CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – No. 8 Virginia (31-6) will embark on a four-game road trip beginning with a non-conference tilt on Tuesday (April 18) at VCU (19-17). The game will be played at The Diamond, home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. The contest is set for a 7 p.m. first pitch on ESPN+ and WINA (98.9 FM/1070 AM/WINA.com).
HOW TO FOLLOW
TV: ESPN+ (Subscription required)
RADIO: WINA (98.9 FM/1070 AM/WINA.com)
LIVE STATS: VirginiaSports.com
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
Tuesday – 7 p.m.
Virginia: LHP Connelly Early (7-1, 2.72 ERA, 36.1 IP, 12 BB, 43 SO)
VCU: RHP Cam Nuckols (0-0, 8.10 ERA, 13.1 IP, 12 BB, 10 SO)
- Virginia enters Tuesday’s game unbeaten in its last 23 games against non-conference opponents. UVA’s last lost against a non-conference foe was to VCU nearly one year ago to the day (April 17, 2022) in walk-off fashion at The Diamond.
- Virginia and Wake Forest enter the midweek with the most wins (31) of any team in the country. The Cavaliers winning percentage (.838) is the second highest of any college baseball program. Virginia’s six losses are tied with LSU and South Carolina for the second fewest in the country behind Wake Forest’s five.
- Tuesday’s contest will be the final non-conference road game of the regular season for Virginia and one of seven regular season games left to be played away from Disharoon Park.
- Virginia’s seven road wins thus far in 2023 matches the entire road win total from last year. The Cavaliers have won double-digit road games 13 times in O’Connor’s 20 seasons, most recently in 2021. The 19 road wins in O’Connor’s first year on the job in 2004 remain the most in his tenure.
- The Cavaliers went 3-2 last week and are a consensus top-10 team for the fifth-straight week, coming in at No. 8 in this week’s D1Baseball Top-25. It’s the longest UVA has been in D1Baseball’s top-10 since it was ranked No. 3 the first five weeks of the 2015 National Championship season.
- Virginia enters the game 7-2 against schools from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Tuesday’s game will feature two of the top run producers in the country, Jake Gelof currently leads the nation in RBI with 62. VCU’s lineup features Brandon Eike who leads the A-10 and ranks 16th in the country with 49.
IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
- Virginia enters the midweek No. 1 in the country in batting average (.337), doubles (102) and hits (445).
- The Cavaliers rank in the top-10 in the nation in runs (4th – 337), on-base-percentage (5th – .438) and scoring (6th– 9.4 rpg).
- On the mound, the Cavaliers have the fourth-lowest team ERA (3.20).
- Virginia has pitched five shutouts this season, tied for the most in the ACC and the seventh-most in the country.
- Of the 371 strikeouts (14th most in NCAA) recorded by Cavalier pitching, 129 have come looking, the most of any staff in the country.
- The Cavalier hurlers also boast college baseball’s 10th-best strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.04) and rank 15th in WHIP (1.26).
- Virginia is the only team in the country to rank in the top-20 in the nation in batting average (1st), ERA (4th and fielding percentage (12th). Only Virginia and UTSA (11th in BA & 10th in ERA) rank in the top-20 in batting average and ERA.
- Tuesday will be the 71st meeting between Virginia and VCU with UVA holding 45-25 advantage in the all-time series that was first played in 1979, a 17-4 Cavalier victory in Charlottesville.
- Under Brian O’Connor Virginia boasts a 21-6 mark against VCU.
- Except for 2020, the two schools have played a home and home series every year since 2016.
- VCU spoiled a valiant comeback effort last year at the Diamond where UVA erased a five-run deficit. The Rams won 7-5 in extra innings on walk home run by Jacob Selden. The Cavaliers earned the split in the season series with a 12-6 win in Charlottesville. It was a one-run game over the first six innings until UVA plated six runs in the seventh.
- Chase Hungate makes his return to The Diamond after playing his freshman season for the Rams under head coach Shawn Stiffler who left to become the head coach at Notre Dame (UVA’s weekend opponent). Hungate pitched in both games against UVA last season, allowing four runs in 7.2 IP. He was in line to get the win after three shutout innings against the Cavaliers in the May 4th game in Charlottesville before UVA scored eight of the last nine runs on the Rams bullpen.
- Chesterfield native Jay Woolfolk surrendered the walk-off homer against VCU last season on his fifth pitch of the ballgame. The righthander turned around the next day and struck out five of the seven batters to earn a five-out save against Georgetown.
- Griff O’Ferrall (Richmond), Travis Reifsnider (Richmond) Jay Woolfolk (Chesterfield) and Connelly Early (Midlothian) all hail from the Richmond area.
ON THE MOUND
- Connelly Early is scheduled to make his eighth midweek start of the season and ninth overall. The lefthander is in a three-way tie with Rhett Lowder (Wake Forest) and Carson Liggett (Louisville) for the most wins in the ACC. There are 15 pitchers in the country with seven or more wins and only two with eight (Cooper Rawls – Louisiana & Grant Rogers – McNeese).
- Early is looking to become the fifth UVA pitcher since 2016 to record eight wins in a season. Andrew Abbott was the last to win eight when he went 9-6 in 2021.
- Early got back on track with a combined shutout of Richmond last Tuesday. The lefthander allowed two hits, issued two walks and struck out four batters over six innings in his third quality start of the season. Early has started two of UVA’s ACC-best, five shutouts this season.
PRODUCTION AT THE PLATE
- The Cavaliers are averaging 9.4 runs per game, sixth-most in the country and have the third largest scoring margin in college baseball.
- Virginia has struck out 239 times as a team this season, the fewest of any team in the ACC.
- UVA has five players ranked in the top-5 in the ACC in batting average, no other school has two.
Highest DI Scoring Margin/Run Differential
- Gelof comes into the weekend as the national leader in RBI with 62, third in the nation in total bases (124) and eighth in slugging percentage (.855)
- Already the program’s career home run record holder, Gelof is now hunting down the program’s career RBI record. He tied for eighth all-time with 158 after a six RBI weekend against Pitt. He need’s eight to crack the top-5.
Most Career RBI in UVA History
|5.||Ryan Gilleland (1995-98)||166|
|Bill Narleski (1984-87)||166|
|6.||Jon Benick (1998-01)||162|
|7.||Kenny Towns (2012-15)||159|
|8.||George Priftis (1980-83)||158|
|Jake Gelof (2021-present)||158|
|10.||Dan Grovatt (2008-10)||157|
- Griff O’Ferrall was UVA’s best hitter over the five games last week. He was 10-for-18 (.558) at the plate with eight runs scored, two doubles and three RBI. He is currently riding a career-high, 14-game hit streak and has reached base safely in his last 28 games. Over the course of his 14-game hit streak he is 29-for-57 (.508) with 24 runs scored.
- Kyle Teel leads the ACC in batting average (.435), hits (65), hits per game (1.73) and on-base percentage (.503). He has reached base safely in all 37 games this season, the second-longest stretch of his career. As a freshman he reached base in 44-straight at the end of the 2021 season and the first 17 games of the 2022 season, the second-longest streak of any Cavaliers since 1998.
- Teel’s 65 hits on the year are second only to Jonah Cox (Oral Roberts) who has 66 in 37 games for the national lead.