The Virginia baseball team used the late innings to sweep Wake Forest on April 6-8. It then used that same time to nearly fully erase a 9-1 deficit against Radford on April 10.
The Cavaliers didn’t have such options on Sunday at Georgia Tech. As a result, they’ve finally dropped an Atlantic Coast Conference series in 2013.
And with that, the once red-hot Wahoos are in unfamiliar territory entering Wednesday’s 6 p.m. game with Old Dominion.
“I think it’s important not only to learn how to win, but how to handle losing,” said UVa coach Brian O’Connor. “Certainly, we have that opportunity in front of us with having four ballgames this week dealing with a little bit of adversity from losing.
“The youth that we have on this team, hopefully it’s something that they can learn from and we can bounce back.”
Virginia, ranked from seventh to ninth in the national polls, is 31-6 and 13-5 in the ACC after the No. 14 Yellow Jackets took two out of three at Russ Chandler Stadium over the weekend.
The Cavs fell in a 2-1 pitcher’s duel on Friday, rode the steady arm of Scott Silverstein in a 7-2 Saturday win and then lost 3-2 on Sunday in a rain-shortened six-inning game.
The series finale came with some sting considering UVa has made a habit of late-game domination this season.
In innings seven-through-nine, the ‘Hoos have outscored opponents 109-30. In the Wake series and the following Radford game, they took that particular battle 18-4.
But Atlanta weather didn’t allow for their traditional rally.
“Any time you don’t get to play all nine innings, you always are going to wonder what if? ” said senior first baseman Jared King. “But, that being said, they had the same opportunities that we did those first six innings.
“Obviously, we would have loved to play them all, but that’s the way it is.”
Virginia has now lost three of its last four games and has No. 5 Florida State coming to Davenport Field this weekend.
The opportunity for rebound is great, but it’s not easy.
“The last week, it was a little bit of a challenging week for us,” O’Connor said. “Obviously, playing the Monday night game at Wake and then coming back and getting beat by Radford, not getting off to a good start in that ballgame, and then dropping two out of three [at Georgia Tech].
“This is the first point in this season, and we have played a lot of baseball already, that we’re really dealing with some true adversity from a win-loss standpoint.
“I’m excited for our club to get back out here Wednesday night against Old Dominion and get back to work and hopefully get back to our winning ways. And then we obviously have a challenging weekend with Florida State coming here.”
Encore for Lewicki?
Artie Lewicki, just eight months removed from Tommy John surgery, made a surprise start last Wednesday against Radford.
On a strict pitch count, the junior right-hander gave up three runs (two earned) on two hits in one inning against the Highlanders. He took the loss in the 9-8 result.
Afterward, O’Connor hinted that he would likely keep Lewicki in that midweek starter’s role to ease him back into the rotation.
Monday, the UVa skipper was still undecided if he’d go with Lewicki against Old Dominion.
“If he’s feeling good and feeling up to it, he’ll pitch again on Wednesday against Old Dominion,” O’Connor said. “I don’t know whether he’ll start or not. When you’re recovering from surgery, the rehab that he’s having, really the 24 hours, the 48 hours leading up to the next time he pitches will really tell us a lot.
“We’ll know a lot more by the end of practice tomorrow whether he’ll be available Wednesday night.”
Freshman Trey Oest, the six-time midweek starter, would likely get the nod in Lewicki’s absence.
Waddell bounces back ... in a loss
After giving up a combined 10 runs in his previous two starts, Brandon Waddell rebounded with a stellar performance against the Yellow Jackets on Friday.
It just so happened the freshman lefty was going against Georgia Tech ace Buck Farmer.
Waddell (2-1) went 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and striking out three. Farmer (7-1), an All-American, tossed a complete game, yielding one run and striking out 10.
“I thought Waddell did a really nice job on Friday night,” O’Connor said. “Obviously, he was matched up against one of the best pitchers in this league in Buck Farmer, and he matched him pretty well.
“That was good to see.”
Streak ends for McCarthy
The rain-shortened Sunday game took away any final chance for UVa freshman Joe McCarthy to extend his on-base streak beyond 36 games.
The right fielder went 0 for 3. He came up eight games short of passing Dan Grovatt (reached base safety in 43 consecutive games in 2009) for the program record.