A Midweek Classic
April 26, 2010
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Occasionally it can be a challenge, Brian O’Connor admits, to get his players pumped for the games that fall between ACC series on UVa’s baseball schedule.
That won’t be a problem Tuesday at Davenport Field. At 5 p.m., Virginia hosts Coastal Carolina in what is no ordinary midweek game.
The Cavaliers (34-9) are ranked No. 1 nationally in the latest Baseball America poll. The Chanticleers (36-5) are No. 10 and have won 17 games in a row.
Coastal is coming off a series sweep of Big South rival VMI, a team that pounded UVa 12-3 on April 14.
With the 5 o’clock start, Tuesday’s game may not sell out, but the atmosphere at Davenport should be outstanding.
“If our fans want to see two great college baseball teams, it’s going to be hard to find a game better than this,” O’Connor said Monday morning.
“So much emotion goes into the weekend series in our league that sometimes you can have a letdown in the middle of the week. But our players are fully aware of the ability and the program that Coastal Carolina has. We’ll get their best, and they’ll get our best.”
The Chanticleers have won three straight in a series they lead 4-1. In the teams’ most recent meeting, Coastal won 8-3 in Charlottesville on April 15, 2008.
Jim Birmingham, a 6-5 left-hander who began his college career at the University of Pennsylvania, is expected to start Tuesday for the Chanticleers. Birmingham is 6-1 this season, with a 3.33 earned-run average.
O’Connor plans to start freshman Branden Kline. The 6-3 right-hander from Frederick, Md., is 2-0, with a 2.90 ERA.
“It’s a really good opportunity for him,” O’Connor said. “He’s somebody that could be possibly a fourth starter in [an NCAA] regional or the ACC tournament, so it’ll be a good experience for him.”
Kline is well-rested. He wasn’t needed in College Park, where UVa beat Maryland twice on Friday and once on Saturday.
The Wahoos totaled 43 runs and 51 hits, including six homers, in the three games.
“We just really swung the bats well, everybody throughout the lineup,” O’Connor said.