Cavalier Corner

June 2013

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Dual Threat Nick Howard Is the Latest Cavalier To Star At The Plate And On The Mound M By Mike Scandura aybe University of Virginia baseball coach Brian O'Connor hasn't turned recruiting two-way players into an exact science. But it's close given the success he's had with secondyear Nick Howard, and former Cavaliers Sean Doolittle and Danny Hultzen. When O'Connor and his staff are recruiting two-way players, there are certain qualities a young man must possess. "First, they must have the physical gifts to do it," O'Connor said. "There are a lot of kids in high school that pitch and think they're good hitters. Most often they're the best player on their team. They don't know until they get here if they can do it or not. "Next, you have to be a fierce competitor to do it. You have to want that challenge to do both. Certainly there's a mental part. And who they are as a person has a lot to do with it. "When I think about guys like Nick Howard, Sean Doolittle and Danny Hultzen, you're talking about ultra-competitive players," O'Connor continued. "They want to do it. They want to help the team in any way they can. A selfish player would ask, 'Do I want to do this and put my career in jeopardy?' But they all want to do what's best for the team." Without question that's been the case with Howard, the starting third basemen and one of the top three starters for a UVa team that was 39-8 and ranked among the nation's top 10 teams heading into May. Through games of April 30, Howard was hitting .331 with a homer and 29 RBI. On the mound, he'd made 11 starts and compiled a 5-4 record with a team-best 3.18 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 562⁄3 innings. Howard is quick to admit that being a two-way player takes a toll on a player's body as well as his mind. "Being out there Friday and Saturday at third base and pitching on Sunday is taxing on your body," he said. "But that's why we spend all fall doing weightlifting and conditioning. "As far as the mental part, it's being able to separate the two things. If I have a bad at-bat, I must be able to delete that and throw strikes the next inning. That's probably the biggest challenge. "If you're in a slump, it's hard just to be a position player," Howard added. "My mindset is

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