Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas
By Lauren Brownlow  |  Last updated 6/5/14
There are just two ACC teams left in the NCAA baseball tournament -- well, sort of, anyway. Virginia, the No. 3 overall seed and one of just three national seeds remaining, has advanced to the Super Regional round for the fifth time in six seasons. This is old hat to them, and they're carrying the torch for the league since Maryland -- which is in its first Super Regional since 1971 after upsetting South Carolina last weekend -- is departing for the Big 10 next season. This could be Maryland's final weekend as a representative of the league in any sport. The ACC will technically claim them, as they should since they're guaranteed to have at least one team in the College World Series either way. But it won't feel the same if they advance instead of Virginia. There is going to be plenty of fan animus directed at Maryland, who has arguably been Virginia's principal ACC rival throughout their time together in the league. That's not at all how Virginia is approaching it from a team perspective, though -- understandably. "I think that's for you all to write about," UVa head coach Brian O'Connor said, according to Andrew Ramspacher of The Daily Progress. "Personally, and I know our players, there won't be anything put into that, quite frankly. We've never played for revenge or other ancillary things that are outside what takes place on the field." The Cavaliers didn't play Maryland in the regular season, but they did face off in the ACC Tournament, where Maryland won 7-6 (and hit four home runs). That was out of character for the Cavaliers. Virginia has played 20 one-run games this season and has gone 14-6 in those games, so the Cavaliers are plenty comfortable relying on their pitching and defense, which has rarely let them down. NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro was a lot more of a home-run friendly park than Davenport Field will be, so that certainly works in the Cavaliers' favor. But Maryland has relied on its pitching plenty, too. All three of its starters have an ERA of 2.81 or better, and senior staff ace Jake Stinnett is expected to go early in the upcoming MLB Draft. The Maryland bullpen is a bit shakier, but the starters have been as good as it gets. When Maryland's offense is clicking, the Terps can beat anyone -- as they showed last weekend, going a perfect 3-0 in Columbia. Stinnett, though, is the standout on a team of largely no-name or up-and-coming players. Virginia, in contrast, has several well-known names that will be drafted early in the coming days, and some steady contributors that may not get drafted but are a key part of the team's success. Virginia's hitting hasn't always been there this year, even on a club that was expected to be good offensively. But the Cavaliers' offense is coming together at the right time, certainly. Virginia cruised through its Regional last weekend, going 3-0 and winning its three games by a combined score of 22-3. Virginia's bats are going to have to stay hot this weekend against a Maryland team that is opportunistic. The Terps might have gone 3-0 in Columbia, but they won their opener against Old Dominion only after back-to-back walk-off hit by pitches. They then squeaked by South Carolina 4-3 on Saturday before dominating the Gamecocks in Sunday's game, 10-1. The moral of the story is that if Virginia leaves the door open for Maryland, the Terps will gladly take advantage. The Terps are resilient and if they get hot -- which they seem to be at the moment -- they're extremely dangerous. And so the key might end up being Virginia closer Nick Howard, who should hear his name called in the first round tonight. Howard has 19 saves this season and a 2.15 ERA in 27 appearances to go with 50 strikeouts -- just eight fewer than starter Josh Sborz in nearly 35 fewer innings. Baseball can be strange, and teams get hot (or cold) at different times. O'Connor certainly feels like his team is heating up, particularly offensively, at the right time. "I say it all the time, this time of the year it's about getting hot. It's about who's hot," O'Connor said to VirginiaSports.com. "It's not necessarily the powerhouse team or [the team] who's been there before. It's a matter of who plays loose and gets after it, and who gets hot. And you can go on to win the national championship if you're one of those teams that gets hot for four weeks."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Chad Johnson says Roger Goodell consulted him on touchdown celebration rule change

Kevin Durant is not to blame for the NBA’s lack of parity, and he knows it

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

U.S. national soccer teams to wear LGBT-themed jerseys to celebrate pride month

Mike Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater still has ‘long ways to go’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker