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Cavaliers Hit the Road to Atlanta

After suffering their first out of conference loss of the season, the Hoos travel to Atlanta this weekend to take on the Yellow Jackets

Even though they dropped their midweek game to Radford on Wednesday, the Cavaliers will rebound quickly and head to Atlanta for yet another ACC showdown.

Historically (as it seems is the case with every ACC team), the Yellow Jackets hold the advantage in the head to head matchup having earned a 66-44-2 record against the Hoos all time. However (ass it seems is the case with every ACC team), since Coach O'Connor has taken over the story has had a different feeling to it with UVa putting together an 18-11-1 record against Georgia Tech in his tenure. On top of that, the Hoos have taken (or tied: 2009 teams splith the first two games and tied on Sunday thanks to a travel time) ever series with the Yellow Jackets dating back to 2008 when GT was able to take two of three in Charlottesville.

This year the Yellow Jackets have one of the most potent offenses in the country and it has allowed them to put together a strong resume. Overall they have a 24-9 record which includes a 9-6 ACC record. That record has earned them a spot in every poll around the country; usually around #19. But they do have some head scratching losses including two midweek losses at the hands of Mercer and Georgia Souther, as well as a series loss to Duke last weekend in Durham.

As mentioned, their hitters have been phenomenal all season long. As a team they are batting .326 which puts them atop the ACC and fifth in the country overall. To match that high average they stand at the top of the ACC in hits, OPS, and slugging percentage. Those numbers are thanks in large part to Sr. OF Brandon Thomas who leads the league in average at .439. Although he is the only Yellow Jacket batting over .400, they have four more starters who are batting close to or above .350. One of those four is Jr. C Zane Evans, who to go along with his .347 average, has ten home runs and 41 RBI (both lead the team).

Their pitching staff has not been a slouch either. Their three weekend starters have combined to go 14-6 and are lead by Sr. Buck Farmer. Farmer is in the top five of the ACC in nearly every statistical category including wins (6), ERA (1.47), and strike outs (64). Farmer didn't have his best outing last year against the Cavaliers giving up 5 runs on five hits while only striking out six in six innings, so hopefully Coach Mac has a good scouting report already and knows the gameplan before Farmer does. Pitts and Isaacs (the other two starters) are not to be overlooked but are nowhere nearly as dominant as Farmer has been. They don't strike out nearly as many batters but have given up a comparable amount of hits to significantly less innings when compared to Farmer.

Both teams will enter the weekend reeling a bit with UVa dropping their last game to Radford and Georgia Tech losing their series last weekend at Duke, but I expect both teams will be on their games. I think it will be a close matchup and I believe I predicted a series loss for the Hoos at the beginning of the year. I could easily see that happening, but I believe that Coach O'Connor has GT's number, and that will help push the Hoos over the top. Hoos take two of three.