After a non-conference doubleheader Tuesday, the Cavaliers are now getting ready to host No. 6 Florida State in a three-game series over the weekend.
The Cavaliers (11-17, 2-7 ACC) split their recent games against Towson, picking up a 5-4 win against the Tigers (9-11, 0-0 CAA) in the first matchup, and then falling to them later that evening in a 7-4 loss.
“In the end, I do think we are better than we played [against Towson],” coach Joanna Hardin said. “We had some mental mistakes that were costly and let a few opportunities slip away at the plate.”
The double-header against the Tigers came after the Cavaliers got swept by NC State — the third ACC series Virginia lost.
“Every coach talks about the ‘grind’ of season and that's where we are right now,” Hardin said. “Mentally and physically, we have to keep fighting and pushing to get better every day — and it's tough.
In the midst of the challenges of the early season, Virginia’s upperclassmen have been crucial to giving the Cavaliers their best chance at success. Junior outfielder and pitcher Allison Davis boasts a batting average of .388, which is currently the best for any Cavalier. Seniors McKall Miller and Katie Park are also hitting above .300, with Miller batting at .328 and Park batting at .322.
Meanwhile, the Seminoles (28-1-1, 9-0 ACC) come to Charlottesville having yet to drop a game in the ACC. Florida State boasts an impressive 19-game unbeaten streak and a 14-game winning streak — making it the best start in school history.
In its most recent conference series, Florida State kept Notre Dame from scoring a single run over the course of the three games — picking up two 6-0 victories and one 16-0 win.
Senior first baseman Alex Powers currently leads the Seminoles in hitting with a batting average of .467, and she leads the ACC for most hits by a player. Powers, who was a 2016 Second Team All-American selection, has tallied up 27 RBI’s and four home runs so far this season.
An additional key to Florida State’s offense is junior infielder Jessica Warren. Warren has collected eight home runs and 35 RBIs, both of which are the second-best numbers put up by anyone in the conference.
Recently, Florida State has dominated matchups against Virginia, taking 13 of the last 14. However, the Cavaliers are looking to change that.
“As we continue to mature and grow together as a unit I think it will show itself in more consistent play on the field,” Hardin said. “Our staff believes in every player on the team and we know they are capable of competing hard.”
After this series, the Cavaliers will face a 10-game stretch of games on the road, beginning with a midweek doubleheader against Longwood.