Like a true Virginia student-athlete, Brandon Waddell had to miss out on attending his first Duke basketball game.
Naturally, the true freshman had schoolwork to take care of Thursday evening while what seemed like the rest of the University was rocking and court-storming John Paul Jones Arena as the Cavaliers took down the No. 3 Blue Devils.
“I was with another teammate,” Waddell said. “We had a project we were getting done. I caught the end of it on TV, obviously, which was absolutely outstanding.
“It was a great time — from my dorm room.”
Call it extra rest. Not that he needs it right now.
Waddell, a crafty left-hander, cruised to his third consecutive stellar Friday outing in the No. 19 UVa baseball team’s 3-0 win over Harvard before 2,437 at Davenport Field.
So it didn’t match the 15-strikeout spectacular he delivered to Toledo last week, but the rookie handcuffed the Crimson (1-1) just the same.
Waddell registered seven K’s, scattered three hits and walked two batters in six innings, running his ERA to a miniscule 0.54.
“I felt good from the start,” Waddell said. “In the first inning, I got it done pretty early. Second inning, I had some struggles that inning, but I just stuck to what I knew.
“I wouldn’t say I had my best stuff, but that’s really no excuse. You just got to get the job done and keep your team in the game.”
That’s been the go-to phrase for Virginia starters this season. Waddell’s dominance ran their scoreless streak to 40 1/3 innings.
Not a bad way to get out of the gates for a Brian O’Connor staff that was thought to be a question mark entering this season after key departures (Branden Kline, Shane Halley) and injury (Artie Lewicki).
“I’m excited with what we’re doing,” said O’Connor, the Wahoos’ skipper. “We’ve been very, very consistent on the mound so far this year. That’s how baseball games are won — consistent pitching and picking up the ball like we did today.
“We had another errorless game and that’s important. To be a consistent, winning college baseball program, you have to have good starting pitching that can keep you in the ballgame and you got to handle the ball from a defensive standpoint. We’re certainly doing that so far this year.”
To the tune of 9-0 with four shutouts.
Friday, the offense came by the combination of heady small ball (two sacrifice flies) and occasional power (a Nick Howard RBI triple in the fourth inning).
At this rate, a single run could foreshadow another UVa victory.
“It’s definitely building all our confidence,” said shortstop and leadoff man Branden Cogswell, who has now scored in every game this season. “We have Waddell, who started today, he did a phenomenal job. Maybe he didn’t have his best stuff, but he always finds a way to get his runners out.
“Defensively, you know your guys are going to be in the zone. You’re going to be in the moment, you’re going to stay in the moment and you’re going to be ready to make the plays for them.”
Waddell was replaced after 94 pitches by Austin Young, who went two innings before Josh Sborz earned his second save of the season.
Today, Virginia will throw senior lefty Scott Silverstein (1-0) in game one against Bucknell (0-7) and freshman fire-baller Nathan Kirby will make his first start in game two against Harvard. Contests are scheduled to begin at noon and 3 p.m., respectively.
After a week of two shutout performances, a school project and catching glimpses of a huge basketball win, Waddell can relax in the dugout.
“It’s going good,” the Texas native said with a grin. “I love it here. I’m just trying to enjoy it as long as I can.”