Coming off a weekend to remember in Charleston and another midweek comeback and Coach O’Connor’s 600th win during the week against VMI, the Hoos are back at Davenport this weekend to take on Rutgers.
This will be the first matchup between Rutgers and Virginia since 1962, but diehard UVa baseball fans will know Rutgers has played in Charlottesville since then. The Scarlet Knights were apart of the Charlottesville Regional in the 2007 NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed, but did not play the No. 1 Cavaliers after they lost to a dumb team from some dumb state out west.
The Scarlet Knights are only 1-2 on the season after opening 2017 last weekend in Miami and dropping the series to the Hurricanes. Not much more is expected of Rutgers as most experts think they’ll likely finish near the bottom of the Big Ten this season.
They’ll be anchored by their Friday and Saturday starters, Jr. John O’Reilly (0-1, 2.57) and So. Serafino Brito (0-1, 6.00). O’Reilly had a 5.23 ERA last season, but is expected to take a step forward based off of experience and talent alone. Brito meanwhile is regarded as one of the top prospects in the Big Ten for the 2018 draft. Their 0-1 records should not be underestimated, Virginia will have need to put runs on the board early to try and get to the Knights’ bullpen.
After only putting up 4 runs on Friday and Saturday against Miami, Rutgers exploded for 17 runs on 16 hits on Sunday against the Canes. The Knights have a more than capable offense. The key to Rutgers success it seems is limiting the walks, after one on Friday and 3 on Saturday, the Canes issued 9 on Sunday which seemingly allowed the Knights to easily move runners and push them across. 6 errors from Miami did not hurt Rutgers’ ability either.
Jawuan Harris has lead the Rutgers offense thus far batting .500 last weekend with 2 doubles and 2 home runs while also earning 4 walks and scoring 6 runs. Harris was also 2-2 in stolen base attempts, so keeping Harris in check should be the Cavalier staff’s main goal.
Rutgers is talented, but it is clear Virginia’s program is considered on a different level than the Scarlet Knights. The games should be competitive given UVa’s recent history, but the Cavaliers should be able to handle the series fairly easily.