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Weekend and Season Preview: ECU and 2010

Jarrett Parker, courtesy UVa Media RelationsThis weekend marks the beginning of the 2010 season for the Virginia Cavalier Baseball team. Unlike recent season opening series’, this weekends opponent is not a rollover. The Cavaliers travel to Greenville, NC where they will take on #18 Eastern Carolina.

East Carolina comes off a year where they made a Super Regional where they lost to a super-hott and pissed(because they got worked by the cavs in the acc tourney) UNC team. They have reloaded and are coming into this year looking to make it to Omaha. Many college baseball experts consider ECU a team to beat this year and are widely considered to be a favorite to win Conference USA and make their first College World Series appearance in school history come June. The Pirates return three position players returning from last year that hit more than 10 home runs, including Senior and power hitter Kyle Roller. Roller is on the Golden Spike Award Watch List and hit 16 home runs last year and had 75 RBIs. The Pirates are no pushovers on the mound either with all three of their returning starters having over 9 wins last year and atleast 70 strikeouts.

Since this is so early in the year I don’t think the Cavaliers will do quite as well as everyone hopes they will. We usually struggle in the first series against a legitimate team( Miami ’09 & FSU/Miami/Duke ’08) and I expect to see a little rust this weekend since the boys haven’t been able to really practice on an actual baseball field due to weather in the past 2 weeks. Even though I think we will struggle we are just too strong on the mound and at the plate to lose the series. I anticipate a series win that includes a loss on Saturday.  Taking 2 of 3 this weekend is a HUGE victory for the program and the year as it will announce to the rest of the country and conference that last year was no fluke and this team is a SERIOUS FORCE to be reckoned with. Here is the lineup that will be on the field tomorrow(in batting order):

Gosselin-2b

Cannon-SS

Grovatt-RF

Proscia-3b

Parker-CF

Hicks-1B

Hultzen-DH/P

Valdes—C

Barr-LF

As for the pitching(sorry about no preview, don’t worry its loaded with returning talent too…)

Friday-Hultzen

Saturday-Morey

Sunday-Cody Winiarski. Cody is a JUCO transfer out of Wisconsin who really shined and impressed this fall. With Cody pitching Sundays it will allow Tyler Wilson to stay in the role he had last year as the set-up man and key reliever for Kevin Arico. Neal Davis will be the first lefty arm out of the pen.

As for the rest of the season this is how I see it playing out…….

I looked at the schedule and opponents and think that this could be the year UVa Baseball finally breaks the 50 win plateau.  Here is how I think the season will play out in order of the schedule(#’s are how many wins/games we will get):

ECU-2/3

GW-1/1

Rhode Island-3/3

JMU-1/1

Wright St/Dartmouth-4/4

@William and Mary-0/1

@FSU-2/3(WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! FSU is one intimidating place)

William and Mary-1/1

@JMU-1/1

Boston College-3/3

Marshall-1/1

Clemson-2/3

Towson-2/2

@NC St-2/3

Radford-1/1

Georgia Tech-2/3

@VMI-0/1

Virginia Tech-2/3

Richmond-1/1

George Mason-1/1

@Maryland-3/3

Coastal Carolina-0/1(impossible to beat Coastal, don’t ask)

Georgetown-1/1

@Duke-2/3

VSU-1/1

UNC-2/3

VMI-1/1

@Miami-1/3(tough way to end the season but we lost 2/3 @VT last year and we know how that turned out)

If you add all of those up it comes out to 42 and 14 losses. That prediction should be taken with a grain of salt because it is nearly impossible to predict everything that will happen(injuries, benchings, etc.). I could also see us coming out of the regular season with 46 wins, just depends on who is hot at the time.