Posted: 3:57 p.m. Friday, April 26, 2013
By Will Campbell
Hoos enter the weekend only two and a half games back of UNC in the Coastal Division standings. With UNC in a big time matchup this weekend at NC St, the Cavaliers could make up some ground if they are able to take care of business against the Hokies.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is one of the few programs in the ACC that UVa has a winning record all time against; which means that, historically, VPISU has been atrociously terrible. Since O'Connor has taken over it has gotten even worse with UVa amassing an 18-4 record. Not surprisingly, the Hoos only have one series loss in the matchup, but surprisingly, it came in 2009, was the final series of the regular season. We took the final game of the series that weekend, and since then UVa has an 8-2 record including winning two of three last weekend in Charlottesville.
This year many are giving more credit that VPISU might be due. They have a 25-17 record which includes a 9-12 record in the ACC. The reason many think so highly of the Hokies is because of their #15 RPI and their #3 SoS. When I look at their schedule, other than a single game against Notre Dame, and two games against UNC-Wilmington, Tennessee, and Kent St., I'm not that impressed. Moreso, they only won five of those seven games. Couple that with only three series wins (FSU (very good), Duke, and Maryland (meh and meh)) and I am not sure how that RPI is so high. In contrast, the Hoos' RPI is #3, SUCK ON THAT ONE BABAAYYY!
Anyways, their pitching is certainly not their strong point. Their 4.47 ERA ranks them 11th in the 12 team ACC (BC is last). They've given up the third most hits and they're tied with Clemson for second fewest strikeouts in the Conference. Wait, and the fourth most walks. Yeesh, poor position players are probably always playing from behind. They've only announced two of their three starting pitchers, but neither one has an ERA below a 3.50 ERA. LHP Joe Mantiply, who will start on Saturday, does have a 3-0 record, but gives up more than a hit per inning and has a .304 batting average against. As a team, the Hokies have a .270 batting average against. The starting nine of the Cavaliers can't wait for the first pitch.
At the plate VPISU is a bit more respectable. They're batting .288 which is actually fourth best in the conference; behind UVa's .306 average. They have 36 home runs on the season and only 8 triples as a team, which should tell all of you that they take some serious donkey hacks to go with their rather tiny stadium. Six of their starting nine are batting over .300 and are lead by Kyle Crockett's high school teammate, Chad Pinder. The Poquoson native is turning some MLB scouts' heads with his .339 average, 33 RBI, and a .464 slugging percentage. If the UVa pitching staff can be as dominant as they have been over the last two weeks against FSU and GT, it could be a tall order for Hokies.
As for the outlook on the weekend, I think the Cavaliers are going to take care of business, and put a serious dent into VPISU's postseason hopes. After last weekend, I don't think there is a single thing this Cavalier team can't do. The pitching should be as dominant as they have been over the last two weekends, and the batters should be able to easily handle the Hokies' pitching staff. Cavaliers sweep and do it well.