Tuesday, May 14, 2013

weekend review

Note: day late due to me traveling

Mission accomplished.  Baseball-wise, the weekend couldn't have gone better for the Hoos.  (Actually in most other respects too, but more later.)  A sweep against Duke was accomplished via the use of fiery bats as UVA scored 37 runs during the weekend's three games.  Friday looked a little iffy with Duke's starter keeping the bats off balance for eight innings.  The Hoos scratched out only five hits on him.  But if there's one thing UVA has done well this season, it's ground relief pitchers into a fine paste and spread them over a nice blown save sandwich.  This was the fate of closer Andrew Istler, who faced seven batters and got just one of them out.

The rest of the weekend, they decided not to wait for the bullpen before they got out the beating implements.  UVA did an awfully nice favor for its fans in not making them sit around for nine innings anxiously hoping things would turn out OK.  Oh, I guess Sunday's game was kinda close for a time.  But the problem with letting UVA beat your starter up is that it forces you to put in relievers, and eventually the Hoos find one they like.

The offensive outburst was proof UVA has the depth to survive an injury, as it was announced before the series that SS Brandon Cogswell will miss some time with a broken finger.  Definitely the UNC series and ACC tournament and possibly (or probably) more.  The lineup solution was to slide Nick Howard over to short and place Kenny Towns at third; when Howard pitched, John LaPrise took over at short.  Obviously, the offense didn't miss a beat.

(On the plus side for Duke, they did validate their decision to pull Drew Van Orden from the starting rotation, as he gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning in relief on Saturday.  So, you know, the managing decisions went alright.)

Also going alright: the play around the rest of the ACC.  Clemson was idle, but UVA's sweep of Duke put them three games ahead of the Tigers, and having won the series against them earlier, that's a wrap as far as Clemson is concerned.  NC State lost their series to FSU 2-1, which put them 3.5 games back of UVA, another wrap.  The upshot is that UVA is guaranteed of finishing no lower than #3 in the ACC, and guaranteed as well of avoiding UNC in pool play in the ACC tourney.  UNC also lost their series (to Georgia Tech) but UVA still has to sweep the Heels in order to win the division; a 2-1 series win would leave UVA with a winning percentage of .733, and UNC .750.  In the standings, that's a tie as far as "games back" are concerned, but ACC rules specify winning percentage.  UNC has two fewer games because not every school manages rain as well as UVA, but one of the canceled games was against Boston College so it's not like they were really at risk of losing.  Still, it kind of sucks for us.  So just sweep 'em, then.  If we win the series 2-1 you can always point out to UNC fans you know that we didn't get to play the unbelievably horrible Eagles.


-- The weekend was successful elsewhere too, as the crew team brought home the school's fifth ACC championship of the season.  With NC State upsetting favorite FSU in the softball championship (FSU allowed just one run the whole tourney.... but failed to score in the championship game) that means it's guaranteeed that no school will have more titles than UVA this year.  Only one is left to be decided (baseball) and FSU has a decent shot to win it, but can only tie UVA in total championships for 2012-13.  Anyone else and we get the crown outright.

-- Mike Papi won UVA's first player of the week award in the ACC this year - sort of.  He had to share the honor with FSU's D.J. Stewart.  I think that means I can still say we're somehow winning this season without any good players.

-- Virginia Tech is adding a women's golf team.  I'm weird, so my first thought was "hmm, it looks like they have extra cash, I wonder if a men's lacrosse team is in their future."  I'd like to think so, so that we can trounce them every year in something new, but golf teams are cheap to run and almost never have more than ten players (and usually fewer.)  So no, it probably doesn't mean they're so flush with cash that men's lacrosse is on the way.

-- The ACC meetings are ongoing, and the most interesting topic will be football scheduling.  Specifically, should we go to nine games or stay at eight?  Probably they'll stay at eight, and we've been through this before once already with the conference deciding to move to nine and then changing their mind a few months later.  Just make it nine already.  Also, they'll discuss playing some games overseas to "expand the brand."  No sense in that.  For the pros it's one thing since leagues like the NBA already have international appeal and might be able to get a TV contract in Europe.  As well, the NFL is already publicly thought to want to have a team in London or somewhere.  Neither are ever going to happen for the ACC, so why waste money flying teams out across the pond?

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