After beating Clemson in such dramatic fashion on Friday, it ended up taking the Cavaliers til Sunday to secure a series victory over Clemson, but in the end they were able to accomplish their goal.
Saturday was a tough pill to swallow for any UVa fan. Scott Silverstein started the game for the Hoos and didn't quite have his best stuff. He was only able to last 3.1 innings and gave up six runs on seven hits. His defense didn't back him up to well as only five of those six runs were earned. Things settled down for the UVa pitching staff after relieve Scott. The bullpen combined to only give up one run on three hits over the final 5.2 innings. Unfortunately, that lone run was the winning run in the bottom of the 9th.
Even though they lost, the story of the game was clearly the Virginia resiliency. The team never surrendered after falling behind in the bottom of the first. Clemson was even able to extend their leads in the second, third, and fourth innings before the Cavaliers would come storming back. Facing a three run deficit as they had on Friday, the Hoos were able to score two in the fifth and one more in the eighth to tie it up. Nearly all of the Cavalier hitters had at least one hit and most of them scored a run as well, but fell just short.
Sunday was the dominant performance that all UVa fans love seeing; especially against a program like Clemson. The Cavaliers took advantage of some shoddy defense from the Tigers and jumped out to an enormous 6-0 lead after five innings and could essentially put it on cruise control after that. Although Clemson would make it close by scoring five runs over the sixth through eighth innings, the Hoos would put it away with two runs of their own in the eighth.
If the Cavaliers can have a hitting performance like they did on Sunday with eight runs on 15 hits and two walks, there aren't many teams in the country that could hang with them. Fifth year Jared King had a break out performance going 3-5 with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI. It seemed like everytime you would look up during the game Jared would be on second with less than two outs about to score another UVa run; a thing of beauty.
Even though the hitters were able to mash out so many hits and runs over the course of the weekend, my vote for team MVP would go to Kyle Crockett. Kyle came out of the bullpen on Friday and Saturday to shutdown Clemson and secure the victories. He combined to pitch 4.2 innings and only allowed one run on five hits and even came away with the win on Friday thanks to Mike Papi. For the Hoos to be successful the rest of the season and in the long run Crockett is going to have to be lights out out of the bullpen.
With the series victory against Clemson, Coach O'Connor pushes his record to 23-5 against the Tigers. Even though their streak of nine straight victories against Clemson was ended on Saturday, the series victory streak lives on. The Hoos have taken every series against the Tigers dating back to 2005 when the Hoos lost the regular season series at Clemson, but did beat the Tigers twice in the ACC Tournament. Needless to say, Coach Leggett is happy he won't have to see Coach O'Connor again til at least the end of May!
Hoos have today off as they prepare for a two game midweek series with Yale. I wouldn't expect much from the Bulldogs as they will enter the series with a 1-7 record with their lone victory coming from Bucknell.