The Cavaliers host their final home game in their long nine game home stand tonight as they welcome the Richmond Spiders to the Dav. The boys are coming off a rough weekend where they were swept at the hands of UNC and ended a myriad of winning streaks for the UVa baseball program.
Historically the Cavaliers own the the better record in the matchup having won 78 of the 138 games. The first game between the two intrastate rivals actually took place in 1889! I believe that was Brian's 2nd year at UVa so I will ask him how much he remembers from that game. More recently the Cavaliers have been in total control of the contests. The Hoos haven't lost a game against the Spiders since 2003, winning the last nine games in the series.
This year, the Spiders have not had their strongest of seasons. Richmond has a 16-14 record overall and a 5-4 record in the impeccable Atlantic 10. Winners last weekend against GW taking two of three, they had lost 11 of their previous 16.
RHP Andrew Blum is the scheduled starter for the Spiders tonight. Although, his deep stats don't indicate it, he does have a 4-1 record. Blum gives up nearly one hit per inning and doesn't strike out too many batters. What gives me the most confidence heading in to tonight, is the .248 opponent's batting average that he has allowed so far this season. Hoos getting hits and taking advantage of a dicey Spiders' defense should mean UVa can establish a big early lead.
The potent offense that Spiders have is as nearly impressive as the Cavaliers'. Richmond has a team batting average of .291 and features five hitters hitting over .300 on the year. To go along with that batting average, they are scoring nearly seven runs and averaging more than ten hits per game. Richmond's finest hitter is without a doubt Matt Zink. Zink doesn't lead the Spiders in many aspects because it appears he has come on strong as of late but he is leading them with a .351 batting average.
Limiting the hits and base runners of the Spiders should be the key to the game for Joel Effertz and the Cavalier pitching staff. The Hoos' hitters should be able to manufacture base runners and runs so holding Richmond to a low output at the plate would mean UVa is successful.
First pitch is at 6 pm tonight. Of course I will be doing my best to give updates via twitter @STLUVaBaseball. Go HOOS!