Top Ranked Virginia Baseball Eager for 2014 Season Opener against Kentucky
Virginia didn't lose back-to-back games last year, until it mattered most. Mississippi State's dog pile after they clipped Virginia in the NCAA Super Regional is an image that is burnt into the UVa Baseball teams memory.
Branden Cogswell said, "when we came back we had the fire, the drive to get better knowing we were so close...It really only brought us closer together."
Now the wait is over and Virginia second year, Brandon Waddell will start on the mound in the teams season opener against Kentucky. Waddell said, "all the scrimmages that we have facing the same guys say in and day out, it makes a big difference knowing that you're going and facing new people."
UVa came from behind to win 23 times in 2013, mostly thanks to their superior pitching. Waddell, Scott Silverstein and Nick Howard were consistent starters for the 'Hoos but Head Coach Brian O'Connor says that won't be the case this season. O'Connor added, "I think that's good. I think they're all going to challenge each other."
The Cavaliers open the season as the number one team in the country but they aren't paying much attention to their ranking. They have their sights set on a national title and they know they'll only get their if their bullpen is dead on and they play great defense.
"Most of the college baseball games you play and you win are going to be four runs or less," said O'Connor. "Right? So as good as an offensive ball club that you have, that hitting power, all those things, that doesn't win you the games. What wins you the games is the pitching and defense."
Cogswell elaborated, "it's can you pull out those 3-2 victories when the opposing pitcher has good stuff that day. The only way you do that is defensively."
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