WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | Sports

O'Connor Not Concerned by Cavs' Offensive Struggles


After spending the first month of the baseball season ranked No. 1 in the country, Virginia has fallen from that top spot this week.

Unbeaten South Carolina -- which improved to 15-0 with a seep of Brown at home this weekend -- jumped two spots to No. 1 in this week's Baseball America Top 25. UVa fell two spots to No. 3, behind the Gamecocks and Florida State.

The Cavaliers opened ACC play by taking two of three from Duke in Durham this weekend, which improved UVa's overall record to 11-3 this season.

And Brian O'Connor said before practice on Monday that his only concern was coming home to Charlottesville with a pair of conference wins.

"I tell you, anytime you go on the road in this league, and you win the series, you have to feel like it's a successful weekend," said O'Connor, whose team was voted the preseason favorite to win the ACC this spring.

"Even though we didn't feel like we played our best baseball, I thought we pitched, got two great quality starts out of Kirby and Waddell. We pitched great out of the bullpen. We played tremendous defense all weekend," O'Connor said. "If you do that, you have a chance to win all three. And we're fortunate that we won two of them."

The only thing O'Connor's team didn't do well in Durham was swing the bats. The Cavaliers hit .202 as a team (18-for-89) for the weekend, and put up a total of seven runs in the three-game series.

Baseball America pointed out that the Cavaliers' "vaunted offense has yet to find its stride" when explaining UVa's drop in the national rankings. But O'Connor said Monday that he wasn't concerned about his team's struggles.

"It comes and goes," he said. "To think that we're going to have it at the highest level possible all year, it's not going to work that way. So the fact that we're still winning ballgames, without having our best offensive output, you've got to feel good about that. Because I know those days are coming. And when they do, then we'll be able to stretch out victories a little bit more."

"They're veteran players, and they'll get it figured out."

UVa now plays its next six games at Davenport Field, starting with Tuesday's 4 p.m. start against James Madison. Freshman right-hander Connor Jones (0-0, 1.35 ERA in six appearances this season) will make his first college start against the Dukes.

And O'Connor hopes warmer weather and a six-game homestand can combine to heat up the Cavaliers' bats, as well.

"I don't know that where we play has a whole lot to do with what your offensive output is. But obviously, you're comfortable in your own ballpark," he said. "And we've had a lot of success over the years in this ballpark. Our winning percentage is as good as it gets at home. So we're looking forward to having these next six ballgames here, and hopefully starting to play some of our best baseball."


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