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Brian O'Connor unconcerned about Cody Winiarski

If Virginia makes a deep run into the College World Series, it's going to need strong outings from three starting pitchers -- not just Danny Hultzen and Robert Morey.

Cody Winiarski, who has been the Cavaliers' third starter all season -- and has enjoyed a good season -- struggled in his first postseason appearance on Friday. He could not record an out in the fifth inning, leaving with four runs and seven hits in four innings of work, including four walks to only one strikeout.

"I'm not concerned about him at all,' Coach Brian O'Connor said. "Cody Winiarski has played great baseball for us all year long. Typically, he runs into trouble in middle or late innings. That's kind of his M.O. But he got us off to a pretty good start and did what he needed to. And part of the reason we pitched him today was because he was the freshest guy we have and he's a candidate to potentially come back at the end of the tournament, if need be."

That means Winiarski could pitch on Monday if the tournament extends that far. Catcher Franco Valdes also did express worry in Winiarski. He said he has tried to get into Winiarski's head "for awhile", and said Winiarski tends to overthink instead of just trusting himself.

When Valdes visits the mound, he said he tells Winiarski to speed the game and not think so much. But Valdes emphasized confidence in one of Virginia's top starters.

"He went a lot of deeper in a few games toward the end the year," Valdes said. "We all know, and the coaching staff I'm sure knows, he comes to a trouble point in the fifth or sixth inning, but we have guys like Tyler Wilson or Corey Hunt, we have a lot of guys who can come in and finish the game off."

By Zach Berman  |  June 5, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
 
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