Virginia Baseball Season Review

Overall: 44-21
ACC: 11-13
ACC Tournament Champions
NCAA East Regional Finalists

UVa, which entered the 1996 season ranked 82nd in the nation by USA Today Baseball Weekly, concluded its season at the NCAA Tournament South I Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala. … the #2 seeded Cavaliers lost their opener in the NCAA’s to #5 seed Notre Dame (1-12) and then staved off elimination three times (12-2 vs. #6 Princeton, 7-1 vs. N.D. and 5-4 vs. #4 Stetson in 10 inn.) before falling to the host and #1 seed Alabama (8-18) in the championship round … the Crimson Tide went on to claim a national #1 ranking and the 1st seed in the College World Series … the Cavaliers are ranked 14th in the latest Baseball America poll (UVa’s highest ranking ever in any poll) … UVa last week was #15 in BA (UVa’s 1st ever ranking by BA since its poll began in 1981) … UVa also was #19 last week according to Collegiate Baseball and #20 in USA Today/Baseball Weekly … the last time UVa was ranked (prior to last week) in a national top-25 poll was when the 1985 team finished 23rd in CB’s final rankings … UVa enjoyed 9 days of postseason baseball after experiencing just 8 postseason days in the previous 4 years combined.

Milestones & Accomplishments

Most wins in team history (’85 team was 38-16) … school record for regular season wins (’85 team was 35-12) … 2nd UVa team to win 11-plus ACC games (’88 team was 11-10) … beat six of the nation’s top-20 Division I pitching prospects (with 5 of those wins coming when ace Seth Greisinger was not on the mound): 7-4 at #7 ASU, vs. jr. RHP Widd Workman (#38 overall prospect/#11 college pitcher according to June 10th Baseball America…Greisinger win); 3-2 vs. #7 Clemson and jr. RHP Billy Koch (#5/#3…Daneker win); 6-1 vs. Md. jr. LHP Eric Milton (#20/#8…Sekany win); 5-3 vs. JMU’s Derrick Cook (#36/#10…Daneker win); 2-1 vs. Wake jr. RHP Mark Seaver (#66/#15…Daneker win) and 4-2 vs. #7 Clemson and jr. LHP Ken Vining (#85/#19…Daneker win) … 1st series win over North Carolina since ’62 … 1st win over Clemson (3-2) since ’85 (31-game streak) … road wins at #7 ASU, #19 N.C. St. and #25 Duke, home wins over Clemson and FSU (both #7 at the time), plus 5 wins over perennial powers in ACC’s … 7 other wins vs. teams that advanced to ’95 NCAA’s: ODU, UNC-C, UNC (2), JMU (2), Richmond… 38 games (19-19) vs. teams that were ranked or participated in ’95/’96 NCAA’s … 9 straight wins in 1-run games … 17-6 in games decided by 1 or 2 runs (compared to 6-14 in 1995) … 23-15 in all away games (4-16 in ’95).

Cavalier Quick Notes

  • UVa won 24 of its final 31 games (18-4 in April)
  • Cavaliers pitching staff shaved 1.05 points off last year’s team ERA, down to 3.72 (3rd ACC, 15th in the nation)
  • UVa posted fewer home wins (21) than last season (22) but won 23 times away from home (4 last year) … UVa is 46-20 in its last 66 regular season games (finished 10-2 last year)
  • UVa’s 26-game turnaround (from 26-29, or -3, last year to +23 in 1996) is 4th-best ever by an ACC team (including all pre-ACC years and all FSU seasons prior to the Seminoles joining the ACC)
  • UVa had not been ranked or made the NCAA’s since ’85 (only other NCAA appearance in ’72)
  • UVa’s eight postseason wins featured game-winning RBI from seven different players (Galloway-N.C. State, Anderson-FSU, Willis-Clemson, Bransford-Ga. Tech, Seward-FSU, Bransford-Princeton, Gilleland-N.D. and Counts-Stetson)
  • Galloway scored 4 game-winning runs in the postseason while Seward had two, Gilleland and Counts one each.

NCAA Highlights

  • Pat Daneker’s shutout vs. Princeton (6 IP, 19 batters faced, 3 H, 5 K, 0 BB)
  • UVA scored in each of first 5 innings of 2nd matchup vs. N.D. … Craig Zaikov earned All-Regional honors with a shutout relief performance vs. Stetson, (7.1 IP, 2 H, 14 K/0 BB)
  • Virginia’s comeback vs. Stetson (from 0-4 down), highlighted by: RBI double from Justin Counts in 4th (scoring Donnie Seward); sac. fly by E.J. Anderson in 7th after singles from Pat Bransford and Ryan Gilleland, plus a walk by Symmion Willis; 2-run HR from Bransford in 8th after Seward beat out double play; and Counts’ game-winning double down the rightfield line in the 10th, with Seward scoring all the way from 1st (Seward scored 3 of UVa’s 5 runs vs. the Hatters)

Pitching Notes

Seth Greisinger, junior, righthander

Baseball America’s updated prospect list (June 10) forecasts him as nation’s 8th-best college prospect (12th overall, including high school seniors) and 4th-best college pitcher (8th overall) … BA’s 94th-ranked prospect in pre-season… among first 30 of 45 invitees to U.S. Olympic team tryouts … one of four pitchers named 1st team all-America by Collegiate Baseball and one of four named 1st team all-America by BA … one of nine pitchers named to “Smith National Super Team” by National College Baseball Writers Association … UVa’s third baseball All-American, second 1st-teamer (Brian Buchanan, ’94) and first ever to be named 1st team by both CB and BA … “best breaking pitch” among top-25 college pitching prospects (according to June 10th BA).

His 9-inning averages in 1996: 5.7 hits, 1.5 extra-base hits, 2.6 walks, 10.3 strikeouts, 35.2 batters faced, 10.3 groundouts, 2.9 flyouts … 5 wins over ranked teams (Arizona State, N.C. State twice, Duke and Florida State) … 3 complete game wins in postseason vs. N.C. St., FSU and N.D. (his postseason stats: 2 earned runs, 0.67 ERA, 12 hits, .132 opp. batting, 25 K’s).

Nationally ranked in ERA (2nd as of 5/27) and K’s (22nd as of 5/20) … held 12 of 16 opponents to one or no earned runs… UVa record 12 wins in ’96 … 21 career wins (tied UVa record) … ranks in the following ACC categories: ERA (2nd), opp. batting (2nd), wins (3rd), K’s (3rd), hits allowed per 9 IP (3rd), complete games (3rd), innings (4th), K’s per 9 IP (6th), walks per 9 IP (10th).

Won 8 of his last 9 starts … posted the first UVa season ERA under 2.00 since 1985 (1.76–6th lowest in UVa history) … his 3.92 K-to-walk ratio (141/36) broke the 36-year-old UVa season record (3.53), set by Buddy Charles in 1950.

Held opposing batters to .179 batting … his focus on keeping the ball down led to 141 groundouts, 22 popups or lineouts to the infield and only 39 flyouts or lineouts to the outfield … just three wild pitches, one hit batter in final 7 games (59 IP).

His 141 K’s in 1996 are 2nd-most in a season ever at UVa … his 295 career K’s are a UVa record, besting Tim Burcham (272, from 1983-85) … Burcham, a BA 2nd team all-American, holds the UVa season record (146 in 1985).

Jason Sekany, junior, righthander

Was ranked 34th in the nation for ERA heading into the NCAA’s and was the nation’s 76th-ranked pro prospect according to Baseball America (Sekany was the losing pitcher vs. N.D. and Alabama) … Sekany ranks in the following ACC categories: appearances (4th, 28), hits per 9 IP (10th, 7.83) and opp. batting (10th, .233)

Pat Daneker, sophomore, righhander

Won 7 of his last 9 decisions and saved the regular season win over FSU with 4 shutout innings … UVa beat six pitchers who were ranked among the nation’s top-20 Division I pitching prospects, with Daneker notching four of those wins (vs. Clemson’s Billy Koch and Ken Vining, Wake Forest’s Mark Seaver and JMU’s Derrick Cook)

Craig Zaikov, senior, righthander

Rolled up 14 K’s in his relief win vs. Stetson (equaling the 2nd-most K’s by a UVa pitcher this season) … Zaikov, a converted catcher, finished the year with a 2.48 ERA (2nd ACC, 23rd in the nation), 7.43 hits allowed per 9 IP (6th ACC) and .217 opp. batting (4th ACC) … Zaikov set UVa records for career winning pct. (.923, 12-1) and season winning pct. (.889, 8-1) … Daneker (8-5) and Zaikov each posted the 4th-most wins in a season ever at UVa.