After beating Liberty in Lynchburg last week, and following it up with a series sweep of Notre Dame, many thought the Hoos would cruise through their midweek games against VMI and VCU before squaring off with Louisville this upcoming weekend.
The boys were able to take care of business in front of their home away from home in Richmond against the Rams, but like many times before, VMI was able to get the best of the Cavaliers.
Tuesday's tilt against VCU was a game many have come to expect from this Cavalier program. The offense produced, the pitching was just about dominant, and the defense was almost perfect. First year Derek Casey had his best start of his career in front of his home crowd holding the Rams to just one earned run on four hits and two walks while striking out four. Josh Sborz relieved Kevin Doherty who struggled a bit in the 8th to close the door on the Rams and earn his 8th save of the season. Adam Haseley and Daniel Pinero paced the offense from the top of the lineup with five of the Cavaliers 11 hits and scoring three of the five runs. The win gave UVa their 5th straight victory, all of which came on the road.
As good as the pitching was on Tuesday, the staff that pitched against FSU two weeks ago showed up on Wednesday against the Keydets. The offense was able to do their job against VMI racking up six runs on eleven hits, including Pinero's fifth Home Run of the season, but wasn't enough. Three UVa pitchers combined to hold VMI scoreless over seven innings while striking out ten. Unfortunately, three other pitchers combined to get the other six outs and gave up all seven runs; none lasting more than an inning. But the runs should not be contributed entirely to VMI's stellar offense that only had eight hits on the night. UVa's pitching lost control again, as they did against FSU, walking ten and hitting another two batters.
The pitching struggles have been detailed countless times before, but twelve free base runners for the Keydets is the large reason they came away with a victory. I am sure Coach Kuhn was not pleased.
The split moved UVa's record to 19-9 on the season and gave them their first four game home losing streak under Coach O'Connor, and the first for the program since 2003.
The Hoos will look to rebound this weekend when they play host to highly-ranked Louisville in the two program's first ACC series against one another.