Tuesday, May 17, 2011

weekend review, a tad late

I guess the downside of pushing this back a day is that I blew my lacrosse wad yesterday, so there's none of that today.  But there's baseball, oh yes.  Specifically another series win, this one over the top-20 Miami Hurricanes.

UVA won on Saturday and Sunday to take the weekend, and needed every single one of its runs in the process.  What looked like semi-comfortable three-run leads in the 9th inning turned into roller-coaster rides.  It wasn't even all Branden Kline's fault, despite how close he came to blowing two saves in a row.  The fielding wasn't all there, either (and neither was it all there in the disastrous first inning on Friday that provided Miami's win margin.)  The hitting all weekend was best described as "clutch," which is sometimes a synonym for "you didn't hit shit all day until it really started mattering."  Miami's pitching staff is better than halfway decent, of course, so there's that.  Sometimes it doesn't have to be awesome, just good enough.

Really, the best part is the disgustingly good games from pitchers not named Danny Hultzen.  (Danny had a pretty damn good game for six innings, too, but the problem was that he pitched seven.)  Tyler Wilson especially was nasty: 7 2/3 innings, one hit, one walk, eleven strikeouts.  Even though Miami's lineup isn't the ACC's best, it's still an ACC lineup and that was one helluva day.  Nathan Melendres, normally one of Miami's best hitters, started the weekend off with six straight Ks: a golden sombrero on Friday and two more on Saturday.

Meanwhile, E.J. Encinosa surely must be ruing his occasional confusion of batter and strike zone; all five of UVA's Sunday runs were scored with two outs after Encinosa had retired the first two batters in succession and then hit the third.  (UVA's hitters, besides knowing how to bunt and advance runners, also are very good at getting hit by pitches.  Yes, that's a talent.  They make only the most cursory effort to get out of the way and that often involves ducking their shoulders out of the way when the ball is headed for their foot, or other such tricks.  Get on base, man.  It don't matter how.)

So here we are with one series left in the season: a trip to Chapel Hill.  The standings look very nice.  Only one team can catch UVA for the #1 tournament seed: Georgia Tech, and the magic number is one, meaning all it takes for us to clinch is one win or one GT loss.  On account of the rules being insane, if for some reason we get swept AND GT sweeps VT, we drop to #3.


- Tomorrow is the update to the recruiting board, which is gonna be cool since just this past week we got our first blue-chip recruit in Kwontie Moore.  With Moore and Mark Hall on board, it gives the staff the luxury of being very choosy about their next LB commit, as both are quality prospects.  I estimated three LBs in 2012 and there might be room for four, but linebacker is now well-taken care of.  And Moore looks to be a great recruiter for the rest of our 757 targets the way Clifton Richardson was last year.

- The men's tennis team got through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament without much difficulty, dispatching Sacred Heart and Wake Forest at the Snyder Tennis Center.  The next rounds are Thursday, Saturday, Monday, and the championship Tuesday, and despite the awesomeness of the baseball team this is actually UVA's best shot at a national title this year.

- The ACC/Big Ten matchups are out.  Yay!  And UVA hosts Michigan.  Double yay!  As it stands now that's actually probably a loss for UVA, but a great matchup nonetheless, and I'm all sorts of happy to finally see a matchup between my two teams.  Even happier that it's not, like, a tournament or something where one team has to end its season.  One big downside: For the next six months I get to try and correct all the Michigan Sux misconceptions on UVA boards and UVA Sux misconceptions on Michigan boards.  It's already started.

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