An Unhappy Oak

In Pray for Rain: A College Baseball Story, Jason Wuerfel wrote that “midweek games are tough all around; it’s hard to get up for them because you’re spent from the weekend series, neither team has any pitching left, and some of the overworked position players are usually given the day off.  In other words, the games can get a little sloppy.”

In The Road to Omaha, Ryan McGee described the regular season strategy of Fresno State in 2008: “They sacrificed victories in their midweek nonconference games… in order to save their strength for their in-conference weekend sets.”

This week, in documenting top-ranked (in at least one poll at the time) Virginia’s loss at VMI, Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Michael Phillips described the games as “a demonstration of exactly how midweek baseball can be a great equalizer.”

Perhaps, but try telling that to the coaches.  Last month, after losing a home mid-week contest to Oral Roberts, legendary Texas coach Augie Garrido was “visible irate” said the following:

“I don’t know what they were thinking about or where they were in their own mind, but they were not focused on competing inning-by-inning, pitch-by-pitch. They absolutely abandoned the plan… You’ve got to come out and compete. When you make assumptions that something less than a best effort is good enough, then you set yourself up for what happened tonight.”

After the aforementioned VMI loss, Virginia skipper Brian O’Connor fumed: “We have some guys that need to make adjustments. Some guys are stubborn and unwilling to make adjustments, and you can’t have success in this game doing it that way.”

Dough Doughty of The Roanoke Times noted that “an animated O’Connor could be overheard raising his voice in a meeting with his team following the game,” Virginia’s worst loss in nearly two years and second to VMI in the last two meetings between the schools.

Oak told the media that “had we won tonight’s game we get bonus points from the RPI system because VMI is in the top 50 in the RPI. We lost a golden opportunity to get a top 50 win on the road. We didn’t do it.”

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