Cavalier Corner

February 2014

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DEEP AND TALENTED Cavaliers Take Aim At Their Third College World Series Berth In Six Seasons I BY GREG WATERS N WHAT HAS BECOME ROUTINE, the UVa baseball team is coming off another stellar season. Beginning 2013 outside most preseason polls and expected to finish as low as fourth in the ACC's Coastal Division, the Hoos posted a 50-12 mark, recorded more league wins (22) than any other club, earned a berth in their third Super Regional and ended the season ranked as high as No. 5 nationally. ◆ BASEBALL PREVIEW ◆ In 2014, there are ample reasons to conclude that this edition will surpass last spring's club and be well positioned to earn its third trip to the College World Series in the last six seasons. Head coach Brian O'Connor has stockpiled a wealth of talent and experience. Last year's regular lineup included seven secondyears and first-years, while five of the nine pitchers that logged meaningful innings were first-years. More than 75 percent of Virginia's scoring, hits, home runs and RBI were delivered by first- or second-year players, while underclassmen tossed 3052⁄3 of UVa's 5562⁄3 innings and rookies accounted for 27 of UVa's 50 wins in 2013. i22-23.Baseball Preview.indd 1 The Hoos have no fewer than eight players that could start a game on the mound, four outfielders that could start for any team in college baseball, three catchers that can play and handle a staff, and three infielders that can play at least two positions. "This is our deepest and most skilled team from a position player and offensive standpoint," said O'Connor, who is entering his 11th season at the helm of the program. "It's not our most experienced team pitching wise, but this team is very talented. I like our arms, we just need guys to be more experienced than they were last year." At Virginia, it always starts with pitching. The staff is deep and the arms are very good, but pitching coach Karl Kuhn feels it will take most of preseason camp to define roles and answer some key questions. "I think our rotation will be unique in that there is so much talent and depth that guys are going to have to learn to step up and earn it," he said. "What's going to be really interesting and exciting to watch on the pitching side is how we open the season to see if it's the same way we end the season. And I'm willing to bet that it's not, as these guys play and define how they're going to get this team where we want to go." The one pitcher who is expected to be a fixture 1/16/14 12:16 PM

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