Around the Horn: Nine Straight Wins (and Counting?)
Mar 22, 2005
Ryan Zimmerman has 12 extra-base hits and a .633 slugging percentage.
By adding power to already-solid pitching and defense, the 'Hoos have found a winning formula. With nine straight wins, including a weekend sweep of Maryland, UVa improved its record to 17-6 overall and 3-3 in the ACC.
On Saturday, the Cavs also showed the same knack for comebacks that they demonstrated so many times last year, rallying from four runs down to beat the Terps.
“We've proven to ourselves two things,” O'Connor said. “[Saturday] that we can come from behind and win a game. It was important for us to prove to each other that we could come from behind and win a game and prove that we can get a series sweep and that's the importance of [winning Sunday].”
The key to the winning streak has been starting pitching. In the nine games, UVa's starters yielded just seven earned runs (11 total) and 3.6 hits per game. The bullpen also did a nice job, allowing just five earned runs and 14 hits in 18 innings.
Sunday's winning pitcher, Jeff Kamrath (4-2, 3.35 ERA), believes the Wake Forest series was a wakeup call for the Virginia staff. The Demon Deacons scored 33 runs in a three-game sweep of the Cavaliers two weeks ago.
“I don't want to say the staff got complacent, but I think we got a little overconfident, and when you do that and run into a good team like Wake, they played really good ball that weekend, and you're going to find the barrel of the bat more often than you're not,” Kamrath said. “After that, we just rededicated ourselves and we're pitching very well now. I think this team understands what it takes and that you have to keep working throughout the season.”
Virginia 15, Coppin State 1
Wednesday, March 17, at Davenport Field
Leadoff man Matt Street has scored 24 runs in 23 games.
With the exception of leftfielder Joe Florio, every starting position player scored a run for the Cavaliers. Florio wasn't completely shut out as he did get a hit and an RBI. Ryan Zimmerman (.411 batting average, 33 RBI, 3 HR) led Virginia with a 4-5 day at the plate while adding two scores and three RBI. Matt Street (.330, 24 runs) went 3 for 6 with three runs and two RBI, while freshman hitting sensation Brandon Guyer (.302, .492 slugging percentage) went 2 for 3 and scored three runs. In his first start as a Cavalier, freshman Patrick Wingfield went 3-5 with three RBI.
Virginia scored a run in third, 2 in the fourth inning, 3 in the fifth, 4 in the six and 5 in the seventh.
Pat McAnaney (1-0, 2.25 ERA) started and pitched five innings, allowing just one run. Ryan Ouellette (0-1, 3.86 ERA), Michael Schwimer (0-0, 11.57 ERA), Sean Doolittle (1-0. 1.38 ERA) and Alex Smith (0-0, 2.25 ERA) combined to toss four innings of scoreless relief.
Virginia 4, Maryland 1
Friday, March 19, at Davenport Field
The Cavaliers used 2004-style Virginia baseball in this game, getting great pitching, timely hitting and solid defense to notch their first ACC win.
Starter Mike Ballard (5-1, 2.25 ERA) shut down the Terps with a complete-game five-hitter. He fanned five.
“[Ballard] was real strong, especially in that ninth inning,” O'Connor said. “Michael is a real competitor. He's got a lot of poise. He had a couple of situations where he had runners on first and second and he didn't panic and continued to pitch and make his pitches. He's a very good Friday night starter. It's such a huge advantage in this series if you can have your Friday night starter go nine innings and you don't have to dip into your bullpen on Friday night.”
Zimmerman knocked in leadoff man Tim Henry (.284, .359 OBP) with a two-out single in the first. Singles by catcher Scott Headd (.227), shortstop Mike Campagna (.324, .361 OBP) and second baseman Kyle Werman (.236) in the sixth inning made it 4-1.
The Terps threatened several time, but Virginia turned inning-ending double plays in the sixth and seventh innings.
Virginia 6, Maryland 5
Saturday, March 20, at Davenport Field
After spotting Maryland a 5-1 advantage, the dormant Virginia bats came to life in the last four innings. The Cavs scored five unanswered runs, culminating with Ryan Hudson's (.250 BA, .475 SP) walkoff homer to left field in the bottom of the ninth.
The Cavaliers started the rally with a four-run sixth, highlighted by Zimmerman's two-run homer.
Matt Avery (3-2, 4.35 ERA) started but was pulled with one out in the fifth after giving up five runs (all earned) on seven hits. Scott Morgenthaler (1-0, 3.72 ERA), Robert Poutier (1-0, 0.00 ERA) and closer Casey Lambert (1.17 ERA, 5 saves) hurled 4.2 scoreless innings and yielded just one hit.
Lambert (1-0) got the win with 2.2 innings of relief, while Poutier has now gone 19.1 innings without allowing a run.
Virginia 5, Maryland 2
Sunday, March 21, at Davenport Field
Jeff Kamrath (4-2, 3.35 ERA) continued his career domination of Maryland hitters, pitching eight scoreless innings and allowing just four hits. The Terps have never scored against Kamrath in 26 innings. In both 2002 and 2003, Kamrath pitched four-hit shutouts against Maryland.
This time Kamrath didn't quite go the distance, but he did more than enough to ensure UVa's ninth straight win.
At the plate, two freshmen did the most damage. Guyer had two singles and a double, while Wingfield had two hits, including a triple. Zimmerman went 1 for 3 with an RBI, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
Georgia Tech 9-0 (19-2 overall)
Florida State 3-0 (24-4)
Miami 7-2 (20-5)
Clemson 2-1 (8-8)
North Carolina 2-2 (15-5)
Virginia 3-3 (17-6)
Wake Forest 4-5 (10-12)
N.C. State 3-6 (15-8)
Maryland 3-6 (10-10)
Virginia Tech 1-6 (6-8) Duke 0-6 (7-14)
By the Numbers(ACC Rank in Parentheses)
Earned Run Average 2.90 (3rd)
Opponent Batting Average .228 (2nd)
Fielding Percentage .976 (2nd)
Batting Average .307 (5th)
On-Base Percentage .379 (6th)
Slugging Percentage .415 (8th)
Team Leaders(Pitching leaders require a minimum of 20 innings of work and hitters require at least 20 plate appearances)
Earned Run Average - Mike Ballard 2.25
Opponent Batting Average - Jeff Kamrath .223
Batting Average - Ryan Zimmerman .411
On Base Percentage - Ryan Zimmerman .471
Slugging Percentage - Ryan Zimmerman .633
Fielding Percentage - Matt Street, Ryan Hudson, Kyle Werman, Sean Doolittle 1.000
Virginia will be looking to extend its nine-game winning streak in four upcoming opportunities this week.
The Cavaliers step out of conference Wednesday to face the Richmond Spiders and then travel to Blacksburg for their second road ACC series of the year against Virginia Tech. The 'Hoos were swept at Wake Forest on March 4-6, so this is a pivotal series for the team's confidence.
“Our road record is 2-5 and we need to prove to ourselves that we can go on the road and have success,” O'Connor said. “We have not had success on the road beside that first weekend at Wilmington and we need to prove to ourselves that we can do that.”
Richmond Spiders (9-9, 3-0 Atlantic 10)
Wednesday, March 23, 7:00 PM
The Spiders are coming off a three-game sweep of their own over Atlantic 10 foe Xavier. Richmond swept a doubleheader on Saturday, 4-3 and 11-10, and won its fourth game in a row in the Sunday finale, 4-2.
Overall, Richmond averages 5.2 runs and is batting .263 as a team. The Spiders are allowing 7.9 runs per game and have a staff ERA of 6.06, but opponents are hitting just .279.
Junior Andrew Justice lead the team in hitting at .354, while Drew Poiter has a team-high 13 RBI. Freshman Brian Alas (3-2, 6.29 ERA) is Richmond's scheduled starter for Wednesday's game.
Virginia Tech Hokies (6-8, 1-6 ACC)
Friday, March 25, 7:00 PM
Saturday, March 26, 7:00 PM
Sunday, March 27, 2:00 PM
English Field, Blacksburg, Va.
Dimensions: Foul Lines (330 feet), Power Alleys (375), Center Field (400), Natural grass surface, 1,033 seating capacity
The Hokies are coming into this week on the heels of a five-game losing streak, including a three-game sweep at the hands of No. 17 Florida State over the weekend.
Virginia Tech has a staff ERA of 5.85. Game one starter Ryan Kennedy carries a 4.20 ERA in 30 innings and is 2-2 in five starts. Nicky Bowers, the game two pitcher, has an ERA of 5.68 in four starts. He has fanned 26 in 25.1 innings but is still winless at 0-3. Sunday's starter is a question mark as the Hokies continue to experiment with different hurlers early in the ACC season.
On the season, the Hokies are hitting .272 but have a .320 batting average with runners in scoring position. Mike Ballard, the likely Friday starter, will pitch to a Tech lineup batting .306 against lefties, while Jeff Kamrath and Matt Avery will face a less formidable task as the Hokies hit only .257 vs. righties. The Hokies average 5.1 runs per game.
Bryan Thomas leads Tech in hitting (.400) and on-base percentage (.559). The big power guy for the Hokies is Jose Cueto, who has home runs, 11 RBI and a .559 slugging percentage. Cueto is second on the team with a .339 batting average.
(For complete coverage of the Cavaliers, please sign up for Sabre Edge. Edge subscribers can listen to audio of Coach O'Connor, pitcher Jeff Kamrath and outfielder Brandon Guyer.)
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