Today marks the first day of the 2010 NCAA tournament. Hopefully many of you are in Charlottesville to witness the Hoos begin their attempt to make their 2nd straight trip to the College World Series. The first game of the day has the Cavs playing their in-state rival the VCU Rams and the later game pits UVa's 2009 Super-Regional opponent Ole Miss against the Big East Champions of St. Johns.
Even though the Hoos beat the Rams 10-5 earlier this year in a midweek game I don't expect this to be as easy of a game as most think. In their midweek game both teams had their midweek starters on the mound instead of the weekend pitchers that will be starting this weekend. The Rams will start their ace for the season, Seth Cutler-Voltz. Cutler-Voltz has a pretty impressive 8-3 record and a 3.20 ERA in 16 games started this year. Their offense has 3 players batting over .330 on the season including Joe Van Meter who has an extraordinary .433 average. They don't hit many home runs but that is because they play in a pitchers friendly park much like the Hoos.
The night game will feature a top 5 pick on the mound in Drew Pomeranz for Ole Miss taking on St. Johns. Ole Miss has had a pretty impressive run this year but has struggled as of late. They started off the season quite hot and were ranked in the top 10 for much of the year but lost their last 3 series of the year and went 2-2 in the SEC tournament. Their pitching is obviously impressive since they are anchored by the All-American in Pomeranz. Their hitting has not been quite as remarkable as they rely a bit on the home run like much of the power hitting SEC.
St. John's brings a 40-18 record and the Big East tournament championship to the table this weekend in Charlottesville. St. John's is a bit of a surprise as most had UCONN, Pitt, and Louisville being the tournament representatives from the conference this year. The Red Storm went 4-0 and beat both NCAA regional hosts UCONN and Lousiville on the way to the title. St. John's will counter Pomeranz with their ace, Kyle Hansen who has an 8-1 record and 3.09 ERA in the not so baseball-strong Big East conference. They do have a fairly good hitting team with a combined .327 average and 55 Home Runs but I don't see them hitting that well against Ole Miss.
Hoos outhit and outpitch the Rams and win 7-2
Ole Miss wins the battle of the pitching and beat St. John's 5-1
Here are some other Charlottesville previews from other college baseball pundits:
Rival's Kendall Rogers: http://bit.ly/9kRHAR
Baseball America's Aaron Fitt: http://bit.ly/9AhX0B