CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 2020 Virginia baseball season will commence in Pensacola, Fla. with a three-game series against Oklahoma. The season opener on Friday is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST at Blue Wahoo Stadium, home of the Blue Wahoos, Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
Game Coverage: Cox Communication subscribers (available in select Virginia markets) can watch all three games on CST and Yurview. All three games can be heard on WINA 1070 AM/98.9 FM. Links to the audio broadcast as well as live stats can be found on VirginiaSports.com. Fans can receive in-game updates on the program’s official twitter feed (@UVABaseball).
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday, Feb. 14 – 7 p.m.
Oklahoma: RHP Cade Cavalli (5-3, 3.28 ERA, 60.1 IP, 35 BB, 59 SO)
Virginia RHP Griff McGarry (3-5,4.56 ERA, 53.1 IP, 54 BB, 64 SO)
Saturday, Feb. 15 – 2 p.m. (Game 1)
Oklahoma: LHP Levi Prater (7-4, 3.26 ERA, 80 IP, 43 BB, 97 SO)
Virginia: RHP Chesdin Harrington (5-1, 3.49 ERA, 59.1 IP, 16 BB, 64 SO)
Sunday, Feb. 15 – 5 p.m. (Game 2)
Oklahoma: RHP Dane Acker (n/a)
Virginia: RHP Mike Vasil (2-6, 5.93 ERA, 57.2 IP, 22 BB, 40 SO)
• The 132nd season of baseball at Virginia will commence with Friday night’s series opener against Oklahoma. Virginia has amassed 2,359 wins with an overall winning percentage of .569.
• Virginia is 37-12-1 in opening weekends during Brian O’Connor’s 16 years as head coach.
• Virginia has picked up opening day wins in all but five seasons (11-5) under O’Connor’s direction and is seeking its first opening day win since 2017 (10-2 win over Liberty in Charleston, S.C.)
• The Cavaliers have opened up away from Charlottesville every year since 2010 and will play in a minor league facility for the second-straight season (2019-Salt River Fields – Scottsdale)
• Virginia has won 11-straight against non-ACC foes dating back to last season.
• The Cavaliers will be the home team in all three games this weekend.
• Virginia is looking to snap a six-game neutral site losing streak that dates back to the 2018 ACC Tournament.
• This weekend will be the only time the Cavaliers will be away from Charlottesville until March 13 when they travel to Pitt. On Tuesday, Virginia will commence a season-long, 15-game home stand.
• This weekend will mark the first regular season games between Virginia & Oklahoma since 1999. The Sooners and Cavaliers have previously met in the 2010 Charlottesville Super Regional and the 2012 Charlottesville Regional.
• The Sooners own a 3-2 edge in the all-time series and are 3-1 against UVA in the NCAA Tournament.
• Virginia will play a Big 12 opponent on opening weekend for the second year in a row. The Cavaliers dropped a 9-4 decision to TCU last season in Scottsdale.
• Brian O’Connor is 3-5 against current teams from the Big 12 Conference.
IN THE POLLS
• The Cavaliers come into 2020 unranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll for the second-straight season after nine-straight seasons in the top-25 on opening weekend.
• Virginia is ranked No. 25 according to Perfect Game and receiving votes in the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper polls.
• Oklahoma tops out at No. 16 in the Perfect Game Top-25 poll and is receiving votes in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll.
• Virginia was picked to finish fifth in the ACC Coastal, its place of finish at the end of the 2019 regular season. The Sooners were slotted at No. 4 of nine teams in the Big 12 preseason poll.
• D1Baseball.com ranked the top players in college baseball at each position and five Cavaliers made the cut.
Name Position Position Rank
Andrew Abbott Reliever No. 9
Nic Kent 2B No. 11
Zack Gelof 3B No. 15
Nate Savino Starting Pitcher No. 71
Griff McGarry Starting Pitcher No. 127
• Baseball America picked LHP Nate Savino as the publication’s ACC Freshman of the Year. Savino and OF Chris Newell were the top two freshmen in the ACC.
• LHP Nate Savino came in at No. 3 on D1Baseball.com’s Preseason Top 150 freshman while fellow first year Chris Newell came in at No. 11
RECRUITING CLASS RANKINGS
D1Baseball.com – No. 10 (12/19/19)
Baseball America – No. 16 (9/5/19)
FROM WAHOO TO BLUE WAHOOS
• Blue Wahoo Stadium home to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Prior to the 2019 season, the ballpark housed the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
• Nick Howard, UVA Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2020, played for the Blue Wahoos in 2018 where he appeared in 12 games and went 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA. Howard was selected in the first round of the MLB Draft by the Reds in the 2014 MLB Draft.
SEASONED PITCHING STAFF
• A stark contrast from a year ago, Virginia returns over 380 innings from its pitching staff last season, including Griff McGarry, Chesdin Harrington and Mike Vasil who all spent time on the weekend rotation.
• The 2019 Cavaliers returned just 177 innings, the fewest in O’Connor’s tenure at Virginia and only the second time the Cavaliers had less than 200 innings returning since 2004.
• At the back end of the bullpen, Virginia will turn to Andrew Abbott who has been one of the ACC’s most reliable arms the past two seasons. He spent the summer of the 2019 on the U.S. Collegiate National team, co-leading the high-profile staff in appearances (7) while sporting a 2-1 record with a 2.25 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.
AT THE PLATE
• Historically, Virginia has been one of the top hitting teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Since 2009, the Cavaliers are sport a .302 batting average, highest in the league during that span.
• In the past two seasons, Virginia has the fewest strikeouts of any team in the ACC. In 2019, UVA hitters fanned 371 times and in 2018, 319 times, both league-lows.
• Senior Logan Michaels was statistically the ACC’s toughest batter to strikeout (11.3 AB/K) in 2019.
•Nic Kent and Zack Gelof combined to steal 33 bases as freshmen. Only twice in UVA history has a pair of first years swiped 10+ bags in a single season. Only one other time in UVA history has a two or more freshmen stolen 10 bases in a single season.
• Kent was the first UVA freshman to earn First Team All-ACC honors since Danny Hultzen and first position player since 1973.
• Gelof reached successfully in first 28-straight games, second most as a freshman since 2000, his 17-game hit streak the longest by a UVA freshman since 2000.
• Kent ended the 2019 season on a 13-game hit streak and reached base safely 16-straight.
• Gelof has reached base safely in 12-straight games coming into the 2020 season.