Let’s get the obvious out of the way now. At 4-8 in the ACC through 12 games, this is easily Coach O’Connor’s worst start to ACC play. The last time Virginia finished a season four games or more under .500 in ACC play was the 2002 Cavaliers that finished 8-16.
Forget NCAA Tournament hopes, the Hoos are in serious danger of missing the 12 team ACC tournament next month. They are currently tied with Notre Dame, Boston College, and Pitt for the 10th spot.
But the season is not lost yet.
This weekend the 12-15, 5-7 Virginia Tech Hokies come to town. A series sweep would go a long way in righting the ship, but even a series victory could send a message that this team won’t go down without a fight.
The Hokies are batting pretty well in 2018 with a .270 batting averegage and .398 slugging percentage. Lead in large parts to Jack Owens and Tom Stoffell, who are batting .324 and .323, respectively. Owens also leads the team in on base percentage at .461, while also leading the Hokies with nine stolen bases in nine attempts.
Tech’s Sunday starter is yet to be announced, but Connor Coward and Luke Scherzer (Max’s brother?), both scheduled to start Friday, have struggled in ACC play. Coward is the Hokies ace and has posted a 2-1 ACC record to go with a 3.76 ERA. Most impressive though is his .210 batting average against. Scherzer is an interesting choice for the other starter as he’s thrown only 7.1 innings on the season through four starts, and only 6.1 innings in 3 starts during ACC play. During those ACC appearances he has an 8.53 ERA and opponents are batting .370 against him.
Not having Jake McCarthy in the lineup the last few weeks has obviously been a detriment to the lineup with the pitching staff putting up strong fights in most games.
This Hokie team is obviously beatable, and the Cavaliers are in must win mode. History is on Virginia’s side in this series, but 2018 has not been kind to UVa baseball thus far.