Posted: 8:48 p.m. Sunday, April 21, 2013
By Will Campbell
If any of you five out there didn't have faith coming into this weekend that the Cavaliers were one of the top teams in the country (I'll admit, still had some doubts), you shouldn't anymore. Hell, to be perfectly honest, with the way the boys played last weekend and this past week against Radford, I wasn't going to be surprised if FSU won two of three. Boy was I wrong, and I was glad to be.
Since Friday was rained out, the initial game had to be moved back to Saturday afternoon, but that didn't seem to phase Brandon Waddell. The first year pitcher continued his great rookie campaign by holding FSU to only four runs and one run in six innings. Whit Mayberry and David Rosenberger came after Waddell and held the FSU offense at bay over the final three innings and secured the victory. The Cavalier offense showed up early and often as well scoring in every inning but the first and seventh. They also handed FSU ace Luke Weaver his first L of the season and likely his worst outing of the season, roughing him up for 7 earned runs on six hits in 4.2 innings. All but one of the Cavaliers had a hit, but Derek Fisher and Nick Howard were the only Hoos with a multi hit game; each had two. The story of the game was the long ball UVa used to win. Brandon Downes, Howard, and Fisher all had two run home runs and provided more than enough offense for the Hoos to win 9-2.
The nightcap of the doubleheader featured less offense, but the Hoos were able to come out on top thanks to their stellar pitching. Scott Silverstein turned in the best start of his career by holding FSU to a single hit over seven innings, and earned his seventh win of the season. Kyle Crockett came on in relief and nailed down the final two innings by not allowing a single base runner and earned his eighth save of the season. There wasn't a whole lot of offense from Hoos in the second game either, but there was enough thanks to Branden Cogswell. Cogswell's two strike and two out double in the fifth scored Reed Gragnani and Nate Irving to give UVa the only runs they would need to win 2-0.
More of the same great pitching and offense came from the Hoos on Sunday. Nick Howard started and allowed only a sole run on five hits in 6.2 innings. Howard didn't get off to a great start allowing FSU to load the bases in the first and multiple runners in the second before coming out unscathed both times. Nathan Kirby, Austin Young, and (shocker) Kyle Crockett combined to allow only two hits and one run over the final 2.1 innings; Crockett picking up the save, his ninth. The offensive story of the final game was certainly 5th year Jared King whose three hits produced two rbi and allowed him to score a run. His bases loaded double in the third would score all three runs (thanks to an error from the RF) and he would later score off of a Nick Howard sac fly. That would be all the Hoos would need to beat FSU 5-2 and complete the sweep.
This marks the first time the Hoos have swept the Noles in a three game series, and Coach O'Connor has now swept every single ACC opponent (ND, Pitt, and Louisville not included. #goACC). UVa did "sweep" FSU in Charlottesville at home in 2009, but there was only one game in the series after rain cancelled the Saturday and Sunday games. Saturday's victory was apparently the first time since 1998 that FSU had been held to one hit in a game. This was also the first time this season FSU had lost two games in a row. I'd like to tell you the last time FSU was swept, but I can't access their media guide to find that information (sorry!).
The sweep moved the Hoos record to 35-6 overall and 15-5 in the ACC. Unfortunately, UNC won't lose either, so the Hoos remain 2.5 games back (they swept Duke this weekend) in the division and conference. The sweep also allowed UVa to jump Vanderbilt into the three spot in the RPI rankings. I don't expect them to jump to that high in the media polls, but probably close. I'm predicting the Hoos to be ranked 4 or 5 this week.
Boys have Monday off before taking on a pair of in-state rivals in Richmond and James Madison on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Hopefully they can keep the momentum going into this weekend when they travel to Blacksburg to beat-down VPISU