#7 Virginia Cavaliers (13-1) vs. #6 Clemson Tigers (7-3)
UVA hasn't been tested too much yet, having beaten up on some patsies after taking 2 of 3 from ECU in their first series at home, and defeating Auburn in Auburn at an Invitational.
Virginia took 2 out of 3 hard fought games against Clemson last year early on, and they were close enough that doing the little things is what made the difference in the games. The total scoring amounted to just 12 runs. This year, UVA lost a little firepower but their pitching is once again the best in the ACC. What you may see this weekend could be the best pitching duels of the season at home. Danny Hultzen, who will be a 1st rounder, is back again for UVA on Friday. If you are a fan of pitching, he's worth going to see. Both Clemson and UVA were picked in the preseason by the ACC writers to win their division.
All 3 contests are on TigerCast.
Clemson AD Series Preview -- UVA AD series preview
The Tigers hold a 102-41 edge in the all-time series with Virginia, formerly a perennial dormat in baseball (like football) but the Cavaliers have won 14 of the last 18 meetings since 2004. Clemson is 52-10 against UVA at home, while Jack is 31-21 against them as HC of Clemson.
Clemson lost 2 of 3 to #4 USC by scores of 5-4, 10-5, and 6-3. Our midweek gamewas rained out and postponed until next month.
The Cavaliers went 6-0 at home, with two wins over both Cornell and Rider and single victories over William and Mary and Niagara.
Clemson has not announced the starting pitchers for Sat/Sun; I'm making an educated guess. Leone did not look good to me at all against SC, and Firth looked a bit better, so I'd let Firth have it with Brady gone. Haselden would get my vote for Saturday but I'm not sure Jack will not rest him the extra day.
Alex Frederick could be an option as well.
Obviously you can see here that UVA is not a power-laden team, but they do get their hits and land several in the gaps. They don't look as patient at the plate as us, and will take their hacks. Otherwise there is not much difference in Brian O'Connor's philosophy and Leggett's. They love small ball. UVA has 15 sac bunts so far this year.
|x- Jared King||.500||5||9||2||0||1||1|
Virginia's K-BB ratio for the top 4 starters and closer is 146-23. RHP Will Roberts has a 20-2 count in 20IP and closer Brandon Kline, who was as unhittable last year as he is now, has 9-1 in 7IP. They don't let runners get on the cheap way, and play very very sound defense (.993 Fielding pct), and that keeps their staff ERA the smallest in the conference. Honored by InsidePitching.com as the National Pitching Staff of the Week on Monday, UVa already has recorded four shutouts this year (twice as many as 2010) and allowed no more than four runs in any game this year. Only two members of the bullpen have unrespectable ERAs, and those guys have a combined 5IP thus far. Whit Mayberry (10IP, 2.70 ERA, 14 H allowed) and Justin Thompson (2.25 ERA in 8IP) are the leading workhorses.
Clemson has the best offense they have seen by far however. We are currently tops in the ACC in BA.
Clemson gets it done with K-BB as well, but for several years now we haven't been a big strikeout team from the mound. With Brady out, we'll have to shuffle up the pen more than I'd like. Haselden will almost assuredly get a starting spot, which means a rather shaky group of Freddy, Firth and Leone are the top righties.
Justin Sarratt is sporting the best ERA in the pen, so you know we're struggling.
If those 3 get it together, we'll be fine.
Only because it is at home am I predicting 2 of 3, and thats not a confident prediction. UVA does little things perfectly. Their pitching is awesome. Their defense is awesome. Only the lack of power in this lineup gives me some confidence going in. This series may be as tough as SC.