Cavalier Corner

February 2022

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FEBRUARY 2022 31 cavalier profile KYLE TEEL Second-Year • Baseball The success that Kyle Teel had as a first-year on the Virginia base- ball team was certainly a rarity. The Mahwah, N.J., native burst onto the college baseball scene last season by leading the Cavaliers with a .335 batting average, making him the first rookie to pace UVA in hitting since 2008. He was rewarded for his efforts, garnering first-team Freshman All-America honors from Baseball America, a feat that hadn't been attained by a Cavalier since 2009. Additional accolades rolled in for the highly touted recruit out of Mahwah High School, including third- team All-ACC honors, a spot on the ACC All-Freshman team, ACC All-Academic Team and the 2021 Virginia Athletic Department Male Rookie of the Year. Teel was a Swiss army knife for head coach Brian O'Connor, who compared his skill set and versatility to the fictional movie character Kelly Leak of the Bad News Bears. He started 15 games as a catcher, and one of them was the program's seventh no-hitter in which three UVA pitchers combined to strike out 20 Wake Forest hitters on May 14. In addition, Teel saw time in right field where he led Virginia with four outfield assists in 19 starts, and he made his initial mark in the lineup as the team's designated hitter for another 19 games. Perhaps the signature moment of Teel's dazzling first season came in the deciding game of the NCAA Super Regional in Columbia, S.C. With the Cavaliers trailing 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the sev- enth inning, he cracked the first grand slam in Virginia postseason history to put the Cavaliers up for good. The majestic shot proved to be the difference in the game and sent UVA to college baseball's pinnacle, the College World Series. It marked the program's fifth ap- pearance in Omaha since 2009, tied for the second most of any program in the country. The role for Teel on the 2022 team will change from rookie on a veteran team to a leader on a squad that features 18 newcomers, the most in O'Connor's tenure. He's expected to lead from one of the game's most important positions, behind the plate as the team's starting catcher. — Scott Fitzgerald • Photo courtesy UVA

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