Winners of nine of their last ten and riding a six game winning streak, the Cavaliers will finally get into the meat of their schedule this weekend when ACC play kicks off. The Hoos will drink straight from the firehose with No. 8 and presently undefeated NC State comes to Charlottesville.
The Wolfpack sit at 12-0 and are one of the more impressive teams thus far this spring. They were widely projected to be a Top 25 team and compete with Louisville to win the ACC Atlantic division, but their bats have been superb to start the season and have lead them to an unblemished record. Like UVa, they haven’t played the toughest schedule so far and have yet to face a ranked team this season, but did go 3-0 last weekend against Big Ten opponents and beat the tar out of Coastal Carolina on Wednesday, 24-7.
This weekend’s series will be a bit of a revenge series for the Hoos. Though the two teams have split the last 6 meetings against each other, the Wolfpack have won the last three series against UVa including taking the final two games from the Cavaliers last March in Raleigh.
This season they have been lead in large part by their impressive lineup. They’re currently leading the country with a .348 average (UVa - .303) and have put up a .618 slugging percentage (UVa - .494). They are lead in large part by Junior Devonte Brown, who batted .286 last season, but is literally on fire so far batting .432 with 17 runs scored, 5 home runs, and 18 RBI. Preseason All-American catcher Patrick Bailey has been impressive as well with a .308 average, 5 home runs, and 16 RBI. In all, their lineup will feature 8 starters who are batting over .300 and have started more than two-thirds of NC State’s games so far this season.
They won’t be pushovers on the mound either. The three starters for NC State are a combined 5-0 and have only allowed 7 earned runs in 47 innings. Saturday starter Nick Swiney has been the ace thus far with a 3-0 record in three games started including 37 strikeouts in just 21 innings pitched. He’s allowed 0 runs in two of his three games and held Purdue to one hit and no walks in 8 innings while striking out 15 last weekend.
The Hoos will clearly have their work cut out for them this weekend against an NC State team that has put up gaudy numbers thus far. This is a series UVa could use to serve notice to the rest of the ACC and country if they are able to win. The type of series the coaching staff has used in the past to motivate the team and get them rolling.