After a great weekend that included two walk off wins and a complete game by Robert Morey, the Hoos look to stay hot as they travel to Miami to take on da U. Since Georgia Tech was able to win the series last week against Miami, the Hoos have a 2 game lead in the Coastal and will only need one win this weekend to win the ACC regular season title and the #1 seed in next weekend's ACC Tournament.
That one win to clinch the ACC will not come easily though. Miami has surprised a lot of people this year after starting the year outside of the top 25 and are now in the top 15 and looking to host a regional in the NCAA tournament. The U has always had strong starting pitching and this year is no different. Their rotation is anchored by former ACC Rookie of the Year and All-American Chris Hernandez. Two years ago, this kid was unhittable. He didn't suffer his first loss as a college pitcher 'til last year when Miami came to Charlottesville and we lit him up on a chilly Friday night. Anyway, he is having another great year with an 8-2 record and a 3.04 ERA. He likes to work mainly off of his cut fastball that moves away from lefties and in to right handed hitters. When it comes to Miami position players you need to know one name: Yasmani Grandal. A switch hitting catcher and future 1st round draft pick, he is leading the league in hitting this year with a silly .432 batting average on top of hitting 13 home runs and 52 RBIs. He has been a stud for all three years that he has worn the Miami uniform and just about single handedly beat us last year in Charlottesville.
Because the ACC tournament is next week the pitching rotation for UVa will be shaken up a bit this weekend. The tournament begins next Wednesday and runs till Sunday. In order to set up the rotation for the tournament and give the starting pitchers the same amount of rest, 1st year phenom Branden Kline is starting tonight, Morey will go Saturday, and Danny will pitch the final game Saturday. Even if the Hoos win tonight and don't need to win either of the next two games, I expect Morey and Hultzen to still start to get work in and stay on their game. You also might be asking, "Well, why is Danny starting Saturday and not Friday?" The reason I see for it is because the way the ACC tournament is set up (two 3-game round robin pools), if the Hoos win their first 2 games they might have a meaningless third game which would allow Danny to pitch the ACC Championship game.
The Hoos will look to extend their current 14-game winning streak but it won't be easy. Miami has one of the more difficult environments to play in the conference. Coral Gables loves the school and the baseball team is one of their shining teams in the area. Since the Hoos could win the 1st game and make the rest of the series virtually meaningless I am a bit torn on how the series to turn out. Having said that, I still think the Cavs will win 2 games, win the series, and the ACC regular season. Coach O'Connor won't take a game off even if it is meaningless and especially with all the struggles we have had with Miami in the recent years (haven't won a series vs. da U since '07).
As always, I will be providing as many updates as I can on twitter via @STLUVaBaseball. Also, UNC plays for their ACC tournament berth this weekend against VPI&SU. For this weekend, we are all Heels. WAHOOWA and GO HOOS!