O'Connor Expecting More Consistency from Cavaliers

Brian O'Connor's Virginia baseball team enters April at 19 games above .500 for the season. The Cavaliers have a two-game lead in the ACC's Coastal Division, and are still ranked No. 3 in the country by Baseball America.

But O'Connor concedes that his team still isn't quite firing on all cylinders this season.

"The reality is, we're 23-4. There are not many teams in the country that can say they have a record like that; probably hardly any," the Cavaliers' head coach said Monday. "But still, we're feeling like we haven't played our best baseball yet. "

O'Connor hopes this week can allow his team to get into more of a rhythm. With temperatures expected to be in the 70's in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers are scheduled to host a pair of make-up games -- against Old Dominion on Tuesday, and George Washington on Wednesday.

Through the end of March, the Cavaliers have had seven games -- including six at home -- either rescheduled or cancelled because of weather issues. George Washington and Old Dominion were both set to visit Charlottesville the first week of March, but both were snowed out -- meaning the Cavaliers had to go almost a week without playing, before their ACC-opening series at Duke.

"Hopefully, getting to play on a consistent basis," O'Connor said. "Having an opportunity to play two midweek games this week, and get our games in on time, and not deal with having to shovel the field of snow, and things like that, hopefully can produce more consistent results."

UVa will take a six-game winning streak into Tuesday's 5 p.m. first pitch against the Monarchs. On Monday, sophomore Joe McCarthy was named ACC co-player of the week, largely for his performance in a three-game sweep of Virginia Tech at Davenport Field.

McCarthy hit .455 (5-for-11) in the series, with seven RBI and 11 total bases, including a homer and double on Saturday, and a triple on Sunday. McCarthy also scored the game-winning runs in two of the Cavaliers' three wins.

McCarthy, one of just three players to start all 27 games for the Cavaliers this season, raised his average from .265 to .287 last weekend.

"He's obviously a key component in that lineup," O'Connor said. "Hitting in the five-hole for us, it's important that he drives in runs. He gets a lot of opportunities to do that, and certainly he capitalized on a lot of those chances this weekend. And he's going to have a lot to do with our success moving forward."

O'Connor's team travels to Pittsburgh this coming weekend, for their first ever ACC series with the Panthers. Pitt is 7-5 in the conference, including three-game sweeps of both Duke and this past weekend, Georgia Tech, in Pittsburgh.

With that trip looming, O'Connor expects these two mid-week home games to be a test of his team's depth.

"A lot of those relievers that pitched on the weekend for us, because of how many pitches they threw over the weekend, they won't be available during the week," he said. "So, getting a chance to get a lot of different pitchers out there and see what they're capable of doing. And certainly, sprinkling in some other position players to keep them fresh and keep them going."


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