Cavalier Corner

February 2020

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FEBRUARY 2020 29 cavalier profile DEVIN ORTIZ Third-Year • Baseball Whether he was on the mound or at the plate, Devin Ortiz tormented op- ponents at Saint Joseph Regional High in Irvington, N.J. A third-year infielder/ pitcher, Ortiz has picked up where he left off at Virginia. For his career, Ortiz is 5-0 with a 3.26 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 38 2 ⁄3 innings over 22 relief appearances. While his career batting average is .228, he hit .421 in 19 at-bats last season and then batted .582 in UVA's three exhibition games this past fall. "I really enjoy hitting more because I like to be out there every day and try to put up runs for my team," said Ortiz, who last season was 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in 18 appearances. "But I do love pitching just as well. If hitting doesn't work out, pitching is easier and I can fall back on that instead of the other way around." Invariably when a reliever is called on, his team is in a jam that requires a certain mindset. "I don't have a preference where I'm pitching," Ortiz said. "If Coach [Brian] O'Connor needs me to start, then I'll have to get that starting mentality. If he needs me to relieve or close, then I'll need that mentality. Last year, my role with the team was to pitch with runners on base. I embrace those moments. I had the right mentality, and I pounded the strike zone and got outs." Ortiz also doesn't have a preference when it comes to playing the infield. He may need a first baseman's glove this season, but he also has experience at second, third and short. "For me, I've been doing it my whole life," he said. "I understand what I signed up for. I know what position players do and pitchers do. That requires more time on the field. Every day I come in with the mentality to get everything done." Ortiz admitted there were two reasons why he opted for Virginia. "There was the history of the baseball program and the education," he said. "The university is historic and the education is amazing." — Mike Scandura Photo courtesy UVA

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