Virginia and Pittsburgh have only met once in baseball since 1966 -- and that was back in 1981. But UVa coach Brian O'Connor knows enough about the Panthers to know his team will be tested this weekend.
"Quite frankly, I'm not surprised one bit of what Pittsburgh is doing," O'Connor said this week. "I know their coach very, very well. They're well coached. They've got a lot of tough kids."
The Cavaliers visit Pittsburgh this weekend for the first-ever ACC series between the two programs. The three-game set begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, with UVa sophomore lefty Nathan Kirby (5-1, 1.24 ERA) facing off with Pitt senior right-hander Rhys Aldenhoven (2-1, 3.79 ERA).
The Cavaliers have outscored their opponents 56-15 over the course of their current eight-game winning streak, including a 10-0 win against George Washington at Davenport Field on Wednesday. UVa enters the weekend with a two-game lead in the ACC's Coastal Division, with a 10-2 record in the league.
Pitt sits three games behind the Cavaliers in the division, with a 7-5 record through the Panthers' first 12 ACC games. Pitt is a perfect 6-0 at home against conference opponents, with three-game sweeps of Duke and Georgia Tech the past two weekends.
Going back to last season, when Pitt was a member of the Big East, the Panthers have won their last 21 home games against conference opponents.
"They're for real," said O'Connor. "And certainly we've got to go up there and play the kind of baseball that we have been to win a series."