The Hoos start a rare 8 game road trip this weekend by traveling down to Florida to take on the red hot and top ranked Miami Hurricanes.
UVa is currently in second place in the Coastal division, while Miami is atop the division at 13-3. Even though they're in second, the Hoos are already five games behind the Canes. Miami even leads the conference overall with a game up on the 13-5 Louisville Cardinals. The Hurricanes haven't lost an ACC series this season, only dropping solo games to Duke (last weekend), Louisville, and Virginia Tech. They can also boast of sweeps of Clemson and UNC.
Historically, under Coach O'Connor, Miami is one of the few teams UVa has struggled against. Oak only has a 21-18 record, but has won every series against the Hurricanes since 2009.
This year could be different. Miami features two Golden Spike Midseason Watch-List nominees in Bryan Garcia and Zack Collins.
Garcia anchors a rotation that has four starters with four or more wins. Garcia is 6-2 on the season and is 5th in the ACC with a 2.08 ERA. Garcia's teammate, Jesse Lepore is not far behind at 8th in the ACC with a 2.21 ERA and a 5-0 record of his own. To make matters more difficult, the Hurricanes have the closer leading the ACC in saves with 10 in Bryan Garcia.
The other half of the Golden Spike nominees, Zack Collins leads Miami and is 4th in the ACC in batting average with a .410 average. He's also 3rd in slugging percentage at .710, 1st in on base percentage (.580), 5th in RBI and Home Runs, and 1st in walks. So, the Hoos will have to pay a fair amount of attention to Collins to limit the damage he might inflict.
Unfortunately, Miami is also allowed to bat 8 more players, have a team average of .295, and three more players batting over .330. Out of that group, table setter Carl Chester is the one to keep an eye on. He's 8-13 on the year in stolen base attempts and leads Miami in runs scored with 32. A .472 on base percentage certainly helps Chester with those stats.
All three games will be featured on ESPN3. Friday and Saturday's games will be on during primetime at 7 and the Sunday finale starts at 1.