'Hoos Head to Wake, Hope to Catch 'Canes


Back on March 24, the Virginia baseball team won 5-3 at Miami to improve to 7-2 in the ACC, two games ahead of the Hurricanes in the ACC's Coastal Division.

The Hurricanes have lost just one of their 18 ACC games since that night -- meaning UVa may not enter next week's conference tournament as the top seed in the league, despite the fact that the Cavaliers are the top-ranked team in the country.

"It just seems like they never lose in the league," UVa sophomore infielder John La Prise said of Miami. "So hopefully we just go down there, beat them in the tournament, and we'll see."

Before the Cavaliers can turn their attention to the ACC Tournament, they have to finish the regular season with a three-game series at Wake Forest that begins Thursday night.

UVa will take the field for that game at 21-6 in conference play this season, a game behind Miami (22-5) for both the ACC's best record, and first place in the Coastal. Miami wraps up the regular season with three at home against North Carolina.

So the Wahoos will need to win at Wake Forest, and get some help from the Tar Heels, to clinch the division this weekend.

"It's definitely something we want to do, but we're going to go out this weekend not with that goal in mind," said sophomore outfielder Joe McCarthy. "We're just going to try to win the games that are in front of us."

"I mean, we'll be hoping Miami loses a game or two this weekend, but we're not going to treat it any differently."

"All that we can do is go out and try and play our best game on Thursday night," said UVa coach Brian O'Connor. "And then Friday and Saturday, and see where we're at by the end of the weekend. However it ends, I'll be very proud of what this team has accomplished in the regular season, because we've put ourselves in a great position."

UVa has won its last 10 in a row against the Demon Deacons, including a three-game sweep in Winston-Salem last season.

The Cavaliers scored a total of 24 runs in those three wins last April against Wake. This year, UVa hasn't scored more than 20 runs in a three-game ACC set -- but the Cavaliers still haven't dropped a series this spring.

UVa did score 12 runs in Tuesday's win against VCU in the team's home finale at Davenport Field. And afterward, O'Connor seemed confident that his team's bats were heating up at the right time.

"I have a good feeling about our offensive ballclub," he said. "And I've seen signs, even though there wasn't a lot of run production this weekend against Georgia Tech, I've seen signs that it is absolutely going in the right direction, just from a few different players."

"Right now would really be a great time for us to start clicking as a team. But you never know," said McCarthy. "I mean, anything can happen. We're just going to keep doing what we've been doing for the past couple of weeks. I feel like we've been really playing good baseball, and we're just going to try and keep it rolling."


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