The School: The University of Virginia.
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
The Mascot: The Cavalier. Basically, it’s a guy with a goatee, a cape, and a funny hat who rides a horse and carries a sword. On paper, this sounds like it would be spectacular. In practice, the result is this:
This concept seems like it could have been better.
Record: 35-25, 18-18 in the ACC.
How’d they get here? Managed to play both a regional and a super regional in Columbia, South Carolina. In the regional, they lost the opener to regional 2-seed South Carolina, which for some reason got to host a regional as a 2-seed, before winning four straight to advance. In the supers, they dropped the opener to Dallas Baptist before taking the last two, winning the third game 5-2 on a late grand slam.
Virginia getting to Omaha after being a regional 3-seed? Yeah, I don’t like that.
Best win: Uh... I guess it’s a 14-1 win over national seed Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament? Like, their regular season record isn’t all that impressive.
Most embarrassing loss: I don’t care how good they are, you should always be embarrassed when you lose to Liberty, which the Cavaliers did by a 10-2 score back on March 24.
Most terrifying batter: Freshman Kyle Teel is one of those guys who, in a COVID-free draft year, might not have ended up going to college at all; but in an MLB Draft that only had five rounds, there was no opportunity to draft a guy who’s maybe signable in like the 11th round and see if he bites on a seven-figure signing bonus. So he went to Virginia, where he “only” had a slash line of .320/.402/.518 as a freshman, and he’ll probably be a big-time draft prospect in (I’m assuming) 2023.
Most terrifying pitcher: Senior lefthander Andrew Abbott is a legitimate draft prospect (#71 in MLB.com’s prospect rankings) who doesn’t overpower you, but managed to strike out 152 batters in 100.2 innings, and is probably the best pitcher on a fairly deep pitching staff. Virginia’s kind of the opposite of Mississippi State; what they lack in lights-out pitchers, they make up for having eight or nine guys they’re probably comfortable throwing out there — which, uh, is how you get out of your regional after losing the opener.
Best NCAA Tournament result: Oh hell no, we’re not talking about that.
Should Vanderbilt Be Scared? Of a Virginia team that escaped its regional as a 3-seed and got to Omaha? I will let you, the reader, be the judge of that.