No. 1 Virginia Concludes Regular Season at No. 13 North Carolina
VIRGINIA CAVALIERS (45-6, 22-5 ACC)
Probable Starting Rotation
Thu. – RHP Cody Winiarski (6-2, 3.14 ERA)
Fri. – LHP Danny Hultzen (9-2, 1.42 ERA)
Sat. – RHP Will Roberts (10-0, 1.41 ERA)
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (41-12, 17-10 ACC)
Probable Starting Rotation
Thu. – RHP Patrick Johnson (9-1, 3.07 ERA)
Fri. – LHP Kent Emanuel (6-1, 2.94 ERA)
Sat. – RHP Chris Munnelly (5-4, 4.08 ERA)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The top-ranked Virginia baseball team wraps up regular-season play Thursday through Saturday at No. 13 North Carolina. The teams will play at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Boshamer Stadium before concluding with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday.
All three games will be broadcast by WINA 1070-AM, while the Saturday game also will be aired by WRNL 910-AM in Richmond. Links to live video and audio of all three games will be available at VirginiaSports.com (subscription required for both).
Virginia (45-6, 22-5 ACC) enters the weekend with a two-game lead over Georgia Tech in the ACC Coastal Division standings. Either a Virginia win against UNC or a Georgia Tech loss during its series at Virginia Tech will clinch at least a share of the division crown as well as the No. 1 seed in the ACC Baseball Championship next week for the Cavaliers. UVa is aiming to win back-to-back division titles.
North Carolina (41-12, 17-10) currently stands a half game behind Miami and five behind Virginia in the Coastal Division. The Tar Heels are ranked No. 3 nationally in the latest RPI, one spot behind the Cavaliers. UNC has been especially strong inside the friendly confines of Boshamer Stadium this season, boasting a 29-3 record at home.
UVa took two of three games last weekend against then-No. 16 Miami at Davenport Field. It marked UVa’s ninth straight ACC series win this year and its 15th straight dating to 2010. The Cavaliers’ home finale Tuesday against High Point was rained out. North Carolina dropped two of three at Georgia Tech last weekend but rebounded with a 7-2 win over Appalachian State Tuesday in Chapel Hill.
Virginia continues to lead the ACC in team earned run average at 2.24, which also ranks third nationally. Georgia Tech stands second in the conference at 2.77. UVa will alter its pitching rotation slightly this weekend as it aligns for postseason play – RHP Cody Winiarski (Sr., Franksville, Wis.) will make the Thursday start, followed by LHP Danny Hultzen (Jr., Bethesda, Md.) Friday and Will Roberts (Jr., Richmond, Va.) Saturday.
Roberts ranks second in the conference in ERA (1.41), while Hultzen is a shade behind at 1.42.
UVa also tops the league with a .981 fielding percentage. The Cavaliers rank third in the ACC with a .296 batting average.
North Carolina ranks sixth in the ACC in batting average (.286) and earned run average (3.55). UNC also stands second in the ACC in team fielding (.979), just behind the Cavaliers.
If the numbers are any indication, there figures to be plenty of strikeouts this weekend. Virginia’s pitching staff leads the nation in strikeouts with 513, while North Carolina has racked up 492 strikeouts, which ranks second.
David Coleman (Sr., Richmond, Va.) tops the Cavaliers in batting at .372, which is third in the league. John Hicks (Jr., Sandy Hook, Va.) is right behind him at .361, fourth in the league. At .338, Steven Proscia (Jr., Suffern, N.Y.) ranks 12th in the league in batting. Hicks (75) and Proscia (72) stand second and third, respectively, in the ACC in hits.
Freshman Colin Moran leads the Tar Heels’ offense; he is batting .349 overall, which is eighth in the ACC. He has been even more impressive in conference play, with a .380 average (second best in ACC action). Moran leads the ACC with 63 RBI and also has swatted nine home runs – fourth in the league. Junior Levi Michael is batting .312 with four homers and 45 RBI for the Tar Heels.
Virginia and North Carolina played a tightly-contested series last season in Charlottesville, with UVa scoring walk-off wins in the ninth inning in the first and third games. The Cavaliers won 5-1 in the second game of the series. Eight of the last 10 matchups between the two teams have been decided by three runs or fewer.
UVa returns to the Triangle area next week for the ACC Baseball Championship. The tournament runs May 25-29 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Brackets and game times will be announced Sunday.