UVA turns to Edgington in surprise season opener at The Dish
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Opening day is usually quiet around Disharoon Park, but for only the fourth time in Brian O'Connor's 20 seasons the Cavaliers will start the season at home in a surprise turn of events.
"We're looking forward to actually being here in our home stadium," O'Connor said on Wednesday, "Real quick flip of the switch."
Due to inclement weather expected in Wilmington, N.C. on Friday, Virginia's season opener against Navy was moved to Charlottesville with first pitch at 2 p.m and free admission. The Cavaliers will still travel down for the rest of the Hughes Bros. Challenge on Friday night to play Ohio on Saturday at 2 p.m. and hosts UNC-Wilmington on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Virginia fans on Friday will see some new faces on the mound beginning with opening day starter Brian Edgington, a grad transfer from Elon. The role will be familiar for the righty All-CAA selection, who served as Elon's Friday night starter last season while in the transfer portal before arriving at UVA.
"I think the competition has been great, everyone that's on the staff nothing has been given to them, every role has been earned," Edgington said, "I think throughout the preseason it's brought out the best of everyone."
Edgington will be one of three new players to Virginia in the weekend rotation for opening weekend. After Edgington starts on Friday, Coastal Carolina grad transfer righty Nick Parker will start Saturday against Ohio and then freshman righty Jack O'Connor will make his debut on Sunday against UNC-Wilmington.
"The starting rotation that we're going to have this weekend is the three young men that earned those opportunities and I believe they'll go out and give us great starts," O'Connor said, "We'll also have a really good bullpen."
The Cavaliers lost 86 percent of their innings pitched from last season, while bringing in five transfers and eight true freshmen pitchers. O'Connor believes past the three getting the nod to start opening weekend, Virginia has a "very deep" bullpen filled with experience like returners in Jake Berry and Jay Woolfolk, transfers in Connelly Early and Chase Hungate and a promising freshman class with five or six who could see innings this year.
"I think it's been fun and I think it's helped us be better as a staff with nothing cemented with three-year, four-year guys who have been here and roles locked," Nick Parker said, "I think it's helped us be more competitive."
Opening weekend starters are usually a reward for the top performers coming out of fall and the early spring practices, but with a plethora of options O'Connor can already tell nothing is cemented in February.
"I've never coached a team to where what you're starting rotation was the opening weekend was the same when you start ACC play four weeks later, nor was for sure by the end of the season," O'Connor said.