Baseball Heads Home vs. Coppin State
March 17, 1998
THE SLATE: Virginia (12-6 overall, 0-5 ACC) takes a short break from its current road trip this week. The Cavaliers return to UVa Field to face Coppin State at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 17. Virginia will then head back to the state of North Carolina, as it will play a three-game series at North Carolina State from Mar. 20-22. The Cavaliers and the Wolfpack will play at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, with 1:30 p.m. games on both Saturday and Sunday. Virginia is currently in the middle of a stretch where it plays 11 out of 13 games on the road.
THE SERIES WITH COPPIN STATE: This week’s game will be the fifth meeting between the Cavaliers and the Eagles, with Virginia leading the all-time series 4-0. The teams have played once in each of the past four seasons, with each game being played at UVa Field. The Cavaliers have defeated Coppin State by scores of 21-3 (1994), 19-1 (1995), 12-3 (1996) and 15-1 (1997)
UVA LOOKS TO RUN HOME WIN STREAK TO 14: If the Cavaliers can defeat Coppin State, they will post their 14th consecutive victory in the friendly confines of UVa Field. Virginia has not lost at home since Apr. 25, 1997, when Duke posted a 4-1 victory over the Cavaliers. With a victory against the Eagles, UVa would match the longest-ever home winning streak at UVa Baseball Field. The Cavaliers’ record for consecutive home wins currently stands at 14 games, including the last seven games of the 1985 season and the first seven of the 1986 season. The only other winning streak of 10 or more games at UVa Field came in March of 1985, when the Cavaliers won 10 straight games at home.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Cavaliers are once again on their way to having a very successful record at home this season, winning all nine games they have played thus far at UVa Field. This should come as no surprise, as they have had impressive home records each of the last two seasons. Virginia had a mark of 17-7 at home in 1997, with seven of its 10 ACC victories coming at UVa Field (the Cavaliers went 7-4 in ACC home games). In 1996, the Cavaliers had an overall record of 21-6 at home, including a 7-5 mark against ACC foes. Overall, Virginia now stands 47-13 at home over the last three seasons.
ON THE MOUND: Sophomore righthander Kevin Shrout is scheduled to make his second start of the season in the Coppin State game. Shrout, who stands 3-0 on the year with a 2.29 earned run average and 25 strikeouts, defeated Liberty last week as he struck out 10 batters in seven innings. The rotation for this weekend’s games at North Carolina State is tentatively scheduled to be sophomore righthander Casey Kennedy on Friday, freshman lefthander Greg Withelder on Saturday and junior lefthander Javier Lopez on Sunday.
DUKE TAKES THREE FROM CAVALIERS: Virginia fell to 0-5 in ACC play as it was swept in a three game series at Duke last weekend. The Blue Devils posted a 7-4 victory in the opening game, followed by a 13-10 contest and a 9-6 game. The Cavaliers had a chance to win each of the games, as they held a lead in the sixth inning or later in every contest. Josh Bowling went 6-for-12 with two doubles a homer and four RBI in the series, while Brian Sherlock was 4-for-10 with three doubles and five RBI.
VIRGINIA SWEEPS TWO GAMES FROM LIBERTY: The Cavaliers won two games from Liberty last week, downing the Flames by scores of 11-8 and 8-4. In the first game, played in Lynchburg, Liberty held an 8-2 lead before UVa rallied for nine runs in the top of the seventh inning to come from behind for the victory. Josh Bowling led the Cavalier offense, going 2-for-4 with a key two-run single in the seventh. The second game, played in Charlottesville, saw Kevin Shrout allow only three earned runs and five hits in seven innings while striking out 10. Javier Lopez went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI to lead the offense in the second game.
BOWLING BECOMES A THREAT ON OFFENSE: Sophomore catcher Josh Bowling has been one of the top offensive threats for the Cavaliers over the last week. In Virginia’s last five games, he has gone 10-for-20 with three doubles, a home run and six runs batted in. With that recent spurt, Bowling is now batting .311 on the season with 13 runs batted in. He also has a team-best nine doubles on the year and a .508 slugging percentage. With his 19 hits this season, Bowling has also matched his hit total from all of the 1997 season.
SHERLOCK STAYS HOT: Senior third baseman Brian Sherlock has been one of the main reasons for the Cavaliers’ success so far this season. Over the last two games, Sherlock stands 4-for-7 with three doubles and five runs batted in. He now leads all UVa players with a .383 batting average and 22 runs batted in, while ranking second on the team in home runs with five. Sherlock also carries an impressive .800 slugging percentage into the week, a mark which also leads the team. In addition, he has drawn a team-high 18 walks on the year, giving him the best on-base percentage on the squad at .506.
SHROUT CONTINUES TO IMPRESS ON THE MOUND: Sophomore righthander Kevin Shrout, who has pitched both as a starter and in relief, has been one of the Cavaliers’ top pitchers this season. Against Liberty, in his first start of the season, he allowed only three earned runs and five hits in seven innings of work while striking out a career-high 10 batters. In his previous two appearances, against Georgia Tech and William & Mary, Shrout threw 3-1/3 innings without allowing a baserunner and striking out four. For the season, Shrout now stands 3-0 with one save, a 2.29 earned run average and 25 strikeouts in 19-2/3 innings. During his two year career, Shrout has a 3.25 ERA and has not allowed a home run in 52-2/3 innings.
GILLELAND KEEPS DRIVING IN RUNS: Senior second baseman Ryan Gilleland, who has been a top run producer for the Cavaliers throughout his UVa career, is off to another excellent start this year. Gilleland has the second best batting average on the team at .342, while ranking third on the team in both home runs (four) and runs batted in (19). During his four year career, Gilleland now has a total of 142 RBI to rank fourth all-time at UVa. He needs to drive in 25 more runs this season to become the all-time school leader, a mark which is currently held by Bill Narleski (166 RBI / 1984-87).
LOPEZ DOING IT ALL: Junior Javier Lopez has been one of the most valuable players for the Cavaliers so far this season, making important contributions both at the plate and on the mound. As a pitcher Lopez stands 3-0 on the year with a 5.40 earned run average, to go along with 26 strikeouts in 33-1/3 innings. Lopez has also come up big at the plate, leading the team in home runs with seven and ranking second in runs batted in with 20. Lopez is batting .324 on the season, with a .676 slugging percentage.
OUCH, THAT HURTS: Sophomore shortstop Tim LaVigne appears to be well on his way to breaking the school record for most times being hit-by-pitch in a season. LaVigne has already been hit eight times this season, accounting for half of the times a Cavalier batter has been hit all season. He is quickly closing in on the single season record of 12, set by Terry Dan in 1972. If he keeps getting hit at his current rate, LaVigne might even break the UVa career record of 20, set by Justin Counts from 1993-96.
SCHEDULE CHANGES: Please note that the game at Radford, scheduled for Mar. 3, was postponed due to the weather. The game will be made up on Monday, Apr. 20, at 3:00 p.m. The third game at Georgia Tech, scheduled for Mar. 8, has been cancelled. Those are currently the only changes to the schedule listed in the Virginia baseball media guide.
KNOCKS: Righthander Casey Kennedy has thrown more innings than any other UVa pitcher this season at 37-2/3. But, despite being on the mound the most, no opposing baserunner has successfully stolen a base against Kennedy … Kevin Shrout has not allowed any hits this season with two outs. Opponents have gone 0-for-19 against him with two men down … Javier Lopez has had a good deal of success against lefthanded pitching on the season. He stands 8-for-18 (.444) when there is a lefthander on the mound … Josh Bowling has come to the plate five times this year with a man on third and less than two outs. On all five occasions, Bowling has driven in the runner … Ryan Gilleland has been impressive with runners in scoring position this year, going 11-for-20 (.550). Brian Sherlock is not far being Gilleland, going 7-for-14 (.500) with men in scoring position.