Whatever demons that seemed to haunt the Cavalier baseball team last weekend appear to have been exorcised. Since losing to Kentucky last Friday, the Hoos have won six straight and outscored their opponents 49-8. As I wrote about in the preview, this team is going to have a monster year at the plate. Luckily, the pitching has been just as dominant.
Friday's game was touted as one of the best matchups in the country with ECU's ace Jeff Hoffman on the mound. Brandon Downes and Mike Papi were not going to allow the scouts to go away more impressed with Hoffman than the Hoos. Downes went 2-4 with both hits being solo home runs that put the Cavaliers in the lead. Papi was 1-4, but his lone hit was a two out double that scored Brandon Cogswell and tied the game. Nathan Kirby relished his opportunity as the Friday starter only allowing four hits over 6.1 innings. He gave up two earned runs, but both came via a two out bases loaded infield fly ball that got either caught in the wind or in the sun and dropped. Mayberry and Howard flexed the bullpen muscle holding the Pirates hitless over the final 2.2 innings securing Howard's first career save.
The Hoos jumped out early on Saturday and never looked back. Two runs in the third and another in the fourth were all Sborz and the staff would need. The second year was nearly as dominant this weekend as he was last weekend against UNC-W firing five scoreless innings, striking out six, and only allowing three hits. 2nd year David Rosenberger and 1st year Connor Jones both held ECU scoreless over two innings allowing only two hits. Papi, McCarthy, and Fisher all had multi hit games and one RBI to pace the offense to the 4-0 victory.
Going for the sweep on Sunday, Oak turned to former Friday starter Brandon Waddell to shut down the Pirates, and boy did he. Waddell scattered two ECU runs and five hits over 5.2 innings before turning the game over to the bullpen to secure the sweep. Like Friday, Mayberry and Howard held ECU scoreless the rest of the game to give UVa the 6-2 W. For the offense, two out hits were the name of the game as all six runs were scored with two outs. Four of those even came in one inning! First year Matt Thaiss showed everyone that if and when Nate Irving needs a break, offense will certainly not be lost. Thaiss had an RBI and two runs scored thanks to three hits. To have first years options like Thaiss and Pinero will be an amazing threat for Oak to use this season.
The Hoos take Monday off before returning to the Dav to welcome VMI on Tuesday.