The seventh ranked UVa baseball team plays its final regular season home series this weekend hosting Duke. The Cavaliers are proving to be once again one of the top teams in the country.
Unranked in the preseason, the Wahoos have been a bit of surprise this season. The Cavaliers have 39 wins, fifth most in the entire country. The 'Hoos rank third in the ACC in batting average, second in runs scored and second in RBI
UVa senior first baseman, Jared King says, " I think honestly this team has taken the approach that we have something to prove everyday. Everyday we come to the field we know we have to earn everything, nothing's going to be given to us, its been great to see guys evolve especially the rookies."
UVa sophomore Brandon Downes leads the team in doubles, triples, and total bases, anchoring a potent offensive lineup that has seven guys hitting .298 or better.
UVa head coach Brian O'Connor says, "I think this is a team that has shown the potential all year long to be a championship kind of team, to compete for an ACC championship and a regional championship and beyond. I love our offense, I think this is one of the better offensive teams that we've had."
Virginia's pitching staff, a question mark at the start of the season, has been anchored by freshman ace Brandon Waddell and one of the nation's best closers in Kyle Crockett. The 'Hoos rank fourth in the ACC in ERA.
O'Connor says, "The depth of this bullpen is as good as we've had in the 10 years I've been here."
UVa senior second baseman Reed Gragnani says, "From pitching, the bullpen has been so great, the lineup 1-9 is really tough, and I just think this team has persevered though some things as well but this team is so balanced compared to the other ones, we have a special feeling among the lockeroom."
The 'Hoos hope to finish strong with a series at #1 North Carolina next week and at home this weekend against Duke.
Gragnani says, " Duke's a great team, they have a great pitching staff and a good lineup, every ACC weekend is tough and we have to go out there and earn everything win."
King says, " We've experienced a lot of great things in my time here, but we still have a lot of great things ahead of us so I'm just trying to enjoy it every day."
Virginia and Duke begin their 3-game series Friday at 6pm at Davenport Field.