Clemson is a damn good team. They will make some noise in the postseason, and if they're not in the South Carolina regional (again), they'll likely make the Super Regionals at the least. Hell, if I had my way, UVa wouldn't have to play them next month in Greensboro for the ACC tournament until the Championship game on Sunday.
This past weekend it took all UVa had to fend off the Tigers, and the Hoos showed why they deserve to be the #1 team in the country: timely hitting and just fan-freaking-tastic pitching.
Friday saw the Hoos string together a couple of hits early and take advantage of some fortunate Clemson errors. The boys took the lead 2-0 in the 2nd and then recaptured it in the 4th for good thanks to a Nate Irving two out double. Kirby picked up where he left off last weekend in Pittsburgh by holding Clemson to just two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out six over six innings. Whit Mayberry and Nick Howard do what they have done all season by shutting down the opposition in the back third of the game, combining to give up just one hit and one walk over the final three innings to secure the victory.
Saturday just wasn't the Cavaliers day. Many fans pointed to the "lack of hustle" or "desire to win" as the reason UVa lost. Honestly, if you believe that this team, and every other team in the country doesn't "want to win" every game, I suggest you stop watching sports in general. Yes, their level of enthusiasm might not be at 100% like it is most games, but keeping that intensity up over a 56 game regular season and 15+ game postseason is impossible. Calm down and understand that Clemson just beat them. Clemson played their A game, and UVa had a subpar performance. Nothing more than that.
Sunday was back to the norm for UVa. With one out and bases loaded in the third, UVa's bases loaded leader hit a sac fly that scored the game's only run. The Hoos only tallied 4 hits on the day, compared to Clemson's 8, but sometimes all it takes is one run thanks to the most dominant pitching staff in the country. Brandon Waddell showed why he could be a Friday guy for anyone else in the ACC by shutting out Clemson over 6.1 innings and striking out four. Whit and Howard (#TrueDetectiveSeason2) shut the back third down again only allowing two hits and a walk to secure the 1-0 win and series victory. The Save was Howard's 11th on the season and keeps him atop the ACC save leaders and at no worse than 3rd in the country (stats aren't updated yet).
The series victory means UVa is now tied with FSU and Miami for the ACC lead and Miami for the Coastal Division lead. Fortunately, UVa took two of three from Miami a few weeks ago, so the Hoos are actually in the lead for the Coastal. Miami and FSU don't play each other this year in ACC play (thanks, expansion), but UVa and FSU will square off in two weeks in Tallahassee in one of the biggest weekends of the year.
The series victory means that the Hoos have now won all of their weekends so far this year, 8 straight ACC weekends dating back to last season, and 9 straight home ACC weekends. I don't have the time or means to look into the rest of the country's schedules, but I would bet nobody else in the country can claim those numbers (especially in legitimate conferences).
Also, look for the Hoos to retake the top spot in this week's polls thanks to FSU losing its' series at Georgia Tech this past weekend.
The boys have an easy week this week with only one midweek game, against Radford on Tuesday before welcoming the streaky Tar Heels to Davenport Field.