CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – No. 10 Virginia (20-1, 5-1 ACC) will resume Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend with a three-game series at Wake Forest (17-4, 3-3 ACC). The series opener is slated for Friday (March 25) at 6 p.m. All three games will air on ACCNX and can be heard on WINA.
GAME COVERAGE: ACCNX is available to authenticated subscribers of the ACC Network through the ESPN app and ESPN.com. In addition, all three games can be heard locally in Charlottesville on WINA (98.9 FM/1070 AM) or anywhere at on WINA.com. Links to live stats are available on VirginiaSports.com. Fans can get in-game updates on the team’s official twitter page (@UVABaseball).
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday – 6 p.m.
Wake Forest: RHP Rhett Lowder (5-0, 2.22 ERA, 28.1 IP, 11 BB, 34 SO)
Virginia: LHP Nate Savino (3-0, 1.88 ERA, 28.2 IP, 3 BB, 35 SO)
Saturday – 4 p.m.
Wake Forest: LHP Josh Hartle (3-2, 4.85 ERA, 26.0 IP, 9 BB, 21 SO)
Virginia: LHP Brian Gursky (5-0, 2.00 ERA, 27.0 IP, 10 BB, 33 SO)
Sunday – 1 p.m.
Wake Forest: RHP Teddy McGraw (1-1, 3.63, 17.1 IP, 8 BB, 13 SO)
Virginia: LHP Brandon Neeck (2-0, 3.74 ERA, 21.2 IP, 9 BB, 21 SO)
- The weekend series pits two of the top-five offenses in the country against one another. Virginia is averaging 12.0 runs per game this season, tops in the NCAA. The Demon Deacons are fifth in the nation, scoring 10.5 runs per game.
- Brian O’Connor and Wake Forest head coach Tom Walter enter the weekend each with 770 career wins, tied for the 26th-most among active head coaches. O’Connor is second among active head coaches with a .706 career winning percentage.
- The Cavaliers are 20-1 for the first time in the 134-year history of the program. It surpassed the 19-1 starts by the 2009 and 2011 College World Series teams.
- UVA is one of three, one-loss teams remaining in college baseball (Tennessee – 20-1; Purdue 17-1).
- In addition to scoring, Virginia enters the weekend tops in the nation in team batting average (.347), runs (251) and shutouts (5).
- UVA is the only school in the country to be ranked in the top-10 in batting average (1st – .347), earned run average (4th – 2.24) and fielding percentage (8th – .985).
- O’Connor enters the weekend with a 313-199-1 career record in ACC play. He is one eight coaches in the history of the league with 300 ACC wins.
AGAINST WAKE FOREST
- The Demon Deacons hold a 90-84 advantage in the all-time series against UVA that dates back to 1894. Virginia is 25-14 against Wake Forest in the O’Connor era (2004-present).
- UVA has won four of the last five meetings including a sweep in last year’s series in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers combined for a no-hitter in the opener and recorded walk-off victories in the Saturday and Sunday matchups.
- Virginia has dropped its last two series in Winston-Salem (2014 & 2018) and haven’t recorded a series victory at Wake Forest since 2013.
- Sophomore Jake Gelof enters the weekend as the nation’s leader in home runs (13), RBI (46), slugging percentage (1.194) and total bases (86).
- He’s hit four home runs in the last three games. In the middle game against Boston College, he went deep twice, the fourth multi-home run game of the season.
- His 13th home run came against Towson in the midweek and moved him into a tie with Pavin Smith (2017) for 10th most in a single-season in school history.
- Gelof is one of nine players in college baseball with double-digit home runs this season. He has a two-home run lead on the trio of Brad Malm (Albany), Derek Orndorff (Liberty) and Tommy White (NC State) going into the weekend.
- Gelof became a regular in the Cavalier lineup late last season, starting the final 24 games. UVA is 36-9 with him in the lineup over the last 45 games.
FIRST YEAR CONTRIBUTIONS
- Wednesday’s midweek win over Towson featured 16 Cavalier hits, 11 off the bat of four UVA first years.
- Griff O’Ferrall has led off and played shortstop for all 21 games this season. He ranks 16th in the country and seventh in ACC with 28 runs scored.
- Casey Saucke brings a 19-game hit streak with him to Winston-Salem, the longest by a UVA freshman since 2000. The hit streak is the longest of any Cavalier in a single season since Dan Grovatt strung together 19-straight games with a hit to start the 2009 campaign.
UVA Longest Single-Season Hit Streaks (Since 2000)
Brandon Guyer (2007) – 26
Greg Miclat (2007) – 20
David Stone (2001) – 20
Dan Grovatt (2009) – 19
Casey Saucke (2022) – 19
- Infielder Justin Rubin has started four of the six ACC contests at second base. Against Towson he hit his first home run, a two-run shot in the sixth inning. He also delivered a game-tying RBI single in the series finale at Duke.
- Colin Tuft had his best game of his young career against Towson on Tuesday, finishing 3-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBI. He’s scored a run in 10 of his 11 starts.
ON THE MOUND
- Slightly overshadowed by the Cavalier offense that has outscored opponents, 251-56, the Virginia pitching staff ranks fourth in hits allowed per game (6.4), sixth in strikeouts per nine innings (11.7) and 11th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.67).
- The Cavaliers have struck out 246 batters, the fifth-most in the country. Virginia has collected 10 or more strikeouts in 16 of the 21 games this year.
- Friday night starter Nate Savino has turned in three-straight quality starts, including a complete game shutout at Duke in the season’s ACC opener. It still stands as the only nine-inning complete game shutout by an ACC pitcher this season.
- Brian Gursky is one of nine pitchers with five wins in the fifth weekend of the series. As a graduate transfer from USC, he came to UVA with five career wins total. The Cavaliers have given him plenty of run support, outscoring opponents 66-11 with him on the hill.
- Brandon Neeck is seeking his first win since March 6 against Penn State where he pitched five innings and struck out a season-high, eight batters.
- The Cavaliers leave behind an 18-game home win streak that dates back to last season. It is the third-longest active home win streak in the country (Tennessee – 24 games; North Carolina 20 games).
- Virginia matched the Disharoon Park record and have hit 38 home runs at home this season. The Cavaliers also hit 38 in 2017 over the course of 34 games.
- Virginia has won all 15 of its home games this season and scored 10 or more runs in all but one contest at its home venue. UVA is averaging 13.87 runs per game at The Dish this season.
- The Cavaliers are outscoring opponents 208-45 in home games this spring.
- 38 of Virginia’s 42 home runs on the season have left the confines of Disharoon Park.
- Alex Tappen earned ACC Player of the Week honors on Monday, March 21 after batting .611 (11-for-18) with two doubles, three homers and 14 RBI. He drove in a career-high six runs in a 4-for-4 effort at the plate. Tappen has reached base safely in 20-straight games.
- In the last six games, Devin Ortiz scored 13 times. He reached base 15 times in the five contests and batted .563 (9-for-16) with two home runs and seven RBI in five games last week.