UVa is 2-0 on the weekend after beating Kent State on Friday and Appalachian State on Saturday. Here's how the two games played out:
Virginia 8 - Kent St. 6
In the much anticipated opening day matchup between two of the best pitchers in the country, it was Virginia's Connor Jones who got the better of Eric Lauer from Kent State as the Hoos defeated the Golden Flashes 8-6. Jones was masterful pitching seven shutout innings, scattering three hits, no walks, and adding eight strike outs confirming why he is considered by many a potential top five pick in this year's draft.
Jones and Lauer traded scoreless innings until Virginia finally got to the Kent State starter in the fourth when after Laurer loaded the bases then threw a wild pitch which scored Robbie Coman. Immediately after Ernie Clement delivered a two-out two-run single to give the Hoos a 3-0 lead.
Virginia added another run in the seventh, and broke the game wide open against the Golden Flash bullpen in the eighth highlighted by Freshman Cameron Simmons' first college home run.
The game wasn't without drama however as in the top of the ninth Kent State batted around against the UVA relievers Chesdin Harrington and David Rosenberg scoring six runs on five hits. Rosenberger would get two outs before giving way to Alec Bettinger who got the games final out to record the save.
Virginia was led at the plate by Clement and Matt Thaiss who had three apiece. Clement and Pavin Smith delivered the runs both chipping in two RBI.
Virginia 8 - Appalachian State 0
Just about every year UVa will have a starting pitcher that takes a few people by surprise. Years ago it was Matt Packer and just four years ago it was Brandon Waddell. This year, it looks like it might be Daniel Lynch. Lynch wasn't expected to be in the rotation til Coach O'Connor announced he would be earlier this week, but he did not disappoint on Saturday. The lefty first year impressed in his first career start throwing a shutout over 5 innings while striking out 9 and only surrendering four hits and two walks.
Fellow first year, and candidate for greatest name in program history, Holden Grounds, relieved Lynch and kept the Mountaineers off the board for two more innings striking out four and giving up a walk and hit. Redshirt sophomore Jack Roberts closed out the shutout over the final two innings striking out five more, including the side in the final frame.
In all, the staff combined 18 strikeouts, which according to The Daily Progress's Andrew Ramspacher was the most in a long time
Tonight was #UVa's first 18 K game since Nathan Kirby's no-hitter on April 4, 2014.— Andrew Ramspacher (@ARamspacher) February 21, 2016
Even though the staff was the story for the day, 9 Cavaliers recorded hits in the game, including four who had multiple hits on the day. Second year Pavin Smith lead the Hoos with four hits, two of which were doubles to lead off innings. Ernie Clement and Adam Haseley also added two hits of their own, Haseley pitching in two runs and Clement with an RBI and run of his own.
The two wins mean UVa has started the season 2-0 with a chance to finish the weekend undefeated on Sunday. The Hoos play Coastal Carolina on Sunday at 1. The Chanticleers started the weekend impressively with a 17-2 drubbing of Appalachian State on Friday, but struggled with NC State on Saturday losing 10-13.