May 30, 2013

What they're saying about the Charlottesville regional...

Streaking the Lawn:

College Sports Madness:
2013 Baseball World Series Charlottesville Regional Breakdown

Snapshots for all 16 regional sites

Charlottesville, Va.

Field: Virginia (1), UNC Wilmington (2), Elon (3), Army (4)
UNC Wilmington ranks 30th in RPI, and I would love to see Mat Batts throw against Virginia. Would UNCW gamble and sit its ace in the first game against Elon? It'd be a brave move, but Batts is the kind of power arm -- 110 strikeouts and 26 walks in 105 2/3 innings -- who would have a chance of shutting down the Cavaliers.
Otherwise, this is a redemption run for Brian O'Connor's Cavs, who shook the stench of losing at home in the 2012 regionals by going 47-10 this season, but even five tomato baths wouldn't wash away the spray of first-round exits at home in consecutive seasons for the Cavaliers. It's not exactly Omaha or bust for them -- although losing to (most likely) Mississippi State at home in the super regionals would still sting -- because they are young and figure to be a top-five team in 2014.
But there's no question Virginia is plenty good to reach the College World Series, and there's no question something will have felt left on the table if it comes up short.

Gchat exchange between myself and my friend [and UVA Baseball superfan] Andrew:

Kendall: cain't wait
Andrew: I am so pumped for this weekend, I can't believe we got such a cake regional
Kendall: i know, i don't want to say it though
Andrew: I'll say it all day, we are the best team in the ACC and we can beat any team in the country
Kendall: i don't want to say "CAKE REGIONAL" and then have to try to put the toothpaste back in the tube if we don't advance, that's all. and while we can beat anybody... i've been a UVA fan for far too long to allow myself the luxury of expectations
Andrew: resilience dawg. this team has fight in it that I haven't seen in any other UVa sports team
Kendall: see, here's where we differ. for me, football and basketball doubt creeps into baseball. we can't have nice things. for you, baseball is autonomous. which i love about you and hate about me, but still
Andrew: I can see where you're coming from
Kendall: it's UVA sports, put on this earth to fucking torture me
Andrew: All I know is that UVa baseball has made me happier than any sports team I have ever followed
Kendall: i agree with you there, and WOW, that's saying something about the sports teams we follow!

So here we go, regional starts tomorrow.  Failure to advance out of this "cake" regional will be a colossal embarrassment.  That's not to say that Army, Elon, and Wilmington aren't capable... but c'mon.  We'll outclass them at just about every position on the field.  Army will pitch their ace against us, an efficient innings-gobbler named Chris Rowley. We faced him in this situation last year, and he melted down a bit in that contest.  Army lost a ton from that team that won 41 games last season, but the ace is back on the mound and he's better than he was last season.  Elon and UNC-Wilminington are both dangerous mid-major teams that have notched wins against ACC foes this season.  But the atmosphere inside of Davenport and the focus that comes from playing in a regional tournament should make us the heavy favorite in any game we play this weekend.

Nervous, but excited.  Anxious.  I'm ready to see us take three straight and blow this regional wide open.


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