The Virginia Cavaliers baseball team opened last week in dominant fashion. Friday featured a 24-5 win over Navy via the mercy rule, in which the ‘Hoos boasted a team batting averaging over .500. On Saturday, leadoff hitter Griff O’Farrell’s four hits propelled the Hoos to a 8-4 victory over Ohio. Then, the ‘Hoos concluded the weekend, with a nearly flawless performance on both sides, as they topped UNC Wilmington 7-0. Virginia did not skip a beat into the midweek game, hosting Longwood and winning 26-2.
Here are four takeaways from UVA’s first four games of baseball:
You cannot ask the offense to do much more
Virginia’s 65 runs in the first four games of the season falls just behind the inaugural 1889 club, according to the official UVA Baseball Twitter account. The bats were considered a clear strength for the Cavaliers going into the season, but this is unprecedented territory.
Jake Gelof is already in midseason form
The star third baseman, who mashed 21 home runs and 81 RBIs in his sophomore campaign, has picked up right where he left off. He already has three bombs this season, including one off a Longwood outfielder’s glove a la Jose Canseco.
Jake Gelof's shortest career HR.— Virginia Baseball (@UVABaseball) February 21, 2023
Hoos up 6-0 after 2.
: ACCNX | #GoHoos pic.twitter.com/nJUQsBO4Y3
Scouts rave about Gelof’s powerful swing with an equal ability to not get cheated in the box. His nearly 1:1 walk to strikeout ratio in 2022 speaks to that. Gelof will be the force behind the amount of success the team has this year... and it is looking pretty good so far.
The rotation flashes plenty of potential
Virginia trotted out Brian Edgington, Nick Parker, and Jack O’Connor for the opening weekend and will appear to do the same in the upcoming series. The intriguing thing that stands out is balance. Edgington will pitch to contact while limiting damage and induce tons of ground balls with his nasty splitter. Parker opened the year with a 10 strikeout performance, but will still be efficient and go deep into games consistently. O’Connor is a tall, flame-throwing righty with a legitimate four pitch arsenal as a freshman.
Like I said, Jake Gelof and the bats will carry this team. It’s a matter of whether the pitching holds them back. Fortunately, the first weekend tournament showed nothing but promise.
Freshmen are making their mark
Among other things, early season blowouts are good for getting the youth some much needed in-game reps. Henry Godbout stood out especially with multiple three-hit performances to start his collegiate career. On the mound, Evan Blanco, Bradley Hodges, Kevin Jaxel, and Cullen McKay each accounted for scoreless innings.
The Cavaliers host Columbia for a three game series over the weekend. Friday features a double header, with the preliminary game set to begin at 2:00 pm. Sunday concludes the series with a 1:00 pm first pitch. The Lions are no slouch, coming off of an Ivy League championship and winning three games in 2022’s Blacksburg regional before finally being eliminated by Virginia Tech. This will be a much bigger test for the ‘Hoos than the first four games of the season.