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Virginia baseball team travels to Liberty for important midweek clash
COLLEGE BASEBALL

Virginia baseball team travels to Liberty for important midweek clash

The Virginia baseball team has won 20 consecutive midweek games. The program’s last loss in midweek action came on March 13, 2019, at Liberty.

On Wednesday, the Cavaliers (9-10, 3-9 ACC) take their midweek winning streak to Lynchburg to face a red-hot Liberty squad. The Flames (13-5, 3-0 ASUN) have won 11 games in a row, including a pair of victories over North Carolina, and they’re a perfect 7-0 at home. They’re aiming to end the Cavaliers’ midweek dominance.

Despite a rocky stretch in recent weeks, UVa defeated Pittsburgh 10-4 on Monday. The Cavaliers hope they can parlay that victory into sustained success against Liberty and into a weekend series against No. 19 Miami.

“Today was a good sign for us,” redshirt senior catcher Logan Michaels said after Monday’s win.

After scoring 27 runs in its first 11 ACC games, the Cavaliers exploded for 10 runs in Monday’s win over the Panthers. They failed to score more than five runs in any of their previous 11 conference games before tallying six runs across the seventh and eighth innings of the win over the Panthers.

It was a much-needed offensive outburst for a team scuffling at the plate.

“In order to have big offensive days you need have multiple players in your lineup have multiple hits and RBIs,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “In this league, it’s not gonna happen very often where the other team just gives you a bunch of runs.”

Three UVa players drove in at least two runs, and three players also recorded at least two hits Monday. The Cavaliers finished with 11 hits as a group, eight of which were extra-base knocks.

“When you’re unified and have a good, sound, attacking offensive approach, I think you’re rewarded for that,” O’Connor said.

Virginia will need its hitting against a Liberty team with a deep pitching staff.

The Flames have a team ERA of 3.55, and they’re a perfect 4-0 in games decided by one run this season thanks in part due to consistent pitching. Twelve of the team’s 14 pitchers have more strikeouts than walks. Opponents are batting just .218 against Liberty this spring. The Flames force teams to earn their runs

In seven of Liberty’s games, the opponent has scored either scored just one run or failed to score at all. The Flames pitch well, and they deliver timely hits.

Liberty scored eight runs in each of its two wins over North Carolina.

O’Connor hadn’t scouted Liberty much as of Monday evening, but he expected to spend Tuesday devising a plan to defeat the Flames. With left-handed sophomore pitcher Nate Savino coming out of the bullpen Monday, the Cavaliers might look elsewhere for their midweek starter. Savino started the season as the team’s midweek option on the mound.

Billy Price, a junior left-hander, earned the start in the Wahoos’ most recent midweek contest. Regardless of who takes the mound, UVa needs its best to beat its most formidable midweek foe of the spring.

A 9-10 start to the season isn’t what Virginia dreamed up, but the Cavaliers put together a complete team showing Monday. They hope that it’s the start of a hot stretch.

As the Cavaliers seek a winning streak, they’ll put their 20-game midweek winning streak on the line Wednesday at 4 p.m.

“We just gotta keep working hard, keep doing what we’re doing, carry this momentum and this feeling of how to win a ball game,” senior infielder Devin Ortiz said. “If we keep doing that and use this momentum, we’ll be OK.”

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