#29 Virginia Baseball Preview

Virginia Cavaliers 

Overall Rank: #29
Conference Rank: #5 ACC

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The Cavaliers are just one of the many talented teams in the deep pool of talent in the ACC. This season Virginia has 54 games on their schedule, highlighted with 21 games against foes who qualified for the NCAA tournament a season ago. The road will not be easy, but Virginia is excited for the challenges that lie ahead.

2012: 39-19-1, 18-12
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach:  Brian O’Connor
Field Players:
This lineup will be paced by sophomore outfielder Derek Fisher. The powerful left handed hitter stroked seven homeruns as a freshman, which led the team. His 50 RBI’s were good for second best on the team. He hit .288 and swiped four bases as well. Another year of growing up and becoming acclimated to college pitching should bode well for him. He could be ready to break out for the Cavaliers this season.  His youth is balanced by the experience of fellow outfielder Colin Harrington. The redshirt junior had a nice year last season, hitting .305, second highest on the team.  His on base percentage was a staggering .400.  These two outfielders will be asked once again to be the productive bats in the lineup and get on base often. 
This staff will be led by their veteran, Artie Lewicki. The junior right hander labored through 77.2 innings a season ago, second most on the team. He posted a respectable 3.82 ERA and earned a 4-3 mark. He made 13 starts and whiffed 50 batters, to just 22 walks. That type of control will be needed again as Virginia moves on without their ace from last year. Fellow junior, lefty Kyle Crockett is another key piece to the Cavaliers pitching lineup. He appeared in 32 games last season, starting two. He dominated hitters, earning a 2.25 ERA and a 5-2 overall mark. He pitched 60 innings, striking out 57 hitters. This lefty has a lot of talent and may be asked to make more starts for the team this season. His ability to do that could make or break this rotation.
Who to Watch:
Catcher Nate Irving did have eye popping numbers a season ago. However the young backstop was just a freshman. This year he will be better prepared to manage games and his offensive numbers should go up with a year of seasoning. As a freshman he hit .279 and drove in 35 runs. However his .415 on base percentage is very impressive. His ability to work the count and draw walks is well beyond his years. This season he should get more pitches to drive and his average should climb. He also was able to swipe four bases on just five attempts. He is a player who could be even more productive this season.
Final Projection:
This team plays in one of the best conferences in the land. They have a very difficult schedule, but also a ton of talent. They should qualify for postseason play, but will have a difficult time making noise in the conference. If their pitching is as good as it was a season ago this team can beat anyone on any given day. The Cavaliers should end up with a winning conference record and a solid overall record.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament
Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Derek Fisher, OF, 219
Hits: Derek Fisher, OF, 63
Home Runs: Derek Fisher, OF, 7
RBIs: Derek Fisher, OF, 50
Runs: Derek Fisher, OF, 44
Stolen Bases: Jared King, INF, 13
Wins: Kyle Crockett, LHP, 5
Innings: Artie Lewicki, RHP, 77.2
Strikeouts: Kyle Crockett, LHP, 57
Saves:  None


Madness 2013 Baseball Recruit Rankings:
#40 Nathan Kirby

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