When we entered the year and UVa was ranked #1 by so many media sources it was mainly because of their vaunted offense loaded with any number of veterans that could be an All-American and first years that were primed to make their mark on the program the minute they arrived. Unfortunately, absent a few games, that offense just hasn't been there.
This weekend was the season in three games.
On Friday the offense and staff showed why they should be regarded as the most complete team in the country. All but one starter in the lineup had a hit, and that lone wolf still scored a run. The story of the day had to be Kenny Towns who had been slumping just about the entire season. He had broken out on Tuesday against James Madison and continued his ways Friday going 3-3 with two runs scored and three RBI. Nate Irving joined in three hits, 2 runs scored, and an RBI of his own. Nate Kirby toed the rubber to get the W for the Cavaliers and turned in yet another impressive performance shutting out BC over 6.1 innings and striking out four. The bullpen did allow a run in the end, but it was irrelevant as the Hoos went on to win 8-1.
Saturday's doubleheader conundrum played against Friday's offensive outburst is why hundred of Cavalier fans have scratched their heads after games this season. Let's go ahead and put the pitching staff aside for both games. Five guys (Sborz, Waddell, C. Jones, Mayberry, & Howard) combined to hold BC to just three runs over 21 innings while striking out 23 and only walking four. That's damn good, I don't care what ACC, MEAC, or Bay Rivers District team you're playing against.
The offense, on the other hand, was a different story. Over those same 21 innings BC held the UVa offense to five runs. The good news for the UVa fans out there is that the team did notch 18 hits and 11 walks. In the end, the boys did pull out two ACC Ws 3-2 and 2-1, but they certainly weren't pretty.
The offense didn't have their A game, but it wasn't a D or F game either. They had plenty of hits, walks, and opportunities to score runs, they just couldn't manufacture the runs. Hell, in the first game alone they had ten leadoff runners get on base and only pushed across three runs. The left on base problem, in my opinion, is the biggest problem this offense is facing. They get plenty of hits, plenty of walks, and put plenty of pressure on the defense inning in and inning out. The problem comes when a runner gets to scoring position and the next two or three batters cannot come through with a clutch hit.
The coaches know it is frustrating, and the players certainly know as well. Hopefully, as the season progresses, those clutch hits will begin to fall and the runs will come in bunches. Until that time, we will just have to remain patient and hope the pitching can stay dominant.