We're the #6 national seed. Sweeeeeeet. Never like to count that chicken before it hatches.
We're the 1-seed in our regional, and face 4-seed Army on Friday. 2-seed UNC-Wilmington faces 3-seed Elon in the other Friday game in the Charlottesville regional.
Wilmington is a dangerous club, and we've struggled at times in our mid-week games against mid-major type teams... but there's no possible way we could have gotten an easier draw in our regional. The best news is that infamous Wahoo killers South Carolina and Oklahoma are clear on the other side of the bracket (Oklahoma is playing in Blacksburg -- good luck Hokies!) If we can make it to the super regional, Mississippi State or South Alabama would pose a significant challenge. If we make it to Omaha, we will have earned it.
I'm guessing Brandon Waddell will start on the mound against Army -- that's the perfect opportunity for him to shake off the ugly start against VT in Durham. Then Silverstein on Saturday, hopefully for a chance to go 2-0 and walk into Sunday with a nice, fresh assortment of arms. Nick Howard, Whit Mayberry, Josh Sborz, and Trey Oest give us a lot of starting options at that point. We might not have the best ace-level starters, but we boast a huge arsenal of startable arms. Sistema Peralta!
Of course, the pitching could take a back seat to our offense if we hit the way we can hit. Our lineup from 1 to 9 is maybe the best we've ever had at UVA, assuming Cogswell is back from his broken finger.
Here's a great piece from Jeff White that can kind of clue you in on how we're playing right now.
Mike Papi is crushing it at a .400 clip, Reed Gragnani never strikes out, Nate Irving is really in a zone right now, Derek Fisher and Joe McCarthy offer great bats with plenty of power, and Kenny Towns is riding high after his extra-innings dinger against Florida State. We saw Nick Howard and Brandon Downes dump homers over the left field wall in Durham, and Jared King is the grizzled vet with the experience to produce when needed. It's a potent lineup.
And oh yeah, our bullpen is pretty damn good, as well. Austin Young is an accomplished innings-eater in middle relief, David Rosenberger has looked good of late, Nathan Kirby has a world of potential, and we boast maybe the best closer in college baseball in Kyle Crockett.
We're locked and loaded. We'll be better in 2014, but let's see how far this formula of youth and hitting with an ensemble-style cast of pitchers can take us in 2013.
"There's certainly something special about this club."
~Coach Brian O'Connor