'Hoos hope to build off big weekend at the plate

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Virginia freshman infielder Nic Kent continues to draw praise from his head coach.

After a 4-for-4 performance Saturday's series-clinching 12-6 victory against Louisville, Brian O'Connor said Kent plays with the electricity of former Wahoo Ernie Clement -- but the steady presence of another former UVA infielder, Chris Taylor.

Kent also drove in a pair of runs in Saturday's win, raising his team-leading total to 39 for the season. The St. Anne's-Belfield grad went 8-for-12 in UVA's three games against the Cardinals to raise his batting average to .328 in 49 games.

"He's just been steady and consistent," O'Connor said.

Kent was just one of the Cavaliers to put up big numbers against a Louisville pitching staff entered the weekend with an ACC-best 3.34 team ERA. Leadoff hitter Tanner Morris finished the three-game series with six hits, four runs scored and three RBI. Nine-hole hitter Cayman Richardson also finished the weekend with six hits -- including his first career home run -- and scored five times. Zack Gelof and Alex Tappen each had three hits, including a home run apiece. Gelof drove in five runs for the series.

As a team, the Wahoos hit .362 and put up 29 runs against the Cardinals. That Louisville team ERA, while still best in the conference, dropped to 3.59.

"Everybody throughout the lineup was hitting well. Good barrels, a lot of hard contact," Kent said. "You just keep passing the baton, trying to be the one to get the next hit and keep going."

By taking two of three from Louisville, the Cavaliers improved to 12-15 in ACC play on the season, and clinched a spot in next week's conference tournament. The Wahoos also boosted their RPI to No. 47 in the country with four games left in the regular season, starting with Tuesday's home finale against VCU.

O'Connor agreed with one reporter's use of the word 'relentless' to describe the Cavaliers' performance at the plate in their first series after final exams.

"The word you used, relentless, is a good word. I felt like that's what we did offensively this whole weekend. Starting from the first game, even though the score didn't indicate it," O'Connor said. "We did score a lot of runs and had a good offensive approach."

"A lot of guys are swinging the bats well, and that's what we need in order to have success."