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The Commonwealth Clash Goes To Charlottesville With a New Meaning

By Kyle Marchak | April 29
The Commonwealth Clash Goes To Charlottesville With a New Meaning
Davenport Field at Disharoon Park, via Baseball America

JMU gone, The Main In-State Rivalry Next

It’s rivalry week in Blacksburg, as the Hokies baseball team is coming off a competitive 11-8 win at home Wednesday evening, defeating the JMU Dukes. After several lead changes and questionable outings from bullpen arms on both sides, the Hokies’ right-handed sophomore Christian Worley got the nod for the save opportunity, and shut down the top of the order in promising fashion; sitting the Dukes down in order in the top of the 9th.

Looking Ahead: UVA

But as I said, it’s rivalry week, as after this win from the now defunct CAA in-state competitors, they move on to - where else - but Charlottesville, for a three game series against the UVA Cavaliers. UVA, now ranked No. 11 in the nation, will have their first crack at the Hokies since losing their series in Blacksburg to - what was an 18th ranked - streaking Virginia Tech ballclub (before their imminent collapse) last year.

The in-state rivalry is obvious, but the history between these foes is a long one - in favor of the Wahoos. UVA has the advantage in the all-time series, which stretches back to their first meeting on May 2nd, 1900, a 12-0 win for UVA. Since then, Virginia’s gained a 106-88 record against the Hokies all-time, and look to extend that in the commonwealth clash starting with a 6 p.m. first pitch Friday evening.

The Breakdown

The best part about this rivalry series? It’s competitive! With UVA outsourcing Tech 62-32 in just their last ten meetings, it seems to be a pretty lopsided game every time, right? Well, with VT at No. 7 and UVA at No. 11 in the nation, this is the highest combined ranking for both squads in the history of their bouts between each other!

Both teams are red hot, too. The Hokies enter this series on a six game win streak, UVA with a five game win streak of their own. And for the first time in a while, the numbers favor the historic underdogs, the Virginia Tech Hokies. Virginia Tech is 7-6 against ranked competition this year, with three straight two-of-three series taken against ranked teams, following being swept against No. 13 Georgia Tech, their first taste of top 25 action this season.

As for UVA, their story’s been a little different, as they’ve just missed playing ACC schools with their rankings, as they’re coming off a sweep against a UNC tarheels squad that had just exited the rankings days beforehand. Otherwise, in the small sample size UVA’s gotten, they’ve wound up 2-4 against top 25 schools this season.

With UVA at 32-10 overall, 13-8 in the ACC Coastal, and Virginia Tech at 29-9 overall, 12-7 in the ACC Coastal, this series will be a battle of two fairly evenly matched third and second ranked teams in their division, respectively. With No. 1 ACC Coastal foe Miami playing against a now depleted Georgia Tech team, the spot atop the ACC Coastal is unlikely to open up, so this is a fight for better seeding going into the ACC postseason, starting in a couple weeks, in Charlotte, NC.

Individual Accolades On Display

Bragging rights and conference seeding aside, statistics have aligned with the stars too. Virginia’s team batting avg. of .323 is currently third in the nation. Can you guess who’s in fourth? You bet, the Virginia Tech Hokies are stamped right behind them, at .320 on the season.

Speaking of hitting, individual statistical honor is on the line as well. VT outfielder Jack Hurley enters the series hitting .430 on the season, now fourth in the nation in that category. Meanwhile UVA’s leader Jack Gelof is tied fifth in the nation for homeruns, going deep 16 times in just 42 games!

So not only is there a local pull for the regional rivalry going on, but talent will be talked about on a national level, as two major stars surrounded by their star-studded squads will duke it out Friday evening, and into the weekend. With Griffin Green given the nod for the Hokies, alongside UVA’s Nate Savino, both squads are likely to start with their No. 2 guys on the bump.

My main takeaway: look for some fireworks Friday, and a heated slugfest come Saturday night, at The Dish!

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