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"From a national perspective, it's a huge weekend for us," said Virginia coach Brian O'Connor of the Cavaliers' first-ever series sweep of the stories Seminoles' baseball program.
Courtesy of Virginia
Former Pulaski County standout Jared King hits a three-run double in the third inning of Virginia’s 5-2 win over Florida State on Sunday.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Virginia welcomed some 14,000 baseball fans to Davenport Field, a home-series record, for the weekend’s only top-10 matchup.
Drama was a surprising no-show.
The Cavaliers, ranked seventh by Baseball America, never trailed No. 5 Florida State, sweeping three games. They outscored an outfit averaging seven runs a game by a composite 16-4. And UVa’s starting pitchers worked at least six innings apiece, by far their best weekend this season.
“From a national perspective, it’s a huge weekend for us,” head coach Brian O’Connor said after Sunday’s 5-2 victory secured UVa’s first-ever series sweep of Florida State.
“I think our players have played all year with a lot of confidence, knowing that they’re pretty good. And certainly, when you do something like this in front of this kind of crowd. ... This was an NCAA super-regional kind of environment.”
Virginia (35-6, 16-5 ACC) played long ball to start Saturday’s double-header created by Friday night’s washout; a 9-2 victory featured three two-run home runs.
It played small ball later Saturday to win 2-0 and support a combined one-hitter by Scott Silverstein and Kyle Crockett, the first one-hitter tossed in nearly 15 years against Florida State (31-9, 13-8).
Sunday, Virginia — which has used a dozen freshmen, including No. 1 starter Brandon Waddell — played like a team that believes it can play ball with anybody.
That includes the Florida State program that swept last year’s series with the Cavaliers in Tallahassee and appeared in its 21st College World Series.
Starter Nick Howard stranded runners in scoring position in the first two innings and then pitched into the seventh. Senior first baseman Jared King laced a bases-loaded double to fuel UVa’s four-run third inning.
And Crockett recorded his weekend’s second two-inning save, allowing just one hit while striking out five. In a crowd-pleasing twist, Crockett, forced to bat by a lineup substitution, lashed a single and scored the Cavs’ insurance run in the eighth.
“To think that we never trailed in a game against a top-10 opponent is impressive,” said O’Connor, whose team is chasing No. 1 North Carolina in the ACC’s Coastal Division.
“I think that just goes back to our starting pitching this weekend. If you get the high caliber of starts that we did and you’ve got the kind of offense that we do, you’re going to be tough to beat.”
Still, the sweep represents an affirming turnabout for a squad that in the previous 10 days had lost to Radford, furiously rallied to beat Old Dominion in 10 innings, and dropped its only ACC series at Georgia Tech.
“This game’s too hard to get too high or too low,” King said. “With that being said, we’re gonna enjoy this. This is huge for us.”
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