The baseball season is finally upon us and boy do the Virginia Cavaliers have a doozy of an opening weekend in Arizona.
Over the past three seasons the Hoos have played the likes of The Citadel, Kansas, Kent State, Rice, UCF, and Samford.
This season they’ll get to face off against No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 17 TCU, and No. 24 Cal State Fullerton; all three the Hoos have played in Omaha over the last ten years.
Like seemingly every year in recent memory, the Vanderbilt Commodores are expected to be one of the top teams in the country. Many expect them to make yet another run to the CWS. On Friday, UVa will see RHP Drake Fellows, who will be Vanderbilt’s Friday night starter again. Last season, Fellows put up a 7-4 record and a 3.92 ERA in 96 innings pitched while striking out 107. At the plate last season Vanderbilt was good, but not great. Many, including D1Baseball expect them to improve thanks to returning most of their starters and bringing in an impressive recruiting class. Not to mention, they return three starters in Stephen Scott, Pat Demarco, and Ethan Paul who all had double digit home runs last season. This Vanderbilt team is good.
On Saturday the Cavaliers will get their first look in stud first year pitcher Mike Vasil in the orange and blue as he was named the starter against TCU. The Horned Frogs will counter with RE-Junior Jared Janczak, who only had a 1-1 record in 42 innings before going down with a season ending injury. I’d imagine he is still working back, so who knows how long Janczak will be on the mound.
Cal. State Fullerton
Fullerton had somewhat of a down year last year only going 36-25, but got on a heater in the Stanford regional and rolled through it in three straight games. Ultimately, they would lose to Washington in three games. D1Baseball expects them to win the Big West conference once again and make another NCAA Tournament appearance. SS Sahid Valenzuela is one of the top draft prospects for this upcoming season, but their freshman catcher Kameron Guangorena could be the best freshman in the conference.
This will be one of the best tournaments in the country this weekend. All eyes will be on the MLB Network on Friday to watch the Hoos play Vanderbilt. Look for UVa to make a statement and get off to a great start.