Derek Fisher helped the Cavaliers sweep Miami for the first time in school history this weekend. Photo courtesy of Ralph Wood.
At least, that is what I am pretty sure the title of LMFAO's next song is going to be.
The Cavaliers baseball team traveled down to Coral Gables and finally seemed to put it all together. Something this team has been looking to do since the Clemson series at the end of March. The hitters took advantage of spotty Miami pitching, they made Miami's FOURTEEN errors over the course of the series hurt, the bullpen resembled the days of old with Lambert and Schwimer, and the defense only had one error the entire weekend!
A few more weekends like this and faith might be restored in the program from the Virginia faithful. Hell, a few more weekends like this and UVa could be looking at its third straight hosted regional and third ACC title in four years, but let's not get ahead of ourselves!
Branden Kline didn't have his strong stuff on Saturday in the series opener. Terrible weather and a wet ball made for a difficult control day for the third year who was only able to give the Cavaliers five innings. Fortunately for him, the Hoos put together a five run inning in the sixth and gave the team a 7-3 lead that would not be given back. Kyle Crockett and Justin Thompson relieved Kline and were dominant over the final four innings only allowing a single base runner.
More importantly, the hitting gelled as a team and carried the weight. Yes, Miami did make four errors which lead to five of UVa's seven errors being unearned, but the boys were able to string together ten hits to make those errors hurt. Four Cavaliers had a multi-hit game including first year Derek Fisher who is making a late season run to challenge NC St's Carlos Rodon for ACC Freshman (First Year) of the Year. To go along with those hits, six different Hoos scored runs and five different guys had RBI.
Sunday was more of the same from the Cavaliers who were let down a bit by starter Scott Silverstein. Scott needs to limit his walks while not putting so much pressure on himself to do well if he wants to remain a factor in the starting rotation. Facing a 4-0 deficit at the beginning of the third inning, the Hoos began their comeback scoring runs in four of the next six innings including three in the fifth to give themselves the lead that they wouldn't relinquish. The story of this game was clearly Shane Halley. The fourth year relieved Silverstein and shutout the Canes over the next six innings only allowing two hits and two walks. Fellow fourth year Justin Thompson came on in the 9th to close out the game and earn his 8th save on the year.
By Monday the Hurricanes were getting tired of watching Groundhog Day on TBS, so they decided to live it! Thirteen hits, seven runs, and a stellar pitching campaign combined with five Miami errors gave UVa their first ever sweep of Da U. Derek Fisher caught fire again with three hits and five at bats to go with his RBI and runs scored. Similar to Saturday, seven different Hoos scored runs while six had an RBI including Mitchell Shifflett who had two of his ownn. Lewicki, Crockett, and Young combined to hold Miami to four runs on four hits while striking out eight.
What stands out to me from Monday's box score was the listed attendance of 2253. After watching the game on ESPNU I am pretty sure you could take off the "5" and the "3" and you would have a better feel for how many people were at Alex Rodriguez Field. It was embarrassing.
With the sweep, the Cavaliers certainly improved their postseason standings. In the ACC the boys moved in to a tie for fourth but hold the tiebreaker over Clemson because of the early season sweep. At 14-10 they actually have more wins than UNC (13-8), but the Heels have one less ACC series because they took this past weekend off for exams.
Most importantly, the sweep did wonders for UVa's RPI and regional hosting possibilities. The two RPI services most people use for college baseball (Boyd's World and Warren Nolan) both have the boys in the 13-14 range. Boyd's World does an RPI Needs Report that projects what every team needs to end the season in the top 8, 16, 32, and 64. Fortunately, the Cavaliers can go 0-8 the rest of the way and still end the season in the top 32. To end the year in the top 16, it looks like they are going to have to go 7-1, but luckily they only have to play Georgia Tech and Maryland who are two of the bottom three in the conference.
The rest of the season looks to be interesting and heart pounding as only the UVa baseball program could be. The boys are off this weekend for their exam break before restarting next Tuesday against High Point. Til then, study hard for exams, celebrate his holy savior Phillip Sims, and of course GO HOOS!