runs scored are both light years ahead of the rest of the team. He's also got some pop in his bat. Fratantuono's three home runs are also tops on the team but we all know Davenport Field is where home runs go to die. The team as a whole is only batting .271. Compared to UVa's .314, the UVa pitchers should be excited to get some stat boosting innings against the Tigers.
After this past weekend against Clemson, this UVa team has regained some of its confidence and swagger. I don't expect them to struggle much against Towson as they sweep these two games and head in to their weekend matchup with NC St on a big winning streak. The teams take the field tonight at 5 (which ruins my whole running before dinner plan) and I will be doing my best to provide updates and asides via twitter (@STLUVaBaseball). Of course, Go Hoos!