A steady rain Friday afternoon kept the Virginia and Mississippi State baseball teams from practicing outside at Davenport Field in preparation of their Super Regional.
The Bulldogs have a strong pitching staff with an era of 2.73, which is eleventh best in the country, and they also have the 4th best fielding percentage in the nation.
UVa head coach Brian O'Connor says, "You look at the numbers of Mississippi State and their bullpen, and they're pretty remarkable. It's not just one guy. They're using six or eight that are really good, and have been really consistent for them all year long."
Senior second baseman Reed Gragnani says, "We've faced that caliber of pitching all year, and it's more about executing at this time of the year, and doing what you do best, and not worrying about what they're going to do to you."
Mississippi State is led by outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who was just selected 13th overall in the big league draft Thursday night by the Padres.
Renfroe leads the Bulldogs with a .352 batting average and 15 home runs.
The junior expects to see a strong showing from Virginia.
"They play defense really well, and they're going to hit the ball a little bit," says Renfroe, "but as with any team right now, they're a great team."
Head coach John Cohen says "1-9 they have outstanding at-bats. That's no accident. That's why they have great numbers, and that's why they've won 50 ballgames."
Cohen says the Wahoos offense excels at making things difficult for opposing pitchers.
"It's not just that they score runs, it's that they don't strike out," says Cohen. "They do a great job of getting on base, and they make the pitcher work. Every at bat is a great at bat, and it's a real challenge for a pitching staff when you know every single AB is going to be difficult."
Senior pitcher Luis Pollorena says, "We stopped looking at what they can do, and started looking at what they can't. We have to focus on what we can do, and just keep doing what we've been doing all year, because it's been working."
Virginia is looking to make it back to the College World Series for the third time in school history (2009, 20011).
"I think that's something you really can get caught up in," says sophomore outfielder Derek Fisher. "It's not any different than the weekends we've faced this year. It's a great ballclub. We've faced great ballclubs, at their place, and also in Charlottesville. That being said, we just have to approach it the same way we have all year."
"It's gonna be a great weekend," says O'Connor. "Everybody knows what's at stake: You win here, you advance on. Everybody is great at this time of the year. We're just happy we can be playing in a Super Regional, and happy to have the opportunity."
First pitch in Game One of the Super Regional will Saturday at one o'clock.
Friday, March 7 2014 11:01 PM EST2014-03-08 04:01:45 GMT
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