Toledo Travels to Nationally Ranked Virginia This Weekend for Three-Game Series
TOLEDO, OH - Toledo (1-1) returns to the diamond this weekend against No. 25 Virginia (4-0) in a three-game series at Davenport Field. The opening pitch on Friday, Feb. 22 is slated for 3:00 p.m., while the contests on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 23-24, will begin at 1:00 p.m.
The Rockets opened their 2013 campaign last weekend, splitting two contests at the Ron Fraser Classic in Cary, NC. UT claimed a 3-1 victory against Delaware and dropped an 8-7 decision to La Salle. Their final two games at the USA National Training Complex were cancelled due to inclement weather.
Sophomore 3B Anthony Smith led the Rockets' offensive attack with a .500 (4-for-8) average, including three hits in the season opener against the Explorers. Junior C James Miglin and senior CF Ben Hammer also enjoyed a good season-opening weekend swinging the bats, hitting .375 (3-for-8) and .333 (2-for-6, 3 walks), respectively.
Tenth-year head coach Cory Mee expects junior LHP Ryan Wilkinson (0-0, 6.00 ERA), senior LHP Kyle Shaw (1-0, 0.00 ERA) and freshman RHP Kyle Slack (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to receive starting assignments on the mound against the Cavaliers this weekend. Wilkinson worked 6.0 solid innings with three punchouts vs. La Salle in Friday's season opener, while Shaw recorded six strikeouts in 6.0 scoreless frames later that evening against Delaware to collect the victory.
Virginia is off to a 4-0 start in 2013, defeating East Carolina twice on the road this past weekend, along with St. Peters and William & Mary on Monday and Tuesday at home.
The Cavaliers are paced offensively by the three-headed monster of Branden Cogswell (.538, 7-for-13, 8 RS, 4 RBI), Brandon Downes (.438, 7-for-16, 8 RS, 1 HR, 6 RBI) and Reed Gragnani (.438, 7-for-16, 5 RS, 4 RBI). As a team, UVa is averaging 11.8 runs on 12.8 hits per contest.
Virginia, which was ranked No. 25 in the preseason edition of the USA Today Coaches Poll, picked up 39 wins last spring and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for a ninth-consecutive season. They return 18 letterwinners, including five position starters, for 10th-year head coach Brian O'Connor.
Virginia's O'Connor and UT's Mee spent five years working together as assistant coaches at the University of Notre Dame from 1995-99.
The Cavaliers and the Rockets will square off for the first time in school history.
Following this weekend's series with the Cavaliers, Toledo will begin its spring break trip in Tampa, FL with a three-game set at South Florida on Friday-Sunday, March 1-3. From there, Toledo will make its way to Port Charlotte to tangle with Georgetown (March 5) and Valparaiso (March 6) at the Snowbird Classic, before concluding the trip with three contests at Florida Atlantic on Friday-Sunday, March 8-10.
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