Virginia 2012 Baseball World Series Capsule

Virginia Cavaliers
ACC (36-16-1, 18-12)

The Virginia Cavaliers, under the direction of Brian O’Connor and the best top to bottom coaching staff in the country, have experienced great postseason success as of late with two trips to the College World Series in the last three years. In the early tenure under O’Connor, the Cavaliers had some tough, heartbreaking losses in the regional rounds.  They lost a nail-biting first game in 2005 against Craig Hansen and St. John’s and lost a tough game with an ending play in 2007 against UCLA in the Fullerton Regional. The turning point in Virginia’s postseason success was taking on Stephen Strasburg in the 2009 Irvine Regional, knocking him off and winning the regional and then going into Ole Miss and taking care of business in the Super Regional. The 2012 Cavaliers are young but still very talented and continued to get stronger as the season progressed. And with a road sweep of Miami down in Coral Gables, this team should only get stronger and make plenty of noise the rest of the way on the national college baseball scene.

Big Wins: 2/18 at Coastal Carolina 9-3, 3/25 thru 3/28 vs Clemson (6-3), (5-1), (5-3) 3/31 at NC State (5-2) 4/28 thru 4/30 at Miami, (7-3), (7-4), (7-4)
Bad Losses: 2/17 vs Boston College in Conway, SC (3-5), 3/9 vs Virginia Tech (8-10, 11 Innings), 4/20 at Duke (3-6)
Coach: Brian O’Connor (9 seasons at Virginia)

Why They Can Surprise:
This Virginia team is a little different from previous editions as they don’t have as many dominant starting pitchers like Danny Hultzen, Will Roberts and Tyler Wilson were in 2011. However, with a 3.31 team ERA, the pitching staff, for the most part, has kept the team right in games with a chance to win. Offensively Stephen Bruno and Derek Fisher provide solid power at the plate and have a knack for driving in runs when the Cavaliers need it. Jared King, Colin Harrington, and Keith Werman also do a great job of driving in runs in the clutch and have high on-base percentages, which will be important in the postseason to drive pitch counts up and get into the oppositions bullpen early in games.

Why They Can Disappoint:
When the Cavaliers fail to advance out of regional play, it tends to boil down to not winning that first game and starting to press. Having an experienced veteran number one pitcher in Branden Kline will help offset this a great deal. The youth on the team needs to avoid getting caught up in the moment and putting too much pressure on themselves on the postseason stage.  It will be a huge benefit to this team to not have to go on the road and go out West or be stuck as a two seed in say a Lexington, Kentucky hostile SEC environment.
Key Field Players:
Derek Fisher, Freshman, Outfield, .297 BA, 7 HR, 47 RBI
Jared King, Senior, Infield, .279 BA, 43 RBI, 12 SB
Keith Werman, Senior, Infield/Catcher, .282 BA, 20 RBI
Colin Harrington, Junior, Infield/Outfield, .293 BA, 25 RBI
Stephen Bruno, Junior, Infield, .370 BA, 6 HR, 47 RBI, 10 SB

Key Pitchers:
Branden Kline, Junior, Starting Pitcher, 3.89 ERA, 6-3 W/L, 81.0 IP, 84 SO
Justin Thompson, Senior, Closer, 2.52 ERA, 4-3 W/L, 35.2 IP, 35 SO, 11 SV

By the Numbers:
Batting Average: .299 (31st in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Offense: 7.1 (9, 1)
Doubles per Game: 1.81 (81, 8)
Triples per Game: 0.60 (2, 1)
Home Runs per Game: 0.47 (125, 10)
Slugging Percentage: .430 (39, 3)
Stolen Bases per Game: 1.23 (94, 6)
Earned Run Average: 3.31 (47, 5)
Fielding Percentage: .973 (53, 3)
Double Plays per Game: 0.96 (36, 4)

Recent Postseason Appearances:

2011Regionaldefeated Navy, defeated St. John's, defeated East Carolina
2011Super Regionaldefeated UC Irvine
2011CWSdefeated California, lost to South Carolina, defeated California, eliminated by South Carolina
2010Regionaldefeated VCU, defeated Mississippi, lost to St. John's, defeated St. John's
2010Super Regionaleliminated by Oklahoma
2009Regionaldefeated San Diego State, defeated UC Irvine, defeated UC Irvine
2009Super Regionaldefeated Mississippi
2009CWSlost to LSU, defeated Cal State Fullerton, eliminated by Arkansas
2008Regionallost to UCLA, eliminated by Cal State Fullerton
2007Regionaldefeated Lafayette, defeated Oregon State, lost to Oregon State, eliminated by Oregon State

*all team stats through 5/20

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