College : : Story
Thursday, June 09, 2011

Charlottesville SR: Who has the edge?

Kendall Rogers        

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After the many miles traveled by some teams last week, the Road to Omaha either continues or comes to an abrupt halt for 16 teams this weekend.

With the NCAA Super Regionals around the corner, we take an in-depth look at how each team stacks up against the other.

In our last NCAA Super Regional preview, we took an inside look at the Tallahassee Super Regional. Now it's time to take an in-depth look at the Charlottesville Super Regional, which features UC Irvine (42-16) and top national seed Virginia (52-9).

For UC Irvine, it must get off to a hot start against the Cavaliers. More record crowds are expected and the Anteaters will be in better shape the sooner they get the crowd out of the equation. Offensively, the 'Eaters could be a bit better, while the rotation needs to continue the consistency they've had the past few weeks.

For Virginia, this weekend is all about playing the same brand of baseball it has played for much of the season. The Cavaliers have a fantastic rotation, a good offensive lineup, a solid defensive club, and are at home against the Anteaters. The Cavaliers should be planning a trip to Omaha next week if things are status quo.

WHO HAS THE EDGE? Austin | Chapel Hill | Columbia | Gainesville | Nashville | Santa Clara | Tallahassee

Charlottesville Super Regional: Who has the edge?
Starting pitching

Fans of pitching and defense will absolutely love this series. The Anteaters and Cavaliers both enter the weekend with excellent starting rotations, with the Cavaliers have a very slight edge. The Cavaliers are led on the mound by high draft pick and ace left-hander Danny Hultzen, who has a 1.57 ERA in 103 1/3 innings. He has struck out 148 and walked 17 and teams are hitting him at a .189 clip. Will Roberts has stepped up as a starter and has a 1.61 ERA in 95 innings. Teams are hitting him at a .204 clip and he has struck out 90 and walked 12. Tyler Wilson, meanwhile, has a 2.34 ERA in 88 1/3 innings and teams are hitting him at a .197 clip. He has struck out 55 and walked 20 this season ... UC Irvine also has a solid rotation and ace Matt Summers leads the way. Summers has started 16 games and has a 1.72 ERA in 109 2/3 innings. He has struck out 96 and walked 31, while teams are hitting him at a .180 clip. Matt Whitehouse has started 11 games and has a 2.14 ERA in 67 1/3 innings. He has struck out 59 and walked 13 and teams are hitting him at a .204 clip. Andrew Thurman, meanwhile, has started just eight games, but has a solid 3.91 ERA in 71 1/3 innings with teams hitting .288 against him. He has struck out 60 and walked 21.

Both the Cavaliers and Anteaters are expected to pitch at an extremely high level this weekend, especially out of the bullpen. The Cavaliers have one of the best closers in college baseball in Branden Kline. He has appeared in 28 games and recorded 17 saves and has a 1.78 ERA in 35 1/3 innings. Kyle Crockett has appeared in 25 games and has a 1.73 ERA in 26 innings, while Justin Thompson has a 2.97 ERA in 36 1/3 innings and Whit Mayberry has a 3.03 ERA in 32 2/3 innings. Also keep an eye on converted starter to reliever Cody Winiarski, who has a 3.20 ERA in 70 1/3 innings and Scott Silverstein, who has just a 3.86 ERA in 14 innings and 13 appearances ... The Anteaters have an excellent bullpen and are just a step behind the Cavaliers. Two-way stud Brian Hernandez leads the way with 12 saves in 27 appearances, while Phillip Ferragamo has appeared in 18 games and has a fantastic 2.05 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. Also keep an eye on Andy Lines, who has a 2.60 ERA in 27 2/3 innings, Jimmy Litchfield, who has a 2.97 ERA in 39 1/3 innings and Nick Hoover, who has a 3.48 ERA in 21 appearances and 33 2/3 innings pitched and Kyle Hooper, who has a 4.15 ERA in 43 1/3 innings.

The Cavaliers might be more known for their pitching with ace Danny Hultzen and others leading the way, but they're extremely productive at the plate and lead the way entering the weekend. The Cavaliers are hitting .307 as a team with outfielder David Coleman leading the way hitting .369 with 11 doubles, two home runs and 39 RBIs. He's also slugging .475 and has a .432 on-base percentage. Third baseman Steven Proscia is hitting .341 with 19 doubles, eight home runs and 58 RBIs, catcher John Hicks is hitting .339 with 21 doubles, seven home runs and 54 RBIs, Kenny Swab is hitting .306 with 16 doubles and 26 RBIs and Chris Taylor is hitting .301 with 16 doubles. Also keep an eye on two-way star Danny Hultzen and Jared King, who are hitting .336 and .324, respectively ... The Anteaters enter the weekend with a .299 average and Brian Hernandez is leading the way, hitting .351 with 12 doubles and 31 RBIs. Drew Hillman is hitting .336 with 13 doubles, five home runs and 50 RBIs and Jordan Fox is hitting .335 with 25 RBIs. Also keep an eye on D.J. Crumlich and Sean Madigan, who are hitting .293 and .288, respectively, and have the ability to be ultra productive.

If you're looking to get some free passes from either of these teams this weekend, you're likely going to be very much out of lack. Both the Anteaters and Cavaliers are excellent in the field. The Anteaters enter the weekend with a .980 fielding percentage while Virginia enters the weekend with an equally exceptional .979 fielding percentage. The difference between these two teams is minimal, but Irvine gets a slight edge for having a bit more consistency in the infield. Virginia has the edge behind the plate with extremely talented catcher John Hicks leading the way, while both teams have solid first basemen in UC Irvine's Jordan Fox and Jared King, respectively. Second basemen Tommy Reyes and Keith Werman are solid, while UC Irvine's D.J. Crumlich has been a bit more consistent in the field than Virginia's Chris Taylor. At third base, both Irvine's Brian Hernandez and Virginia's Steven Proscia have been rock solid. Also making this series interesting from a defensive standpoint is the fact both teams possess ultra athletic and talented outfielders.

The feeling won't be forgotten, at least not until the Virginia Cavaliers make it back to the College World Series. The Cavaliers entered the Charlottesville Super Regional last season with a full head of steam, but ran into an Oklahoma team playing an amazing brand of baseball. Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said he has never in his coaching career felt that bad after a series. Well, with a load of talent and experience, the Cavaliers get another opportunity to get back to Omaha. Motivation is at an all-time high for the Cavaliers and they're at home, where they're an amazing 33-4 this season. Look for Virginia to take care of business.

Kendall Rogers is the college baseball editor for Perfect Game USA and has covered the sport for over 10 seasons. He can be reached at

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