At this point I am starting to picture Charlottesville as a frozen tundra. Snow is amassing to the top of the Rotunda. Frat parties are being cancelled due to nobody being able to get to Rugbyhahahahaha.....just kidding, that would never happen.
But seriously, the baseball team has had to yet again move what was to be a home weekend series to South Carolina just to get the games in. Last weekend it was Charleston. This weekend, the boys bus down to Myrtle Beach to take on Hartford, Seton Hall, and Cornell. The Hawks and Seton Hall were supposed to come to Charlottesville this weekend, and the Big Red were to play George Mason. Cornell's series in Fairfax was cancelled due to weather (duh), so they decided it'd be fun to join in on the action in Myrtle Beach.
Historically, none of these teams have done much damage to the Cavaliers. Coach O'Connor has only faced off against Cornell and Seton Hall, but has a 4-0 record against Cornell and is 4-1 against Seton Hall. This will only be the second time in program history the Hoos have played Hartford; the last coming in 1989 as UVa lost 17-7 (the dark days).
This season, Hartford has gotten off to a pretty good start. Last weekend, Hartford played in Duke's round robin tournament, and went 2-1 by getting wins against Iona and Delaware State, and the lone loss coming at the hands of the Blue Devils. The Hawks' projected starter for Friday will be Kyle Gauthier, who put up stellar numbers last weekend against Iona by holding them to one run on three hits and striking out eight over seven innings. He even had impressive numbers last year going 4-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 15 appearances.
Seton Hall was swept in the opening weekend of the season by the Tar Heels, and had all three of their games against Old Dominion cancelled last weekend. The Pirates are expected to contend with St. Johns in the Big East, so this could be a good test for UVa. While their rotation is strong, their offense is what to watch for. First baseman and four hole hitter Sal Annunziata put up an impressive .303/.393/.503 line last year, while their leadoff man was 38 for 49 in stolen base attempts! The Pirates will clearly be the best opponent the Hoos have faced all year, but more importantly, Connor Jones having an impressive start will go a long way for his development and the coaching staff's confidence in the second year.
On Sunday, the Hoos will play Cornell who was swept in three one run affairs by Gardner-Webb. The Big Red finished near the bottom of the Ivy League last year, and are expected to finish somewhere down there again this year. Cornell is scheduled to send Kellen Urbon to the mound. The Senior RHP features a 0.00 ERA after holding Gardner-Webb scoreless on four hits and one walk in five innings last week. The offense will have four guys batting over .300 that played in all three games last week, but only one had an extra base hit, and none have more than a single RBI. Waddell shouldn't have a problem with the Big Red, so this will be on the offense to score enough to keep Cornell out of the game.
As for outlook, it would not surprise me if the Hoos come out of the weekend 3-0, but I expect they'll drop Saturday's game to Seton Hall. This will be UVa's third straight weekend away from Charlottesville, and for such a young offense, it could have some effects. At the end of the year, I think they will have enough experience under their belt that things like that will not matter, but we are still in February, and they are still first years.