With their 9-1 victory today over the Black Knights visiting from West Point the Hoos stayed in the winner's bracket and advanced to play Appalachian State tomorrow afternoon. The Mountaineers advanced to take on the hosting Cavaliers by staving off the Oklahoma Sooners 5-4.
App State enters tomorrow having achieved their 40th victory of the season. They stand at 40-16 overall and were an impressive 21-9 in the Southern Conference this year. They tied with the College of Charleston for the regular season title and were eliminated by Samford in their conference tournament after going 1-2.
They had the 111th ranked strength of schedule but had a pretty impressive out of conference schedule. They traveled to Baton Rouge early in the season and stole the series from LSU by winning on Saturday and Sunday. The Mountaineers also beat Duke twice and lost to USC (Gamecocks) 6-4.
Coach O'Connor is shaking things up a bit by starting 2nd year Artie Lewicki instead Silverstein, App St will counter with Sr. Seth Grant. Grant is certainly not the ace of the staff but he does have the best ERA out of the three man rotation. His 3.33 ERA has allowed him to amass a 6-3 record over the year which includes one complete game. Most importantly, his 2-1 K to walk ratio mixed in with his averaging nearly a hit an inning means if the Hoos should be able to put the ball in play and force the Mountaineer defense to make plays.
Sadly the Sooners weren't able to help the Cavaliers out very much today and only forced 1.1 innings out of the App St bullpen. The good news is their bullpen doesn't seem to be a strong force. Their two relievers with the most appearances have ERAs over 5.50 and could be tired this late in to the season since they've appeared in half the games this year!
At the plate App St is quite impressive. They have a .307 batting average as a team and includes six of their regulars with batting averages over .300. Without a doubt they are lead by Jr. Tyler Tewell. Tewell has a .368 average and lead the Mountaineers with 78 hits. The Cavaliers will also have to look out for Daniel Kassouf. Kassouf was the first team all DH in the SOCON and leads App St in not only HRs(17), but RBI as well (61). As a team they amassed 42 HRs, but they didn't play in a cavern like Davenport Field or face the pitching staff they will see tomorrow.
Every UVa fan in the world gave a couple "Praise Jesus/Allah/Yahweh/Shiva"s this afternoon when they found out Appalachian State had defeated Oklahoma. That isn't to say App St isn't a great team, but I think everyone is a little snake bitten about the Sooners after what they did in the Super Regionals two years ago in Charlottesville. Now it is time for the Cavaliers to put the proof on the scoreboard and show why they are the #1 seed. My prediction is that it will be a little closer than everyone would like but the Hoos will come out on top. It wouldn't be a UVa regional without some Cardiac Cavs action now would it?