Thursday, April 28, 2011

series preview: Boston College

Date/Time: April 29-May 1; 2:30, 1:30, 1:30

TV: none

History against the Eagles: 14-1

Last matchup: UVA 6, BC 4; 5/26/10; Greensboro, NC (ACC Tournament)

Last game: UVA 7, NC State 6 (4/24); BC 8, Harvard 0 (4/26)

Last weekend: UVA 2-1 over NC State (2-6, 3-1, 7-6); GT 3-0 over BC (0-2, 1-8, 8-10)

National rankings:

Baseball America: UVA #1; BC unranked
Collegiate Baseball: UVA #1; BC unranked
NCBWA: UVA #1; BC unranked
Perfect Game: UVA #2; BC unranked
Coaches: UVA #1; BC unranked
Composite: UVA #1; BC unranked

RPI: UVA #1; BC #113

I bagged on South Carolina fans last week, so in the interest of fairness and equal opportunity, it's our turn: leave it to Virginia fans to have a team that is 40-4 and worry that we're winning too much.  We are a jumpy, fretful bunch to be sure.  Success always makes us wonder when the other shoe drops.  I'm no different most of the time.

Take these next two weekends.  This weekend is too easy-looking and next weekend is final exam break, so no games, which means I'm going to chew my nails endlessly over the possibility of lost momentum.  Going into the series against Miami and UNC, that's not a good thing.  Yadda yadda.

This is a weird series, though.  Boston College lists their Sunday starter as "bullpen" and that's pretty much how they roll on Friday, too, except they have one guy who does start and then goes two innings, tops.  UVA will be dealing with a parade of different hurlers all week.  It's an interesting way of doing things but in essence it's a way to cover for a weak staff.  These'll be guys that if our hitters got a hold of them a second time through the lineup, they'd figure out their stuff and be raking all over the field.  For what it's worth, the approach flustered the GT hitters on Friday last week and held them to two runs, which is normally enough except for when you don't score at all.

They didn't score because BC's hitting stinks.  If they hadn't discovered Matt McGovern in the middle of the season it'd be even worse.  McGovern is 35-for-81 this season, but outside of him and third baseman Anthony Melchionda there isn't much consistency.  No slugging at all - only Andrew Lawrence (with four) has more than one home run - and very little hitting for average.  Four regulars are hitting .255 or worse.  That wouldn't raise many eyebrows in the majors but in college it's pretty anemic.  We probably won't see much basestealing either; BC doesn't steal often and they're not good at it - successful just slightly over 50% of the time.

So yes, it's sweep or die again. All the cool teams are doing it: Clemson, FSU, Miami, and GT have all played BC so far this year and none have lost a game.  GT is just a game behind (effectively two since we have the tiebreaker) but plays Clemson this week, so there's a chance to get the game back that we lost to them last weekend.  (They swept BC and we lost on Friday to NC State.)

Finally, why are you not voting for Tyler Wilson?

Rest of the ACC:

Georgia Tech at Clemson: Kindly beat each other up please.  GT should win this series but if Clemson can take one from them it'd be highly appreciated.
Virginia Tech at Duke: Duke is way worse than I thought.  If VT sweeps them - very possible - they'll do themselves some real favors when it comes to ACC tournament eligibility.  Not that VT is much good - that sweep could plausibly go the other way, too.
Florida State at Miami: Oooo, battle of Florida.  FSU is recovering from a few stumbles earlier and a sweep here (possible since I think Miami is overrated) could lock up the Atlantic for them depending on how Clemson does.  This one also has major, major NCAA implications, because the NCAA won't want to host too many regionals in Florida.  UF will definitely get one and Stetson is making a major case too, and the NCAA would love to toss the little guy a bone.  The loser of this series may find themselves traveling to start the NCAAs.
Maryland at NC State: NC State is surprisingly positioning themselves for the tournament and Maryland bites.  Possible sweep.
Wake Forest and North Carolina both have byes.

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