Dominant at Davenport: 'Hoos Host UNC This Weekend

Virginia sophomore Joe McCarthy was still in high school in Pennsylvania the last time the Cavaliers lost an ACC series at Davenport Field.

But that was breaking news to McCarthy on Thursday.

"It's really one of those things that's not ever talked about. I didn't even know that," the outfielder admitted. "You always want to protect your home turf. Especially when the fans come out and they give us so much support, you don't want to let them down. So we take a lot of pride in what we do here, and the way we play here."

UVa's last ACC series loss at home came two years ago this week, a three-game sweep at the hands of North Carolina. The Tar Heels return this weekend for the first time since that series, with a three-game set to begin Friday night at Davenport.

Since that sweep, UVa has gone 23-4 in ACC games at home, winning all nine of those series in that stretch. That includes an 8-1 record against conference opponents this spring.

"You have five ACC weekends in a year at home. And you need to capitalize when you are at home, and take advantage of those weekends," UVa coach Brian O'Connor said Thursday. "And certainly our players are comfortable and confident playing in this ballpark."

"We take a lot of pride in coming out and playing every game as hard as we can," said junior outfielder Mike Papi. "It's just really nice to come into this environment, and practice here every day, and be ready to come out here and play on a field that we're comfortable with, and we know which we everything's going to work."

This weekend marks UVa's first ACC series since reclaiming the top spot in the Baseball America National Top 25 on Monday. The Wahoos enter Friday's game at 14-4 in the conference, tied with Miami atop the Coastal Division standings.

UNC edged the Cavaliers to win the Coastal Division title last year, despite losing two of three to UVa in Chapel Hill on the final weekend of the regular season. But the Tar Heels come to Charlottesville this weekend unranked by Baseball America, and tied for fourth in the division at 9-9 in ACC play.

"They might not be having the year they were looking to have. But we never look too much into rankings, McCarthy said. "I mean, they're a good team. They're going to come down here and play good baseball. And we have to be on top of our game if we're looking to beat them."

"I mean, every team comes in here trying to beat us, every single game. Just like every team mid-week does, as well," said Papi. "They get the opportunity to play one of the best teams in the country, and we take pride in that. We go out there and try to be the best we can, and win our games. And they'll play their game."

"Any time we play North Carolina, it's a lot of fun," said O'Connor. "You want to play good people. They've got a great program, so do we. And they always turn out to be well-played, exciting ballgames."


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