Cavalier Corner

April 2018

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Page 23 of 95

24 CAVALIER CORNER BY GREG WATERS V IRGINIA'S PERFORMANCE ON the diamond since the arrival of head coach Brian O'Connor has been spectacular. Entering his 15th season at the helm of the UVA baseball program, alongside associate head coach Kevin McMullan and assistant coach Karl Kuhn, O'Connor has posted a career record of 639‑239‑2 with a 262‑145‑1 mark in ACC play. He also owns the third‑highest winning per‑ centage (.727 percent) of all current head coaches in Division I baseball. A three‑time National Coach of the Year, the Virginia skipper is the second‑ fastest ACC coach to reach 500 career wins. He ranks ninth in conference history in career wins, eighth in career league vic‑ tories and ninth with 26 ACC Tournament wins, and has added two ACC Tournament titles to the Cavaliers' trophy case. UVA is one of just four programs in the nation to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 14 seasons, and O'Connor ranks ninth in ACC history with 48 career NCAA Tournament wins. The Wahoos have hosted nine NCAA Re‑ gionals and five NCAA Super Regionals while advancing to the College World Se‑ ries four times over the last nine seasons. Since 2009, UVA has compiled 42 NCAA Tournament wins — the second most in the nation — and played in the College World Series championship series in 2014 and 2015, winning it all in 2015. During the O'Connor era, the Hoos have posted 11 40‑win seasons, and Cava‑ lier fans have flocked to Davenport Field in record numbers, prompting several sta‑ dium expansions. Virginia has ranked among the top 20 nationally in attendance in each of the last eight seasons, including a program‑best 142,496 fans in 2014 when UVA finished 11th nationally. Last season, Virginia av‑ eraged 3,248 fans per game to rank 16th in the country. With the growing popularity of Virginia baseball, a third round of expansion and renovations began immediately following the conclusion of the 2017 campaign. Though there are still some finishing touches to complete, third‑year infielder Jack Weiller and his teammates have been enjoying their refurbished home. "The new facility gives more people an opportunity to come out and support us, and that's a huge boost to the environment when you're playing," he said. "The im‑ provements allow us to be more efficient during practice. "We're not confined to limited space and guys have the opportunity to work individually or as group, pitchers and hit‑ ters at the same time." While most of the new enhancements will benefit fans, the renovations include an indoor player development center. "Nothing in practice has changed. Our plan has been the same, but the new features maximize productivity from a pitching standpoint," second‑year pitcher Bobby Nicholson added. "We've got the pitching lab, an extra cage and the new hitting facility. "It's really a treat for both position players and pitchers." Many of the enhancements are de‑ signed to boost the game‑day experience for Virginia fans, including: • A new grand entry in right field. • An expanded concourse down the right field line that extends around the right field pole toward right center field. • A field‑level club area and seating for approximately 140 fans. • Chair‑back seats along the first base line. • New concessions, merchandise and restroom facilities. • Virginia will occupy the first base dug‑ out, and its bullpen will move to right field. More than 150 former UVA baseball players made contributions to the project — funded exclusively by private donations — that boosted the stadium's capacity to 5,500 with seating upgrades and much more. PHOTO BY MATT RILEY/COURTESY UVA THE DISH The $18.76 Million Renovation Of Davenport Field At Disharoon Park Was Aided By The Contributions Of Former UVA Players

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