February 20, 2013
Hoos Come Out Swinging
Basketball is leaving everyone pretty heartbroken right now after a hard fought loss last night. However, yesterday was not a total loss for the athletic department.
The UVA baseball team improved to 4-0 last night with an 11-2 drubbing of Bill and Mary. Nick Howard turned in a remarkably efficient scattering of 5 hits over 6 innings to earn the win. The Hoos are now averaging 11.75 runs per game versus only 4 allowed, and if you remove the Saturday tilt with ECU, in which the staff labored and gave up 9 runs, that number is reduced to 2.3. The Hoos are on fire, almost to the point of an embarrassment of riches. I never thought I would see a lineup close to the 2009 squad, but we may have that on our hands, maybe not this year, but definitely in the future. Let's take a look at the bright spots
Kenny Towns: Kenny is leading the team with 3 homers and 10 RBI. He started off the season on absolute fire with 2 grand slams in the first game.
Branden Cogswell: Anyone still worried about a leadoff man? Cogswell is batting at an insane .538 with 5 walks over the first 4 games, and is 2 for 2 on steals so far. Having a solid guy getting on base at the top of this lineup is critical for success this season, and the steal success is just a bonus, and give BOC another weapon in his arsenal.
Reed Gragnani: Replacing Keith Werman is going to be tough on anyone, but Reed has played very well this young season. He is currently sporting a .438/.500/.688 triple slash (Average / On Base % / Slugging %). Those are some great numbers.
Freshman Pitchers: All the freshman have pitched well, except uber-recruit Nate Kirby who struggled in relief on Saturday and didn't seem to be totally comfortable last night. Brandon Waddell and Josh Sborz both pitched well in the season opener combining for 11 strikeouts and 3 earned runs over 8 innings. Additionally, Trey Oest turned in a masterful 1 hit, 4 strikeout performance against St. Peter's on Monday in his first start. The freshman pitchers will be THE key to this season, so it's good to see them get off to a good start.
There have also been some things that need improvement this season. Nothing major to be concerned about, but there is room for improvement.
Fielding: UVA has given up 4 unearned runs this season and has committed 6 errors. Come on now. Errors played a big factor in the ECU games being as close as they were.
Saturday's Pitching: Fielding definitely didn't help, but the HooStaff gave up 15 hits and 9 runs (7 earned) with only 6 strikeouts. Nate Kirby had an especially rough outing closing out the game giving up 5 earned on 7 hits in 1 and 1/3 innings of work. The HooBats definitely bailed the pitchers out in this game.
Derek Fisher: Derek will turn it around, but he is starting relatively slow out of the gate. With a .235/.350/.412 triple slash, he is certainly not living up to the (albeit unfairly astronomical) expectations we had for him this season. He does however lead the team in getting hit by pitches with 3, so there's a plus. And he does have a homer and 7 RBI this season. He will get it on track, as hitting is in fact contagious.
This season has really started with a bang, and HooFans have reasons to be excited. If the freshman pitching can hold up throughout the season, and this lineup continues to produce, look out.
Hoos host Toledo this weekend. Sunday it is supposed to be Sunny and 52 degrees. Game starts at 1. Come on out!