Sean Tierney won't get to pitch against his former team on Sunday, when the James Madison baseball team faces Virginia.
But the Dukes' senior left-hander will be rooting against the Cavaliers.
"I'm excited to see it," said Tierney, who spent a season at Virginia before transferring to JMU. "I want to get out there and beat those guys, and I think we have a team that can do it this year."
Tierney has rebounded from a transfer and injury to become the ace of JMU's pitching staff. He'll be the Diamond Dukes' opening day starter on Friday, when they face Coastal Carolina at the Caravelle Resort Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The Cavaliers open up against Boston College at that same tournament on Friday. And Brian O'Connor says he still follows Tierney's career on the other side of the mountain.
"I'm happy for Sean. He's a great kid," O'Connor said. "We recruited him with all the right intentions to come here to Virginia. And I'm happy that he's found a home, and he's pitching up to his capability."
Tierney was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 35th round of the 2007 MLB draft following his senior year at Clover Hill High School, but chose to attend UVa. He appeared in two games for the Cavaliers as a freshman in 2008, throwing a total of one-and-a-third innings against Coppin State and Cornell.
Tierney decided to leave UVa for JMU following his freshman year. He sat out the 2009 season while transferring, then made just one appearance in 2010 before an arm injury ended that season.
The 6-5 lefty took over as JMU's top starter midway through last season, and finished the year with a 10-1 record and 3.43 ERA, including a five-hit shutout of Georgia State in the opening round of the CAA Tournament.
The fifth-year senior was named to the preseason All-CAA team last month, and a second team preseason All-American by the National College Baseball Writers Association earlier this off-season.
"I'm definitely happy with the choice that I've made," Tierney said, "because I feel a lot happier here, and I like the way this program plays."