Last weekend the Virginia Cavaliers went toe to toe with two formidable offenses in Old Dominion and South Carolina. Both of those squads seemingly had better offenses that relied heavily on pounding out home runs and scoring in bunches. Over four games, the Cavaliers held them to just 12 runs combined.
UVA will face a similar task this weekend when they face Dallas Baptist. They rank 3rd nationally in home runs and 10th in the nation in scoring and while they do hit a lot of home runs, they are also 22nd in the nation in doubles, while 10th in walks.
The biggest question for this Patriots’ lineup will be whether their 3 hole hitter, Jace Grady, and 4 hole, Cole Moore, can play this weekend as both were removed from games last weekend in Forth Worth with injuries. Grady was 2nd on the team in average with a .343 average while Moore came in right behind him with a .331 average. Batting in the cleanup position, Moore was a large part of the home run output with 11 and a .609 slugging percentage.
Missing Moore and Grady could be huge for the Patriots, but they are undoubtedly lead by Senior Jackson Glenn. Glenn lead the team with a .364 average, a 1.151 OPS, a .716 slugging percentage, 51 RBI, and 19 home runs. Not to mention he was 13 for 13 in stolen base attempts. Not only thought of as one of the best players in the Missouri Valley Conference, where he was selected as the 2021 player of the year, but one opposing coach told D1Baseball that he thought Glenn “is one of the best players in college baseball.”
Hitting in front of Glenn will be speedy leadoff hitter River Town (real name, I swear). Town has a .436 on base percentage and was 20 for 23 in stolen base attempts this season. He lead the team with 13 HBPs and racked up 30 walks as well, so keeping him off the basepaths will be crucial for UVA.
Batting behind Glenn and Town will likely be DH Austin Bell and 3b Andrew Benefield, who replaced Moore and Grady in the lineup when they went down. Though he’s batting just .278 on the season, Bell has put together a 1.007 OPS and had a hit and a run scored in DBU’s last three games of the Ft. Worth regional. Benefield’s stats for the year are similar to Bell’s, but he is one of the biggest reasons the Patriots are in this position as he is responsible for the go ahead grand slam against Oregon State in the Regional Championship game.
D1Baseball gives the offensive edge to the Patriots this weekend, but the UVA staff has faced similar situations all year. Limiting the damage from the top of the DBU lineup, particularly Jackson Glenn, will be key.