Feb. 28, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The No. 19 Virginia baseball team puts its unbeaten record on the line this weekend when it hosts Harvard and Bucknell in a round-robin tournament at Davenport Field. The Cavaliers (8-0) open play this weekend at 4 p.m. Friday against Harvard.
The full weekend schedule:
Friday, Noon - Harvard (home) vs. Bucknell
Friday, 4 p.m. - Virginia vs. Harvard
Saturday, Noon - Virginia vs. Bucknell
Saturday, 3 p.m. - Virginia vs. Harvard
Sunday, 11 a.m. - Bucknell (home) vs. Harvard
Sunday, 2:30 p.m. - Bucknell vs. Virginia
Parking for the Friday and Sunday games will be available in the University Hall and Cage lots as well as the Emmet/Ivy Garage. The John Paul Jones Arena lots will be reserved for events on Friday and Sunday.
Audio broadcasts for all of Virginia's games will be available at VirginiaSports.com. The Saturday UVa games will be video streamed online at VirginiaSports.com via Cavaliers Live (subscription required for audio and video).
Virginia's Probable Starting Rotation
Fri - Fr. LHP Brandon Waddell (0-0, 0.84 ERA)
Sat. (game TBD) - R-Sr. LHP Scott Silverstein (0-0, 1.93 ERA)
Sat. (game TBD) - TBA
Sun. - So. RHP Nick Howard (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Virginia's Series History with Harvard, Bucknell
Virginia is playing Harvard for the first time since 1965; the Crimson holds a 17-4-5 lead in the all-time series. The programs first met in 1893 when the schools played to a 1-1 tie. Harvard will open its 2013 season this weekend.
UVa is 20-1 all-time against Bucknell. The teams last played in 2009 when the Cavaliers swept the season-opening four-game series at Davenport Field. UVa is 10-0 against the Bison under head coach Brian O'Connor. The Bison come in with an 0-6 record after getting swept at Duke last weekend.
Starters Continue to Put Up Goose Eggs
Virginia's starting pitchers keep posting zeroes on the scoreboard. UVa starters have not allowed a run in 34 1/3 innings, spanning six straight starts as well as Scott Silverstein's final inning at East Carolina.
Cavalier starters have not allowed a run in their six home starts this year; overall, UVa starters own a 0.63 ERA in eight games.
Errorless Streak Ends
Virginia saw its stretch of 42 2/3 straight innings without an error come to an end Wednesday. Oddly enough, the Cavaliers committed errors on consecutive pitches in the seventh inning in breaking the streak. UVa had not committed an error since the ninth inning of the Saint Peter's game (Feb. 18). The Cavaliers own a .974 team fielding percentage.
Early Power Surge
Virginia has slugged nine home runs in eight games this year and is on pace to hit 60.8 home runs this season. UVa hit 25 home runs in 59 games last year.
Brandon Downes and Kenny Towns lead the team with three dingers each. Downes had one long ball last year, while Towns had none. Thirty-one of UVa's 91 hits thus far have gone for extra bases.
Cogswell a Force at Top of Lineup
Branden Cogswell has stepped into the leadoff slot in the batting order and been sensational in the first two weeks. He leads the team with a .462 batting average and also owns a team-best .595 on-base percentage. He has scored 14 runs - second on the team to Brandon Downes' 16. Cogswell has struck out only one time in 40 plate appearances.
Freshman Play Key Roles
Virginia has leaned heavily on its first-year players early this season, particularly on the mound. Eleven freshmen already have seen playing time - most of any ACC team and among the most in the nation.
Freshmen have accounted for 56 percent of the innings pitched this year (40 1/3 of 72 total). Joe McCarthy is the only first-year to crack the starting lineup in the field so far, but he has started all eight contests.
Cavaliers Attack Late at the Plate
Virginia has scored nearly half of its runs in the final three innings. Forty of UVa's runs have come in the last three innings (16 in 7th, 21 in 8th, 3 in 9th); UVa has scored 84 runs in eight games (10.5/game).
The Cavaliers have tended to get the offense rolling after the third inning; UVa has scored just nine times in the first three innings.
Downes Anchors Lineup at Cleanup Spot
In his first year as the Cavaliers' cleanup hitter, Brandon Downes has started strong and is riding a six-game hit streak into the weekend. He already owns three homers and 12 RBI; in 34 games (26 starts) last year, he posted one home run and 22 RBI. Downes has scored a team-best 16 runs, just four shy of his 2012 mark.
Towns Makes Early Mark in Lineup
Kenny Towns has started the season strong, hitting .333 (8-for-24), with three home runs and a team-high 15 RBI. Towns already has eclipsed his 2012 RBI total (12).
He slugged two grand slams in the season opener at ECU, going yard in the first and seventh innings - both to the opposite field. They were his first career home runs. He added a 2-run homer to left field vs. William and Mary.
Virginia plays VMI at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Davenport Field.