June 27, 2011

Thank you, UVA Baseball! (And a look ahead to 2012.)

What a great ride.  Best season ever in the 122-year history of Virginia Baseball.  And there's now no doubt that we have officially arrived as an elite baseball program.  2011 will not be our last trip to Omaha, and I'm betting we'll win the national championship one of these years.

It was a great run, and I couldn't be prouder of the team and the program.  What a class act Virginia Baseball has become, and this just about twelve years removed from an infield covered with the old artificial turf from Scott Stadium with a faded 20 yard line running through 2nd base.  The bleachers would barely hold the 150 or so people at the game and most of them families of the visitors.  We all got so sick of hearing the Cal baseball story, mostly because it was nothing compared to where we were 10-15 years ago, with the program in shambles and on the verge of being shut down for financial reasons.

In 2011, we notched 56 wins (including a 14-1 record in weekend series), an ACC regular season championship, an ACC tournament championship, domination of the Charlottesville Regional, a heroic and miraculous win over a tremendous UC Irvine team in the Charlottesville Super Regional, the program's second-ever trip to the College World Series in Omaha, and the program's deepest-ever advancement into that tournament.  It was a damn good season.  Now the athletic department must ponder contract extensions for Brian O'Connor and his staff, along with further expansions to Davenport Field.  Virginia is rapidly becoming a baseball school, and the success of the baseball program is proving to football and basketball that Virginia has fantastic fans... if you're winning.

So, THANK YOU, 2011 UVA Baseball.  You have captivated our hearts and minds.  As cheesy as that is to say, it's totally true.  Over the course of the last month-plus, 100% of my sports attention has been focused on Virginia Baseball.  It was awesome, and I can't wait to do it again next spring.  Like many of my fellow fans, this program has hooked me, violently and right through the cheek.  It's a team that plays hard, performs with grit, conducts itself with class, produces professional-level talent, competes with the elite programs in the sport, and simply wins games with an exciting brand of aggressive baseball.  It's about pitching and defense and producing runs; it's about giving the fans a team it can really embrace.  I love everything about Virginia Baseball right now.



But today I'm still just sort of licking my wounds from Friday night and lazily looking ahead to February 2012.  Can the Cavs reload, or is this a situation that calls for a complete rebuild?

I think Brian O'Connor only ever RELOADS.  We'll see lots of new faces in new places, but there's a strong core of players that returns, and our top-notch recruiting will continue to bear more and more fruit.

But first, a quick look at who's gone...

DEFINITELY GONE
John Barr -- graduated
David Coleman -- graduated
Kenny Swab -- graduated
Tyler Wilson -- graduated
Cody Winiarski -- graduated
Danny Hultzen -- going pro, 1st round

PROBABLY GONE
John Hicks -- going pro, 4th round
Will Roberts -- graduated in three years; going pro, 5th round
Steven Proscia -- going pro, 7th round


Okay, so what will the team look like next year?

On the mound...


[Rising junior] Branden Kline and [rising sophomore] Kyle Crockett will almost certainly represent 2/3rds of the weekend rotation.  If you watched Friday night's game, then you couldn't help but come away impressed with these two guys, and excited about their future as starting pitchers for the Hoos.  I'm guessing Kline starts on Friday nights -- which is the typical spot for your ace in a college rotation.  Crockett takes the mound on Saturdays; it's clear the staff really likes what the crafty young lefthander brings to the table.

As for the 3rd spot in the weekend rotation?  [Rising senior] Scott Silverstein, [rising junior] Whit Mayberry, and "secret weapon," [rising junior] Aaron Stull will probably all be in the conversation.  I also think [redshirt freshman] Ryan Ashoosh and hulking (6-7, 235) incoming freshman Christian Binford could be in the mix.  Both guys were highly recruited out of high school.

In the bullpen, many of the names listed above will be factors, along with [rising senior] set-up specialist Justin Thompson.  Mayberry could be the closer, but one area sportswriter likes the look of [rising sophomore] Artie Lewicki in the role.

In the infield...


Super Regional SUPERHERO [and rising junior] Chris Taylor will be back at shortstop (or possibly one of the outfield spots).  I assume he'll take on an increased role offensively, as one of our more consistent, reliable hitters.



Of course, defensive wizard and HBP/bunt specialist [and rising senior] Keith Werman is back at 2nd base.  Big Werm's hustle and senior leadership will be a big part of the 2012 team.  I dread the day Virginia Baseball has to forge bravely ahead without a Werman on the roster.



[Rising senior] Jared King is back at 1st.  His bat will be a crucial cog in the team's offense.

Joining Taylor, Werm, and King will likely be [redshirt sophomore] Stephen Bruno, who has already enjoyed an extended taste of game action as a freshman in 2010.

Everyone's best guess at the catcher position is [rising junior] Ryan Levine, who has drawn rave reviews for his defensive funamentals and decent bat with occasional pop.  He probably won't be a big-time offensive producer like John Hicks has been, but it does sound like Levine will be a bit of an upgrade behind the plate.


In the outfield...


This is where projections get a little more difficult.

Factoring in only what we've seen to this point, I'd have to say we're looking at the strong possibility of [rising junior] Reed Gragnani in left, [rising sophomore] Mitchell Shifflett in center, and [rising junior] Colin Harrington in right.  Grags and Harrington bring plus bats to the table, while Shifflett (FFTT) brings plus speed on the basepaths and a great defensive presence in centerfield.

Other guys in the outfield mix could be [rising senior] Shane Halley, [rising sophomores] Mark Podlas and Derek Justice, and incoming freshmen Derek Fisher and Mike Papi -- both of whom were drafted and must first turn down contract offers in order to even make it to Virginia.  Justice, Podlas, Fisher, and Papi all carry significant talent and potential, so I'm looking for at least two of these four guys to see extended action in 2012.  And one of them will likely be the DH.


To summarize...

The Lineup:
Mitchell Shifflett -- CF
Reed Gragnani -- LF
Chris Taylor -- SS
Jared King -- 1B
Stephen Bruno -- 3B
Mark Podlas -- DH
Ryan Levine -- C
Colin Harrington -- RF
Keith Werman -- 2B

The Rotation:
Friday: Branden Kline -- RHP
Saturday: Kyle Crockett -- LHP
Sunday: Whit Mayberry -- RHP
Mid-Week: Aaron Stull -- LHP

Bullpen:
Closer: Artie Lewicki -- RHP
Set-Up: Justin Thompson -- RHP
Lefty Specialist: Scott Silverstein -- LHP
Chad O'Connor -- RHP
Ryan Ashoosh -- LHP
Christian Binford -- RHP


We're gonna be good again next year.  Pitching will still be a strength, as will defense and being able to generate offense.  We lack the big sticks, but that's not a problem that will plague us.

A lot of ability remains in the program, and I think we're looking at another solid 40+ win campaign in 2012.

GO HOOS!




Our sister blog, WahooWatch, has an eerily similar piece.  Check it out, HERE.  And subscribe to that one, too!  Mike V. knows his stuff, and is an entertaining writer.  He gets my seal of approval.

June 24, 2011

Bummer.

Terrible way to end it, but a great season.  (Cody Winiarski, you're fucking fired.)

Great season.

Highlights:

-- 56 wins
-- 2nd-ever trip to Omaha
-- Finished tied with Vandy for 3rd in the CWS
--

Ah, screw it.  I don't have the heart to do this right now.  Just wanna be sad and go to bed.

FUCK!

Incredible.




Un... fucking... believeable.

Win or lose, this has been an incredible game.

Branden Kline has earned himself some fans tonight.

Glass Slipper -- SMASHED

Tyler Wilson was superb last night.


HOOS 8, California 1.

A beautiful, beautiful game.

Tyler Wilson's STRONG 7.2 innings.

Swabby's inside-the-park home run.

Big Werm's two clutch hits.

Everyone in the order notching at least one hit.

Knocking this annoying team and their annoying hair and their annoying story out of the CWS and back to Berkley.  Blood on our hands for the first time in Omaha --- a team has been eliminated, and we did the eliminating, drubbing them 12-2 over two games.

You have to think we have a head of steam as we face South Carolina tonight.  Danny Hultzen on the mound.  The Hoos remembering how to hit.  Eager for revenge from Tuesday night's shellacking.

If we can win tonight and force a decisive game tomorrow night, the pressure will be on the Gamecocks.

Either way, GREAT SEASON!  Final Four -- the best-ever finish for UVA Baseball.  56 wins -- the most ever for UVA Baseball.

And we're not done yet.

GO HOOS!

June 22, 2011

Wednesday Morning Hangover

*sigh*

Okay, deep breath.

First off, I want to toss you over to a great post from my friend [and fellow UVA sports blogger] Mike, who breaks down the decision to start Danny Hultzen on Sunday against Cal and how it adversely affected our game against South Carolina last night.  Cocks 7 Hoos 1  There are a couple of really funny lines in there.  My favorite:
Now all we can do is hope Tyler Wilson can rise to the challenge and defeat Cal, who according to an ESPN report has Jesus Christ on the mound with the Pope and the President of the United States in relief for the next game. Hopefully they’ve run out of montauges for this game and we can actually hear about the game instead of how terrible California’s state budget is.


Secondly...  I'm personally having a hard time wrestling with the way I feel about last night's loss.  It was the worst game we've played all season.  Shaky pitching, bad defense, no hitting.  But I can't really be too scathing, because we're playing in Omaha in the College World Series with a team that twelve months ago, I thought would be lucky to even make the NCAA Tournament, and a team that nine days ago was down to its last out with two strikes before miraculously rallying to defeat UC Irvine in the Super Regional.  "Playing with house money" I believe is the term, and I think it applies.

This team had a GREAT season, but how great is this team, really?  I think a lot of our success this season came from smoke and mirrors, especially offensively.  I don't want to say we're in the process of being quote-unquote exposed here in the CWS, but I also don't think we have the bats to hang with these upper-crust SEC teams.

Look, this is hard for me to write and it will be hard for you to read.  But it needs to be said and it needs to be understood.  We are not going to beat South Carolina.  If we get past California on Thursday night, we'd then need to beat the Gamecocks on Friday AND Saturday to advance to the championship series.  It's not going to happen.  I'm not being pessimistic, I'm being realistic.

We'll be pitching Tyler Wilson against Cal.  Then Hultzen takes the mound against the Cocks on Friday.  If we win that one, who starts on Saturday?  Will Roberts (who threw 62 pitches last night and should be able to go on four day's rest, but who got shelled last night by South Carolina)?  Winiarski?  Johnny Wholestaff?

I'll say it again -- We are not going to beat South Carolina.  We are not going to play in the championship series.  We are not going to win the national championship.

Come to grips with that today.  Reconcile the reality of the situation.  Then settle into this...

We need to beat Cal tomorrow night, crush them, end their cute little story, and terminate ESPN's annoying over-the-top love affair with that team.

We need to give South Carolina all it can handle.  With our ace on the bump on Friday, and playing with our backs against the wall, we need to win that game and force a decisive game on Saturday.  That puts the pressure on the Gamecocks.

We've done it all year, and we have one more chance -- we need to bounce back from adversity.  Prove the character of this team and the resolve of this program to force its way into the group of college baseball elite.


Nothing to lose, everything to gain, it's time to go balls out.

GO HOOS!

June 19, 2011

HOOS 4, Cal 1

Big Werm: Batting .210 on the season, delivered big time today
by going 2-for-4 with an RBI.



Awesome first game in Omaha!

A few thoughts:
  • Danny Hultzen battled through six scoreless innings, throwing 113 pitches.  He might be available to pitch again Thursday, will probably be available to pitch Friday or Saturday if we're still playing then.
  • Interesting move by Brian O'Connor ("BOC" from now on) to bring Tyler Wilson in for middle relief.  He went two good innings, throwing 39 pitches.  He probably won't start on Tuesday, but it looks like BOC wants to deal Wilson out of the pen.  Makes sense, he was a relief pitcher the first three years of his UVA career, and a damn good one at that.
  • I liked the move to allow Branden Kline to come in for the save.  Maybe this appearance helps the young man regain some lost confidence.
  • We have to get more from John Hicks and Steven Proscia, or we won't last long in the CWS.  Each guy had an RBI today, but both looked... uncomfortable.  Bad time for a mini-slump for our two best hitters.
  • John Barr and Keith Werman were studs today.  And this is indicative of how our lineup shapes up --- we can get production from anyone, 1-thru-9.
  • Good game, solid win.  It's nice to knock the media darling into the loser's bracket.  Mike Patrick was really freaking annoying with the Cal love today.
  • Now we need to hope this Texas A&M / South Carolina game goes 25 innings with those teams burning through their pitching.
  • First time a Virginia team has played in the winner's bracket at the College World Series.  LOVE THAT!

GO HOOS!

June 16, 2011

The Hierarchy of Hatred

Ah, Ron Mexico.  Put a shirt on, asshole.

If you know me at all, you know that I have hate in my heart.  It was probably born (planted in my gut like a white-hot ember) on November 29th, 1996, when I was punched in the face by that asshole Hokie fan.  If you know me, you've already heard that story.

Anyway, I've learned to live with that hatred; to embrace it.  I've gotten so comfortable with it, I have even learned to hide it completely from view, like when I'm hanging out with my dear friend Doug (a hardcore Hokie fan).  But it's still there, eating away at me like a sadistic tapeworm.

With this post, I just wanted to flash a little bit of the dark side of my soul.  Let it out of its cage to prowl the night.  Maybe take in a meal.

With no further intro, here are (ranked and in order) my 25 most-hated sports teams as of Thursday, June 16th, 2011...

[Fine Print Disclaimer: This program is intended for mature audiences.]


#25 VCU Basketball -- I don't really hate the Rams, I just hate their "fans."  You know, those people who couldn't be bothered to go see a game in the fractions-full Siegel Center, who now claim themselves to be die-hards after that Final Four run (against the most watered-down field in recent college basketball history)?  In my adventures, I've met no fewer than three lifelong (read: three months old, born in March) VCU fans.  They were annoying with their almost-but-not-quite claims to VCU fandom rights.  Thus, I hate VCU hoops.  Sorry Shaka.  I'm sure they'll cycle off of this list once the program returns to gleeful irrelevancy.

#24 Washington Capitals Hockey -- I actually consider myself a Caps fan.  But they lose like little bitches in the playoffs.  It's embarrassing, so I hate them.  Best team in hockey, shrinking violets on the grand stage, when the going actually gets tough.  Plus, I think Bruce Boudreau is a soft-willed, shitty coach.  Why hasn't he been shitcanned yet???  Swept by the freaking Tampa Bay Lightning?  Really?  Get a decent coach, toughen up, find some goaltending, play some D, and win games in the playoffs.  Sheesh.  You guys are about to make me jump ship to Winnipeg.

#23 Philadelphia Phillies Baseball -- Just because I hate Philly in general, and Philadelphia sports specifically.  Loading up on those starting pitchers annoyed me highly.  Their saving grace is Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

#22 Miami Heat Basketball -- Everyone is piling on right now, and I like feeling like part of the in crowd.  I'm honestly not even really a LeBron hater, but...  Schadenfreude, motherfuckers!

#21 Johns Hopkins Lacrosse -- Until they grow the balls to play any other sport, they are hated.

#20 Duke Football -- Fun fact!  Duke has beaten us in each of the last three seasons.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

#19 Virginia Tech Bass Fishing -- The only "sport" in which the Hokies have won a national championship.  Seriously.  Too bad it's not recognized by the NCAA.

#18 Maryland Basketball -- The only thing I vaguely liked was the volcanic sideline antics of Gary Williams.  And now he's gone.  Their fans are scum, their teams are annoying, and they've ruined too many of my brackets to count.

#17 UNC Baseball -- Ha ha, you guys still think you're the vogue baseball program in the ACC.  Too cute.

#16 Boston College Football -- Seriously, get the hell out of the ACC.

#15 West Virginia Football -- Hilarious current trainwreck soap opera notwithstanding (or maybe included), WVU is the shithole of college football.  Their inbred hillbilly fanbase is one of the worst groups of human beings you'll find in the world.  We should just nuke the stadium on gameday and smite them from the face of the planet.

#14 Miami Basketball -- I won't soon forget that loss in the ACC Tournament.  Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and go to work on hating your tormentor.

#13 New York Jets Football -- This spot in the ranking has EVERYTHING to do with Rex Ryan.  Can't stand him.  Wish him colossal failure and/or coronary explosion.


*** INTERMISSION ***

A few teams you might be surprised that I do not currently and actively hate:
  • UNC Basketball -- I've actually never hated the Heels.  Dislike the way they eat our lunch at recruiting?  Yes.  But never hate.  To me, they were always the favorable alternative to Duke.
  • Dallas Cowboys Football -- Maybe back in the '90s, when Aikman and Emmitt Smith were winning Super Bowls.  But not now.  Now they are just a comedy of errors, fueled by Jerruh Jones' over-the-top American Capitalistic Excesses (for some reason, I just felt that deserved caps.)  For example, that giant stadium doesn't piss me off, I just think it's funny.  Remove the salary cap from the NFL, and I'd change my tune right quick.  But for now... nope, don't hate the Cowboys.
  • Baltimore Ravens Football -- The favorable alternative to the Steelers.
  • Cleveland Browns Football -- I hate them, but more than that, I just pity them.  I mean, it's Cleveland.  I'm pretty sure shit rains out of the sky in Cleveland.  Like literally, poop falls from the clouds.
  • New York Knicks Basketball -- I actually think the NBA is suffering greatly from the Knicks not being good.  Pro basketball is more fun with this team being a factor.
  • Boston Red Sox Baseball -- Look, I know Boston fans are insufferable.  But my grandfather is a huge Sox fan, and... you've seen this above... the Sox are the favorable alternative to the Yankees.
  • Oakland Raiders Football -- Al Davis cracks me up.
I'm sure there are some others I'm forgetting.  If there's a team I didn't name that you think I should hate, post it in the comments.  Thanks.
 
*** END INTERMISSION ***

#12 Ohio State Football -- I know some Buckeye fans.  Up until recently, they have been holier than thou about their [laughable] "high academics" and football dominance.  I'm not a Tressel hater, just eager to call these OSU fans out on their our shit don't stink schtick of the last ten years. Turns out, yes, your shit does in fact stink.

#11 New York Yankees Baseball -- It's clich├ęd to hate the Yankees, but there are solid reasons for it.  The fact that George Steinbrenner is dead (is he dead?) makes me just hate 'em more.  I like crazy, ancient, mega-rich owners.

#10 Duke Lacrosse -- Strippers, prostitution, sexual assault, hate crime.  You know the story.  I hate Duke Lacrosse because it gave the sport a bad name, and because they own the Hoos at the moment.

#9 LA Lakers Basketball -- They'd be ranked higher on this list if I cared more about the NBA.

#8 Georgia Tech Football -- Hello, Al Groh!

#7 Philadelphia Eagles Football -- Michael Vick can eat shit and die.

#6 Maryland Football -- Less hated now that Friedgen (I refuse to call him "Fridge," gives Regrigerator Perry a bad name) died/retired/got fired/whatever the hell happened to him, but still hated.  I got hit by ice cubes and a AAA battery during a game up there.  No lie.  Triple As.  At least have the gonads to throw Cs or Ds, fuckers.

#5 North Carolina Football -- Rotten to the core.  Hiring Butch Davis is like inviting the devil in for tea and crumpets.  One of their scumbag fans actually said to me: "at least our athletes don't kill each other" on the way out of Scott Stadium last year.  I probably asked for it by yelling crazy stuff about how they cheat and how their coaches are scum, but c'mon.

#4 Duke Basketball -- You already know why anyone hates Duke, right?  I don't need to elaborate on that.  A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.

A crying effeminate dude who looks like a 10-year old boy. 
Duke basketball in a nutshell.  All that's missing is the flop.

#3 Virginia Tech Basketball -- Seth Goonberg has single-handedly made me hate Selection Sunday.  Can we as a society sober up and stop miking that whiny douche when his mediocre basketball team with zero quality wins is not included in the NCAA Tournament?

#2 Pittsburgh Steelers Football -- The Virginia Tech of the NFL.  Thugs and cheap-shot artists who win regularly, to my utmost discomfort and misery.  I hate the Steelers so much that I now hate James Farrior.  Heath Miller is getting close.  I know, blasphemy.  But still, there it is.  Another thousand-word picture:

It's a fucking CHEAP SHOT.



#1 Virginia Tech Football -- Ha ha, telegraphed this one, didn't I?



Whew, that was therapeutic.

Previewing the CWS




Here's a [really] good Cal-based preview from SB*NATION's California blog: College World Series Preview: Looking At Virginia, South Carolina And Texas A&M

And a CWS preview from Perfect Game's college baseball guru Kendall Rogers: Serious Star Power in Omaha


One of the big points of discussion amongst the UVA baseball fanatics is what Brian O'Connor will do with the starting rotation in Omaha.  With games on Sunday and Tuesday, and then potentially Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, who will he start and when?  With staff ace Danny Hultzen, senior battler Tyler Wilson, red-hot Will Roberts, and long reliever / spot starter Cody Winiarski at his disposal, he has a lot of options.  In trying to crack the code, I took a look back at the ten previous games we've played this postseason...

In the ACC Tournament
  • Wilson started on Wednesday, against wholly overmatched Wake Forest
  • Roberts started the clutch-cargo game against Miami on Friday
  • Winiarski started the meaningless (yet hard-fought) game against UNC on Saturday
  • Hultzen started the championship game against FSU on Sunday
In the Regional
  • Roberts started game 1 against Navy on Friday
  • Hultzen started the crucial winner's bracket game against St. John's on Saturday
  • Wilson started the clincher against ECU on Sunday (Winiarski pitched an inning of relief in the blowout)
In the Super Regional against UC Irvine
  • Hultzen started game 1 on Saturday (Winiarski pitched 3.2 innings of relief)
  • Wilson started game 2 on Sunday
  • Roberts started the decisive game 3 on Monday
A few thoughts generated by this look back at these ten games:
-- Brian O'Connor is a frickin' genius.  Think Cal knows who we'll start?  We used three different pitchers in the three first games of each postseason session.
-- Conventional wisdom says we should pitch Hultzen on Sunday in Omaha, so he'll potentially be able to go again should we make it to Friday or Saturday.
-- Conventional wisdom also says that with Cal being the weakest team in the entire CWS field, we might be able to get by with Wilson or Roberts in the first game, saving Hultzen for the winner's bracket game (should we beat Cal) or the elimination game (should we lose to Cal) on Tuesday.
-- Is BOC ballsy/bold enough to start Winiarski in that first game on Sunday, saving our three top starters for the rest of the week?
-- If we make it through this four-team "regional" and advance to the championship series, those games would be played on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the following week.  (See the bracket and schedule HERE.)  Whomever pitches Sunday or Tuesday in the first week, they'd be good to go for any of those three games in the championship series.  The Thursday starter would be ready to go for game 3 of the championship series.  The Friday or Saturday starter would most likely be spent for the championship series.  That's worth considering, especially if you're thinking we should start Hultzen against Cal on Sunday.  We'd definitely want him to pitch in that championship series.  Obviously.

With all of that being said, here is my guess at the starting rotation we'll see in Omaha:
  • Tyler Wilson starts Sunday against Cal.  He's an experienced senior, but he's been the most shaky of our three stud starters.  This gives him a lower quality opponent to rebuild some momentum and makes him available to pitch in a key elimination game later in the week, OR in one of the games in the championship series.
  • Danny Hultzen starts on Tuesday, win or lose against Cal.  Burn his arm in that crucial game, then hope you make it into the next week so he can pitch again with the national championship on the line.
  • Will Roberts starts on Thursday if we play then, or on Friday.  It's either the last game of the "regional" or an elimination game.  Good season, Will.  Maybe we'll make it to the following Wednesday, when you can start again, this time for all the marbles.
  • If we have to play our way up through the loser's bracket, Cody Winiarski starts on Friday.  Yikes.
  • Tyler Wilson starts on Saturday, if needed.
  • If he's not needed to start that Friday, Cody Winiarski is exclusively our clutch middle reliever for the CWS, and emergency spot starter in the championship series.

And finally, after exhaustive research, here are my picks for all of the games in Omaha:
  • Vandy over UNC
  • Florida over Texas
  • Virginia over Cal
  • South Carolina over Texas A&M
  • Vandy over Florida
  • UNC over Texas (eliminated)
  • Virginia over South Carolina
  • Texas A&M over Cal (eliminated)
  • Florida over UNC (eliminated)
  • South Carolina over Texas A&M (eliminated)
  • Florida over Vandy
  • South Carolina over Virginia
  • Vandy over Florida (eliminated)
  • Virginia over South Carolina (eliminated)
  • Virginia over Vandy (Hultzen starts)
  • Vandy over Virginia (Wilson starts)
  • Virginia over Vandy (Roberts starts)

I'm a homer.

GO HOOS!

ESPN's Virginia Basketball Lovefest

It must be Virginia Basketball Day for the Worldwide Leader.  Here are two good articles / blog posts from ESPN:




Good stuff.

June 13, 2011

CWS Schedule


Get your DVRs ready...

Game 1: Sun 6/19, 2pm -- Virginia vs. California (on ESPN)

Game 2: Sun 6/19, 7pm -- Texas A&M vs. South Carolina (ESPN2)

Game 3: Tues 6/21, 2pm -- Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser, LOSER ELIMINATED (ESPN)

Game 4: Tues 6/21, 7pm -- Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner (ESPN)

Game 5: Thurs 6/23, 7pm -- Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Loser, LOSER ELIMINATED (ESPN2)

Game 6: Fri 6/24, 7pm -- Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, elimination game for Game 5 Winner (ESPN)

Game 7 (if necessary): Sat 6/25, 7pm -- Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, LOSER ELIMINATED, WINNER ADVANCES TO CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES (ESPN2)


Cal is a good draw for the first game.  Good team... not terrific.  Easily the worst team of the eight in the CWS.  South Carolina is looming as our toughest competition in our "regional," though Texas A&M is certainly dangerous also.

I'm just glad we're not on the other side of the bracket.  Florida, Texas, Vandy, UNC.  Yikes.


When we made it to Omaha in 2009, I think most everyone was just glad to be there.  We got rolled by LSU, 9-5.  Then we beat (and eliminated) national #2 seed Cal St. Fullerton, 7-5.  Our third game was against Arkansas... who beat us 4-3.  It was a good showing, certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

But now, we're the #1 overall seed.  We are the favorites in this thing, though there is a heavy SEC bias and Florida has emerged as ESPN's "vogue" team.  I think most people are expecting a South Carolina/Florida championship series.  I say nay.

I contend we have the best starting pitching in the CWS, even with Hultzen and Tyler Wilson in a bit of a funk.  Will Roberts is showing me something right now, and Cody Winiarski is having a great postseason.  Not many teams can boast four legit starters.  We can.

Offensively, I'm worried about the mini-slumps of John Hicks and Steven Proscia.  But if those guys can get it going again... we can beat anybody we play.

We certainly have more than a puncher's chance in this thing.

GO HOOS!

OMAHA!

#6 Chris Taylor: HERO.


I can't believe what I just saw.  This never happens for UVA sports.  Best moment since the Sean Singletary shot against Duke.  The Miracle on Grass.

Wahooze Turns Two!



Two years ago, I started this blog.  289 posts later, and here we are.  I want to thank all of my readers and followers.  It's been a great run, lots of fun, and a much-needed outlet for yours truly.  Thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Now, for a birthday present, I want us to absolutely CURBSTOMP the Anteaters this afternoon.  No more of that losing like dogs crap from last year.

GO HOOS!

'Cavs vs. Cav-nots'


Bob Molinaro is a sportswriter and columnist for the Hampton Roads Pilot.  I hate Bob Molinaro.  He's a Hokie-loving hack who sweats negativity from his pores.

Sad about another belly-up March for VPI basketball and noticing the total and complete absence of Virginia Tech in the world of spring sports, Bob recently unleashed this gem of anti-Virginia rhetoric upon humanity.

I didn't/don't want to acknowledge this drivel with a blog post, but I do think the piece [of shit] does lead to a fairly interesting question:

Would you trade our spring success for a bit better results in football and basketball?

And a follow-up:

When it comes to athletics, would you trade spots with Virginia Tech?

Please post your answers to these questions in the comments section, below.

June 12, 2011

Magic 3 Offense

While sitting on pins and needles waiting for the baseball game to start, I stumbled across this piece.  In doing some exploring, it looks like Bill Lazor might be intigrating some elements of the Magic 3 into the UVA offense this upcoming season -- it certainly makes sense given our young QB and high-quality tight ends.

Anyway, this is a great read for football nerds.  Everyone else... you might want to skip it.





One Win from Omaha

Jared King's three-run blast helped propel the Hoos over UCI yesterday.


Our solid 6-0 win over UC Irvine yesterday now puts us in a win-one-out-of-two situation against the Anteaters.  We play today at 1:00, and we might see the dogpile sometime around 4:30 or so.  Tyler Wilson is on the mound for the Hoos, with the offense still clicking after generating 12 hits yesterday.

If we lose today, it's Will Roberts on the bump tomorrow in a do-or-die situation.

Let's get this done and head back to Omaha.

GO HOOS!

June 10, 2011

Bullsh!t

Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is [one of the many reasons] why we have so many damn dirty Hokie fans in our home stadium when we play VPI:



There are three price levels for these ticket mini-packs: $110, $135, $150.

Think any Hokie fans would fork over $150 for a chance to invade Scott Stadium?  They don't have anything better to spend their money on.  Tater tots only cost like a buck fifty a bag.

Anyway, I consider this to be complete and total BS.  It's no less than a direct stab in the back by our athletic department.  I hope your ticket revenue offsets the SELLING OF YOUR SOUL.

Can't wait to watch us play Virginia Tech's 7th home game on November 26th.

Grrrrrrrrrr.


Update: It's not really my style to do this kind of thing, but I'm going to send an e-mail to Craig Littlepage about this, to see what he has to say.  If I get a response, I'll post it on the blog.  So stay tuned.

June 5, 2011

HOOS 13, ECU 1

He didn't have his best stuff, but
Tyler Wilson pitched a good 6+ innings tonight.


Regional champs!  On to the Super Regional, where we will face the the UCLA/UC Irvine winner.

Today, it was all about the offense, as we generated 13 runs on 17 hits.  Our pitching wasn't the best I've ever seen, but we got clutch outs, especially with runners in scoring position.  Tyler Wilson, Kyle Crockett, Branden Kline, and Cody Winiarski all saw action on the mound, with Winiarski looking especially good, striking out the side in the 9th.

Great win, and we absolutely dominated this regional.  Hoos 29, Regional Field 3.  How about that weekend of baseball?

GO HOOS!

June 4, 2011

HOOS 10, St. John's 2

Hultzen went seven strong innings, and
Proscia hit a homer and added three RBI.


Big win this evening.  Clutch win.  The pitching was good, the offense was fantastic.  We knocked the Johnnies' ace out of the game in the 4th inning, and cruised from there.  Dany Hultzen was great on the mound, and Steven Proscia and David Coleman delivered at the plate.  10 runs on 14 hits... always a good offensive showing.

Now St. John's and ECU play an elimination game tomorrow at 1:00.  The winner gets us (with Tyler Wilson* taking the mound) at 6:00.

If we lose tomorrow, we get another shot Monday at 6:00.

Let's close thing thing out and roll into the CVille Super Regional!

GO HOOS!


* I don't want to jinx him, but as good as Will Roberts has been pitching and as much of a superstar Danny Hultzen is, for my money Tyler Wilson is our best starting pitcher right now.  He's a fricking bulldog, and I absolutely LOVE that he's the starter for the regional clincher tomorrow.

June 3, 2011

HOOS 6, Navy 0

He didn't throw a perfect game today, but it was damn close...


Just back from Davenport Field...

Great game for the Hoos.  Will Roberts threw a complete game shutout, allowing just four hits against (by my count) thirteen strikeouts.

John Hicks hit a homer that just squeaked over the left field wall, and Danny Hultzen went 3-for-4 with (again, by my count) three RBIs.

Virginia advances to the winner's bracket, and will play the St. John's/ECU winner tomorrow (Saturday) at 6:00 PM.

Awesome day at the ballpark.

GO HOOS!