Diamond Scouting Report: Richmond
Apr 17, 2012
Keith Werman and the Hoos hope to get back on track with a win. (photo by Ian Rogol)
After being swept by UNC for the second year in a row, this time at Davenport Field, the Cavalier baseball team will look to get its offense jump-started against Richmond. The Spiders come to town to conclude the current homestand on Tuesday with the game beginning at 6 p.m.
Here is a brief scouting report on the Richmond Spiders.
Richmond Scouting Report
2012 Results to date: 18-15, 5-4 in Atlantic 10 competition. Most recently, won a home weekend series against George Washington, two games to one, this past weekend.
2011 Results: 29-27-2, 13-11 in Atlantic 10 competition. The Spiders finished 5th in the A10 conference, but won three games in the A10 Tournament while losing one to get to the championship game. They lost that title game to Charlotte 9-3 to conclude their season.
2011 Series with Virginia: Last April, Virginia defeated Richmond 12-1 behind Scott Silverstein's first career start. The Spiders' Mike Small led off the game with a single, but was forced out at 2B by the next batter Matt Zink. While sliding into 2B, Small broke his ankle and one of his leg bones in a gruesome injury that took some time to get him off the field and to the hospital. Happily, Small has recovered and will be back in a starting role at SS for the Spiders on Tuesday night.
Outlook: Coach Mark McQueen began his 5th year at the helm of Richmond baseball in 2012. He has seven position players plus three starting pitchers and two top relievers returning. He lost the team's leading hitter from last year in RF Mike Merganthaler (.307) and 2B Derek Boliek (.241) from the position starters as well as Andrew Cafagna (7-3, 3.57 ERA) from the weekend starting rotation. He has brought in eight newcomers including five pitchers to fill the voids left by departing players. Richmond was picked to finish 5th in the A10 conference in preseason voting and is currently tied for 7th place in the conference in 2012.
Pitching: Two solid weekend starters return for the Spiders in RHP Jacob Mayers (5-2, 4.48 ERA, 62 IP) and LHP Brett Williams, who was 7-3 with an ERA of 3.67 in 95 IP last year. Unfortunately for Richmond, Williams has been injured this year and has only pitched 10 innings in 5 games this year. Two freshmen pitchers have taken up weekend starting roles for Richmond in LHP Zak Sterling (4-1, 3.48 ERA, 41 IP) and RHP Ryan Cook (3-1, 4.32 ERA, 41 IP). The midweek starter against Virginia is likely to be sophomore RHP Andrew Blum (4-1, 4.34 ERA, 37 IP). The Spider staff ERA is 5.37. UR has walked 134 batters, struck out 241 batters, hit 45 batters and had 34 WPs. So, the Hoos need to stay loose at the plate.
Batting/Fielding: Redshirt junior CF Matt Zink leads Richmond in batting at .351. Sophomore SS Mike Small is batting .346 and leads the Spiders in hits with 45. Redshirt junior 3B Adam McConnell is batting .252 and leads the team in stolen bases with success on 7 of 9 attempts. Richmond has been successful in only 44 of 60 steal attempts as a team. When Mayers is not starting on the mound on Friday nights, he has been playing 1B and is hitting .336 and is tied for second on the team with 8 HRs. Senior C Brian Conway is batting .314 and has 7 HRs. In the outfield, freshman LF Eric Flanagan is hitting .231. Senior RF Phil Rubarsky is batting .342 and is tied with Mayers for second on the team in HRs with 8. The DH is senior Chris Cowell, who is hitting .276 and leads the team in HRs with 13.
As a team, the Spiders have hit 44 HRs (Virginia has 15 HRs as a team) in a slightly smaller ballpark than Davenport Field. Richmond's Pitt Field is 328' down the lines, 390' in CF and 360' in the power alleys. The Spiders are hitting .291, and have made 49 errors for a fielding percentage of .962. By comparison, the Cavaliers are batting .308, and have committed 37 errors for a fielding percentage of .974.
Prediction: Virginia wants to get back to its winning ways and needs to get a number of hitters back into a confident offensive mindset. Plus, the team wants to rest the weekend relievers to get them ready for Duke in Durham this weekend. So, I look for RHP Joel Effertz to get the start against Richmond and hope that he can last longer than his most recent outing (2 IP against George Washington). Ryan Ashooh could get some relief time on Tuesday as well as Barrett O'Neill or Austin Young. They all want to keep Richmond's power hitters at bay and let the Hoo offensive machine get oiled and rolling again.
An early lead by the Cavaliers would be a welcome sight and allow the pitching staff some breathing room. A blowout game for Virginia like last year would be especially beneficial for restoring confidence to both the offense and pitching. A new winning streak begins with this first game and Richmond may be the victim for an angry and frustrated Virginia team.
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