The Virginia baseball team is nine days away from its annual break for finals -- but the Cavaliers have plenty of baseball to play in those nine days.
UVa is scheduled to play six games in an eight-day span before finals, beginning with Tuesday's trip to Richmond to face VCU at The Diamond. That's followed by a home game against Richmond on Wednesday, then a weekend in Tallahassee for a three-game ACC series against No. 4 Florida State.
"We've got a tremendous challenge in front of us," said UVa coach Brian O'Connor, whose Cavaliers are again the No. 1 team in the country in the latest Baseball America national Top 25.
"Playing down at VCU, down at the Diamond tomorrow night. They're having a great season, so that should be a great matchup. Then back here at home on Wednesday, then Thursday travel to Florida State," O'Connor said on Monday. "And then go to Old Dominion the following Tuesday. So we've got five of our next six ballgames on the road. And it's a great opportunity for our team to keep this positive momentum going."
The Cavaliers are 33-7 through their first 40 games this season. Over the past six years, only last year's team (34-6) and the 2009 team (37-3) had better records at the 40-game mark.
UVa improved to 16-5 in the ACC by taking two of three from North Carolina at Davenport Field over the weekend. But the Cavaliers scored a total of just eight runs in those three games, marking the third time this season that they scored eight or fewer runs in an ACC series. UVa scored just seven runs at Duke back in early March, and scored a total of eight earlier this month at Pittsburgh -- but took two of three in both of those series as well.
"The No. 1 thing is, it's important that we're winning. And you never want to complain about winning," O'Connor said. "But we're trying to get better in the process while we're winning. And if we're not trying to do that, then I think we're making a mistake."
Last season, UVa led the ACC with a .314 team batting average, and finished third in the country in scoring, putting up 7.9 runs-per-game. This season, UVa's .273 batting average and 5.5 runs-per-game average were both good for fifth in the conference.
That drop-off in offensive production comes despite having a veteran lineup, filled with players who were also regulars on last year's 50-win team.
"That being said, that can turn around in a hurry," O'Connor said. "And sometimes it just takes a couple of games, or one weekend, to get things going, and you're off to the races."