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UVA Baseball 2023 Preview: The Staff

The Hoos will have a completely revamped rotation and pen this season

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Vanderbilt vs Virginia Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Last season the Hoos had reliable starters to take the mound that featured plenty of experience in Nate Savino and Brian Gursky. Unfortunately, both have moved on from the Cavaliers and some old faces and a few newcomers will have to step in to take their place.

The starting rotation looks to be set with Brian Edgington, Nick Parker, and first year Jack O’Connor.

Friday starter Brian Edgington is a sixth year senior that transferred in from Elon. Over his career with Elon he featured a 3.90 ERA in 170.2 innings. D1Baseball’s Aaron Fitt describes Edington as a hard strike thrower and a competitor, which is what Coach O’Connor likes to see in his staff.

On Saturday the Hoos will start another transfer in senior Coastal Carolina transfer Nick Parker who went 6-3 with a 4.45 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 85 innings last season for the Chanticleers. The stats don’t like, but it will be interesting to see how the step up in competition to the ACC looks on both Edgington and Parker.

The most intriguing starter is without a doubt Sunday starter, first year, Jack O’Connor. O’Connor was the top recruit in the 2022 class and sits in the low 90s with his fastball. He obviously had looks to be drafted in last year’s draft, so if he can show that talent, it will be great to feature a first year in the rotation.

The other name to watch for the rotation will be Junior Jake Berry, who had 9 of the returning 13 starts from last year. He had a 4.79 ERA in 56.1 innings, but obviously has the most starting experience on the team. Over the summer he improved and impressed with a 2.93 ERA in 27.2 innings in the Cape Cod league.

One other name to know for this year’s staff will be Junior Connelly Early, a transfer from West Point. Like Jake Berry, many expected Early to be a figure in this year’s weekend staff after he posted a 7-4 record with a 3.26 ERA in 85 innings last season for Army. His .219 opponent batting average lead to him winning the Patriot League pitcher of the year in 2022, so it is easy to understand why most expected him to feature on the weekend.

The bullpen will be more of a question than even the rotation. The only returner with much experience is now starting QB, Jay Woolfolk. How much playing time he gets with the baseball team will be interesting to watch this season as both football Coach Tony Elliott and Coach O’Connor have alluded to the split time Woolfolk has this spring between baseball and football.

Other than Woolfolk out of the pen, the other names to watch will be VCU transfer Chase Hungate, Georgetown transfer Angelo Tonas, Sophomore Matthew Buchanan, and Freshmen Cullen McKay and Bradley Hodges.

Without a doubt the strong point of the Cavaliers this season will be their experienced and stout offensive lineup. If the pitching staff can hold on, keep it manageable, and just be adequate, the lineup could produce more than enough to have a stellar 2023 season for UVA.