Pretend this was 11 a.m., Friday. Pretend this was before Virginia, and its potent lineup, pulled its bats from the Davenport Field dugout and went to work on Army to begin the NCAA Tournament.
Pretend I told you, two games later, the following:
-Jared King, perhaps the man with the most postseason experience in all of college baseball, would be 0-for-7.
-Derek Fisher, with his slugging percentage of over .500, would be 0-for-7 with two big 0-fors with the bases loaded.
-Brandon Downes, the team’s leader in home runs and RBI, would be RBI-less with four left on-base.
-Reed Gragnani, the All-ACC second baseman who’s been the season-long spark for the bottom half of the lineup, would be 1-for-8.
-The Cavaliers, hitting .345 in their 10 games leading in, would be batting .264.
-The Cavaliers, the nation’s third-best team in runs scored, would have crossed home plate four times. Would be 7-for-34 with runners on base. Would be 6-for-28 with runners in scoring position.
These numbers have defined the UVa offense this postseason, but they haven’t equaled losses.
The Virginia bats, however, have been unusually silent.
Before the Friday and Saturday shutdowns, UVa’s lowest two-game run total was five (4-3 loss to Miami followed by a 2-0 win at Liberty in mid-April).
The Cavs’ season-low over a three-game stretch is 13 runs.
It’s only a matter of time before things break out, right?
“I think so,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said Saturday after the 2-0 Elon win. “I have 100 percent confidence in this group from an offensive standpoint. I just feel good that we’ve only scored four runs and you’re 2-0.
“Hitting is the hardest thing to do in sports and it can come and go. I’ve always talked about, to win at championship time, you have to pitch and you have to defend.”
The ‘Hoos have executed in those areas to near-perfection this weekend.
Tonight, against Elon or UNC Wilmington’s fourth starter, they’ll have another chance to succeed at the plate.
“Certainly, players are going to analyze how they’re personally doing,” O’Connor said. “But what I always tell the team is you have to put that aside. Our team just went 2-0, won the first two games in a Regional and has a chance to play for the championship. So no matter what’s happened to a player individually, they need to step up for this team.
“Certainly, you can look at a stat sheet or you can watch the games and see there’s a couple of guys that are struggling.
“But I know what these kids are made of and they’ll be ready to produce and I’m sure that’ll happen [tonight].”