The 2019 season certainly did not get off to the start many had hoped. The Cavaliers traveled to Arizona to take on Vanderbilt, TCU, and Cal State Fullerton in some College World Series rematches. The Hoos came out on the short end of the stick in all three contests.
Vanderbilt 15 - Virginia 9
The Cavaliers started the season off on Friday in one of the toughest games possible. Vanderbilt is widely considered to be one of the top two or three teams in the country, and it showed. UVa’s Griff McGarry struggled in his season debut walking four and giving up six hits and five runs over three innings. Chesdin Harrington followed McGarry and struggled as well as Vanderbilt had a two out rally that seemingly never ended. On the bright side, Riley Wilson, Evan Sperling, Blake Bales, and Grant Donahue limited the Commodores to just two runs on four hits over the final 5.1 innings. The bats were also there early and often for the Hoos scoring at least one run in five of the first seven innings. Zack Gelof impressed everyone in his UVa debut going 4-5 with three doubles, four RBI, and two runs scored.
TCU 9 - Virginia 4
First year pitcher Mike Vasil’s UVa debut did not go according to play on Saturday either. Vasil only lasted 3.2 innings by allowing five runs on six hits and four walks. Third year transfer Paul Kosanovich come on in relief, but much of the TCU damage was already done. Upperclassmen Tanner Morris and Cameron Simmons carried the offense with two hits a piece and second year Brendan Rivoli added two RBI from the DH spot.
Cal State Fullerton 6 - Virginia 5
Perhaps the roughest result of the weekend came on Sunday at the hands of Fullerton. Noah Murdock showed why he could be the most reliable starter on the staff this season holding the Titans to just three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out five over six innings. Tanner Morris and Brendan Rivoli again carried the offense with three and two hits respectively, with each adding a run scored as well. With a 5-3 lead entering the ninth, all would be for not as Fullerton would score three thanks in large part to two walks and a HBP in the inning. Fullerton would add three hits of their own, with a two out, bases loaded single scoring the go ahead run for the Titans.
The first weekend of the year and an 0-3 start against three Top 25 teams isn’t going to ruin the 2019 season for the Cavaliers. With how young they are, growing pains were sure to be felt early, and likely will continue to be felt the rest of the season. The offense averaged six runs and 9 hits a game. Against normal teams, that wins ball games.
The startling stat was surely the pitching staff. Normally the backbone of UVa’s historically dominant teams, the staff allowed on average five walks and nearly 14 hits per game. Much of that can be attributed to young arms and the first weekend of the season, but ACC play starts in three weeks with a Duke team many are picking to make the NCAA Tournament again this season.