Virginia Cavaliers (12-8-1, 2-4 ACC) vs. Clemson Tigers (11-8, 3-3 ACC)
This is not the same UVa team as we've faced for the last two years. Those teams had very dominant talent in all 3 spots of the rotation and two badass guys to close the game up (they still have one of them). On top of that, while they never have been power hitters, they've been stellar at the plate and really hit well for average. Most of those guys have graduated now or gone on to MLB, so this is a bit of a reloading year for the Cavs. They took 2 of 3 from VT but really haven't played a tough slate, aside from FSU, in my eyes. However, they've played so solid fundamentally and recruited so well over the last few years thats its hard to think they're really that bad even while reloading. Their stats don't reflect a 12-8 squad this far, something else must be killing them like our BA with RISP does ourselves.
Clemson AD Series Preview
Clemson and Virginia have met 146 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 102-44 lead in the series dating back to the 1955 season.The Tigers hold a 40-24 lead in games played at Virginia and a 92-37 advantage in ACC regular-season games. Virginia has won 14 of the last 16 games. Jack has a 31-24 record against Virginia as Clemson's head coach, including a 13-11 mark at UVa Baseball Stadium.
They beat VMI 12-3 this week. Chris Taylor went 4-for-4 with three doubles to highlight a 16-hit outing for the Cavaliers. Mike Papi went 3-for-3, while Jared King was 2-for-2 and drove in three runs.
The Tigers, who won both games of the two-game midweek series with the Elon Phoenix, won their fifth game in a row and improved to 11-8. Elon fell to 12-10.
Weekend Starters: Virginia has not announced their starters, so i'm guessing.
I'm sure you see there and below that this is not a bad lineup of hitters, I'm having a hard time figuring out why they are 12-8 just from the stats pages. Their bench hits pretty well, they run, they jump in front of pitches and they hit with good enough power (.424 SLG). Whats their problem?
Of course you know our problems: we cant hit a damn thing in the lower half of the lineup, and generally suck balls at hitting with men on base. The top half of the lineup is getting on, but no one drives them in. Shaffer's average has dropped (.358 - 4 - 16) and it looks like he's trying to kill everything. You golfers know what happens when you try to do that? Well, baseball works the same way. At least he still gets on base.
2B Steve Wilkerson became the everyday leadoff batter against North Carolina on March 11 and has excelled in that role. In those seven games, he is 15-for-30 (.500) with two doubles, four RBIs, four runs, five walks against only two strikeouts, a .571 on-base percentage, and two steals. He has also hit safely in all seven games. He is leading the team now with a .394 batting average along with five doubles, 11 RBIs, 14 runs, and a team-tying-high four stolen bases in 16 games (16 starts) as Clemson's everyday second-baseman. He has also reached base in 15 of his 24 plate appearances (62.5 percent) as the leadoff batter of an inning and has a team-high nine multi-hit games among his 16 games played. Wilkerson has two four-hit games this season as well.
CF Tom Brittle will be out with a hand injury.
I was hoping Phil Pohl would look better in limited duty in the field with McGibbon out, but he sure doesn't. He should be back at DH this series. The rest of the lower half needs to raise their averages immensely.
Thats a ton of UER allowed for both teams, and too many hits given up by CU. UVa must be shooting themselves with their own versions of Brad Miller fielding balls. SS Chris Taylor has 8 errors already.
Senior righthander Justin Thompson has both of the team's saves along with a 2-0 record and an 0.82 ERA in 11.0 innings pitched over 11 relief appearances. Kline was the ace reliever in the past and moved to the rotation. Aside from a couple guys though this is not an intimidating pen this season.
UVa has allowed 20/29 steals and isn't fielding very well thus far, but neither do we.
Our pen sucks, but has shown some progress against the weak competition this week. Firth (1-1, 1.15) is solid, and might deserve a shot as a weekend starter if Leone is rocky from here on out. Jon Meyer has 18 Ks in 18.2IP and Campbell has been OK as well. Aside from that, nothing good to say.
I think Clemson is capable of winning 2, but don't see it happening. I think UVa wins the series.