Cavaliers ready for ‘power’ of Vols in College World Series

Senior pitcher Andrew Abbott tips his hat to the fans at Disharoon Park.
Senior pitcher Andrew Abbott tips his hat to the fans at Disharoon Park.(wvir)
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 10:55 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The College World Series begins this weekend in Omaha.

Virginia will play its first game on Sunday against Tennessee.

The teams were on the field for a practice at TD Ameritrade Park on Friday.

UVA is in the CWS for the fifth time in program history, but their last appearance came in 2015, so it will be an all new experience for the players.

Brian O’Connor announced on Friday that Andrew Abbott will be the starter against Tennessee on Sunday.

The senior has been the ‘Hoos Game One starter all year.

He’s third in the nation with 152-strikeouts in 100-innings pitched.

O’Connor says, “I trust and I believe with every fiber of my body that he will go out there and be prepared, and be poised, to get us off to a great start.”

Abbott says, “Being a part of those teams under Oak that didn’t reach the tournament definitely fueled the fire for this year, and years to come, to set the UVA standard again. I think it’s just important to be thankful to enjoy every moment, and the adversity that we faced will help us down the road.”

“Winning the Regional, and Super Regional, and being here, it’s something special,” says junior Zack Gelof. “I’m definitely going to have fun doing it, but the end goal is to win this thing, so we’re going to try our best to do that.”

O’Connor has called Tennessee a “Power Team,” both on the mound, and at the plate.

The Vols hit five home runs in their Super Regional victory against LSU.

They finished fourth in the nation with 98 home runs this season, but the teams directly above them on that list are Dallas Baptist and Old Dominion, and UVA held them both in check, on its way to the College World Series.

UT head coach Tony Vitello says pitching effectively will be key for both teams.

“Our guys on the mound, their brand name is to attack,” says Vitello. “You get rewarded, when you do throw strikes. Especially here, because it has a tendency to play a little bigger. I think that incentive is there.”

Virginia and Tennessee are scheduled to face off on Sunday in Omaha.

First pitch is scheduled for two o’clock.

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