If today's performance was any indication of how Nathan Kirby is going to perform all season, the Hoos will not have to worry about dropping too many Friday night games. Like so many games last season, Kirby was dominant. The Hoos were only able to push three runs across off of ten hits and a walk, but they did not need much more.
Last season Kirby had 9 wins and a 2.06 ERA. This season Kirby is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA thus far. Things are going pretty well for the 3rd year. In the end, he pitched seven strong shutout innings and held ECU to only three hits and two walks while striking out five.
The only rough patch came in the 8th when Alec Bettinger came on for Kirby. Bettinger faced four batters, allowing a single, a ground rule double, and hit a batter. After he plunked his 4th batter to load the bases, Coach O'Connor had seen enough and went to his closer, Josh Sborz. Sborz sacrificed a run for an out and got another flyball to end the ECU threat. The 9th was less dramatic as Sborz put down the Pirates in order to earn his first save as the UVa closer.
On the offensive side, Kenny Towns continued to love playing in Greenville. The 4th year was 3-4 with a run scored in the 4th to give the Hoos the 1-0 lead. 1st year Ernie Clement and 3rd year Robbie Coman pitched in with multiple hit games of their own.
The final run for the Hoos' offense came in the 8th as Danny Pinero lifted a 3-2 pitch over the leftfield fence for his first home run of the season and as the UVa SS. If Pinero developed some power over the offseason, watch out.
This game was essentially what we expected from the Cavaliers. A dominant performance by the starting pitcher and closer, while the offense did what was needed. The one thing to worry about is the bridge from the starting pitching to Sborz. One game certainly isn't any indication that there is something to be worried about, but Bettinger will need to be a bit better.
Hoos and the Pirates return to the field tomorrow in a doubleheader to conclude the series. Go Hoos!