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Cavaliers Travel to Blacksburg for ACC Weekend

After dropping their midweek game to ODU, the Hoos travel to Blacksburg to take on the Hokies in their second ACC weekend series.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

While 95% of America's eyes will be on Greensboro and the other remaining conference tournaments, the UVa baseball team returns to action looking to remain atop the ACC Coastal standings.

UVa and Virginia Tech obviously know each other very well. The two have squared off 174 times with the Cavaliers coming out on top 95 of those meetings. Since Coach O'Connor took over the Hoos have maintained that dominance compiling a 22-7 record and winning seven of the nine series. Coach Oak's .759 winning percentage is his fourth best amongst ACC teams, only having a better record against Duke (.771), Clemson (.806), and Boston College (.864).

This year the Hokies come limping into the series. After getting everyone's hopes up that they might host the College World Series in 2013, VT has been on a steady decline and doesn't look to be heading in the right direction this year. They're 7-9 thus far this season and are riding a three game losing streak entering the weekend. Last weekend they dropped two of three at Wake Forest, giving up an average of 11 runs a game!

The Hokies weekend rotation all feature a .500 or better record, but none have an ERA of less than 2.70. Their Friday starter, Sean Keselica has the best stats with a 2.71 ERA, a decent 1.09 WHIP (Excluding HBP), and 2-1 record, but was touched up for  five (5) runs on seven (7) hits over just six (6) innings last weekend in Winston Salem; although he did eventually earn the win thanks to the Hokies scoring twelve (12) runs. The most encouraging stat for the Hoos offense is the .374 average Wake Forest was able to achieve last weekend. However, ten (10) of those hits were HRs because Wake plays in a band box.

At the plate, the Hokies will feature two batters batting over .300 in Erik Payne and Alex Perez. While these two have the best averages, it appears they both set the table for Sr. Brendon Hayden who leads the team in HRs, Slugging Percentage, extra base hits, and RBI. The good news is both Hayden and Perez are lefthanded, so Kirby and Waddell should be able to go to work. If UVa can keep Payne and Perez off the base paths and minimize the damage Hayden has a chance to inflict, the Hoos should have no problem.

When Pete Hughes left after the 2013 season to head for Oklahoma, the Hokies clearly took a step in the wrong direction. Pat Mason might be able to turn it around in the future, but I don't see it happening this weekend. UVa sweeps all three behind strong pitching and defense as usual.