Taking Care of Business should be the motto and team song for this 2013 Cavalier baseball squad. After taking two of three from Miami last weekend they swept VMI and Liberty during the week to push their record to 27-3 on the season. Those 27 wins is tied with UNC and Vanderbilt for second most in the country (LSU has 28). Their .900 winning percentage is ranked 3rd in the country behind UNC and LSU. All in all, I'd say they are doing just fine.
This weekend they travel to Winston Salem to take on the lowly Demon Deacons. Nobody had high hopes for Wake this year and they have lived up to those standards. They enter the weekend with a 17-14 record overall and are 4-8 in the ACC. They were swept by UNC, but did take their series against Maryland two weeks ago. Last weekend they fell to Georgia Tech in the first two games, but did steal their Sunday game 8-6 and beat UNC-Greensboro on Tuesday.
Historically Wake still owns the series record with an 84-74 record against the Hoos, but like many teams, since Coach O'Connor took over the Hoos have taken a hold of the head to head record. Oak has a 15-8 record against the Demon Deacons and have won seven straight dating back to the ACC tournament game in 2008. The Hoos have not lost the series to Wake since 2007, and I don't expect that to change this year either.
It is hard to find bright spots for the struggling Demon Deacons, and their starting pitchers do not help. Combined, the three are 11-10 with Austin Stadler (R-Sr. Monday starter) having the only ERA below 4 (2.25). The staff as a whole has an ugly 4.25 ERA and have given up more than a hit per inning. Their closer, Connor Kaden, does have three saves on the year to go with his 1.50 ERA.
To be honest, none of the Wake pitchers have great numbers, but I contribute a lot of that to their cracker jack box of a stadium. They've given up 26 home runs on the season and have a .268 opponent batting average. Their stadium doesn't help, but I don't think the staff has pitched particularly well either.
At the plate Wake does have a .273 batting average (UVa - .310) lead in large part to Evan Stephens' .390 average (6th in the ACC). Stephens leads the team with 41 hits and is second on the team with 23 runs scored. The batters average about the same amount of steals as the Hoos do, but don't hit nearly as many extra base hits (probably due to their small stadium).
The Hoos should have no problem this weekend on the road at Wake. Yes, it is on the road, but this Cavalier team has proven they can win anywhere, and Wake is not known for having an intimidating atmosphere (I'd expect the UVa fans to be louder, if not outnumber the Wake fans this weekend). I think UVa sweeps the series in impressive fashion with the only close game being Sunday against their real ace, Austin Stadler (who has been at Wake for like ten years and might be my age). The Monday night game will be on ESPNU so make sure you tune in to see the Hoos finish off the Deacons!