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December 3, 1998

CHARLOTTESVILLE – University of Virginia baseball head coach Dennis Womack couldn’t find the words to express his satisfaction with the 1998 fall signing class. According to the 18th-year skipper of the Cavalier crew, UVa was able to sign the four players listed at the top of his wish list.

Eric Christensen of Knoxville, Tenn., Ben Himes of Austin, Texas, Grant Mayer of Longmont, Colo., and Doug Vroman of Westport, Conn., will join the Cavaliers for the 2000 season. Womack expects the quartet to have an immediate impact on the program.

“The kids we have coming in definitely meet our immediate needs,” Womack said. “We were fortunate that we got the four players we most wanted to come to UVa. I expect that they will come in and play important roles for this team right away.”

Christensen, a 5-11 switch-hitting shortstop, comes to UVa from West High School in Knoxville, where he plays for head coach Chris Lindsay. “It’s hard to find a shortstop,” Womack said. “Eric runs well and has all the attributes to be a great shortstop. He is very flexible as far as learning the game and has really great skills.” A 6-3 left-handed hitting outfielder, Himes comes to UVa from Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Westlake is one of the top high school baseball programs in Texas under the direction of head coach Jim Darilek.

“Ben has a lot of potential,” Womack said. “He is a five-tool player and seems to be getting better by leaps and bounds. He will fill a need for us as a power hitter from the left side of the plate.” Womack describes Mayer as a fairly polished outfielder for Fairview High School in Longmont, Colo.

“He’s not as big as Ben, but he is still a five tool player,” Womack said. The Cavalier skipper also said to expect surprising power from the 5-10 Mayer. “Grant really needs to come in and help right away. We’re kind of thin in the outfield right now, and that’s why we made it a priority in recruiting. Grant and Ben are good additions to this team.” A 6-2 righthander, Doug Vroman is the lone pitcher of the four, but Womack warns that he may be seen in the field as well. Vroman pitches and plays the outfield at Staples High School in Westport, Conn. “He was the guy we identified at camps as the most physically impressive pitcher we’ve had in camp since I’ve been here,” Womack said. “We knew that he was the guy we wanted and we were fortunate to get him.” The Cavaliers will begin the 1999 season Jan. 29-31 at the ACC/Disney Baseball Blast. UVa, Georgia Tech and Maryland will represent the ACC and battle Jacksonville University of the Trans America Athletic Conference, Auburn University of the Southeastern Conference and the University of Oklahoma from the Big 12. The event will be held at Disney’s baseball complex in Kissimmee, Fla.

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