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Virginia Baseball: Greenville Regional Preview | NCAA Baseball Tournament

Previewing the Cavaliers' 19th regional appearance at the NCAA Baseball Tournament

It's officially June, which means it is time for the Cavaliers to begin their latest run at a trip to Omaha for the College World Series. 

Virginia, making its 19th appearance in the NCAA Baseball Tournament and 16th of the Brian O'Connor era, has earned the No. 2 seed in the Greenville Regional hosted by No. 8 overall seed East Carolina (42-18). The Cavaliers will face the region's No. 3 seed, Coastal Carolina (36-18-1), on Friday at 6pm at Clark LeClair-Stadium, while the top-seeded Pirates will take on the No. 4 seed, Coppin State, on Friday at 1pm. Both of those games will be streamed on ESPN+. 

The regional will follow a double-elimination format until just one team remains that will advance to the Super Regional round. See the complete schedule for the Greenville Regional below: 

NCAA Baseball Tournament - Greenville Regional Schedule

Friday, June 3rd

Game 1, 1pm: Coppin State vs. East Carolina
Game 2, 6pm: Coastal Carolina vs. Virginia

Saturday, June 4th

Game 3, 1pm: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser
Game 4, 7pm: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner

Sunday, June 5th

Game 5, 1pm: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser
Game 6, 7pm: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner

Monday, June 6th (if necessary)

Game 7, 1pm: Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser

The winner of the Greenville Regional will advance to the Super Regional and will face the winner of the Austin Regional, which includes Texas, Louisiana Tech, Dallas Baptist, and Air Force. 

See the full 64-team bracket and regional matchups for the 2022 NCAA Baseball Tournament here.

Virginia began the season as one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 22 of its first 23 games. The Cavalier bats were among the best in the country and the pitching staff shut down the competition through the first two months of the season. UVA has stumbled since the beginning of April, losing four of the last six ACC series of the season, starting with a sweep at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes. The Cavaliers went 0-2 at last week's ACC Baseball Championship in Charlotte, suffering a lopsided 13-3 loss to Florida State a shutout 3-0 defeat to Notre Dame. 

Still, the Cavaliers enter the NCAA Tournament knowing fully what they are capable of, if they can only regain their stride at the right time. 

“Certainly, we were not playing great Virginia baseball last week at the ACC tournament,” UVA head coach Brian O'Connor said this week. “That said, there’s been many years that we didn’t play well in that tournament and went on and made runs to Omaha. We’ve talked a lot on our team over the last three or four days that we need to be better and get better and that we’ve earned the right to be able to play this next weekend.”

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Even with the drop-off in pitching and the occasional offensive dud, UVA still ranks highly in several key statistical categories. Virginia has a team batting average of .311, the 11th-best mark in all of college baseball. UVA scores 8.8 runs per game, ninth-most in the nation, and has a team OBP of .412, good for 15th in the NCAA. The Cavaliers' team ERA of 4.03 is No. 17 in the country. 

"[We need] to be a little bit better on the mound than we’ve been," O'Connor said. "We need to get good quality starts and play good defense. I’ve talked about that a little bit all year, and when we’ve done that we’ve been very, very successful. When we haven’t, and essentially handed the other team some free passes and easy opportunities, we haven’t been successful. So that’s where it starts."

The Cavaliers are no strangers to how a season can change once the calendar turns to June. In 2021, Virginia began ACC play 4-12 before making an unlikely run all the way to Omaha as a No. 3 seed. A similarly improbable postseason run ended with UVA's first-ever national championship back in 2015. This year, it will not take a far-fetched turnaround for Virginia to be successful in the postseason. Rather, the Cavaliers simply need to get back to way they played early in the season. 

"We’ve had spurts this year where we’ve been phenomenal, and we’ve got to get on one of those spurts," said O'Connor. "That’s what we did last year. Whoever does that this weekend and the weekend after will find themselves in Omaha. And you either have high-level performances by enough individual players or you don’t. If you don’t, you’re home. If you do, you got a shot and that’s what we need to focus on. We need a number of guys to step up and play championship baseball.”

First, the Cavaliers must face a team and a program that also has experience not only making it to Omaha, but winning the College World Series. Coastal Carolina, who won the 2016 National Championship the year after UVA won it all, finished this season 36-18-1 overall, including a 21-8-1 mark in the Sun Belt. The Chanticleers have faced a few common opponents as the Cavaliers. Coastal played Clemson two times this season, beating the Tigers on both occasions, 17-2 and 16-7. The Chanticleers were swept by North Carolina and split two games with Wake Forest. They also won two out of three in a series against Georgia Southern, the No. 16 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

The probable starting pitchers for Friday's game are lefties Reid VanScoter (9-2, 3.06 ERA, 82.1 IP, 22 BB, 80 SO) and Nate Savino (5-6, 4.02 ERA, 71.2 IP, 30 BB, 75 SO). 

Virginia is seeking its sixth trip to the College World Series, with each of those appearances coming since 2009. 

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