Baseball Polishes Off Successful Season
June 9, 1998
UVA FINISHES WITH WINNING RECORD FOR THIRD STRAIGHT SEASON: By posting an overall mark of 28-26-1 for the 1998 season, the Cavaliers finished with a winning record for the third year in a row. Virginias 1998 performances comes after a 44-21 season in 1996 and a 32-22 mark in 1997. Prior to this year, the Cavaliers had not recorded three consecutive winning seasons since 1984-86 (UVa went 25-17 in 1984, 38-16 in 1985 and 27-22 in 1986). Next year, Virginia will look for its fourth straight winning record, something it has not done since 1978-81. The school record for most consecutive winning seasons is 13, set from 1897-1909.
SHERLOCK NAMED SECOND TEAM ALL-ECAC: Senior third baseman Brian Sherlock, who was one of the top offensive threats for the Cavaliers all year, was honored as a second team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference selection at the conclusion of the season. Sherlock started every game of the season for UVa and finished with a .351 average, including 21 multi-hit games. In addition to his .351 average on the year, Sherlock led the team in RBI with 60 and in doubles with 19. He also tied for the team lead in home runs with 10, while finishing the year with a .624 slugging percentage.
SIX SENIORS CLOSE OUT SUCCESSFUL CAREERS: Six members of the UVa baseball team saw their careers come to an end at the conclusion of the 1998 season. Seniors E.J. Anderson, Ryan Gilleland, Keith Haney, Jon Kemmerer, Ted Kinsman and Brian Sherlock all closed out their careers this year. During their four years with the Cavaliers, the group led the team to an overall record of 130-98-1 for a .570 winning percentage. The 130 victories for the graduating seniors are the most ever for a UVa class over four years.
SHERLOCK ON THE SINGLE SEASON CHARTS: Brian Sherlock nearly broke a number of UVa single season records this year, as he finished his career on the top 10 lists of five different categories. Sherlock tied the UVa single season record for doubles with 19, matching the total set by Ryan Gilleland with 19 last year. He also finished the year second on the single season lists for both runs batted in and bases on balls. Sherlock knocked in 60 runs this season, coming up only six short of Brian Buchanans record of 66 (set in 1994), while his 42 walks are second only to Justin Counts total of 54 in 1996. In addition, Sherlock finished the year fourth on the single season list for total bases with 126, while ending up 10th on the slugging percentage list at .624.
GILLELAND TIES CAREER RBI RECORD: Senior second baseman Ryan Gilleland, who was a top run producer for the Cavaliers throughout his career, tied the all-time school record for RBI during UVas final regular season game. Gilleland hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning of the May 10 contest with Florida State to give him a total of 166 RBI for his career. He tied the record which had been held by Bill Narleski, who totaled 166 RBI from 1984-87. For the season, Gilleland had a .298 batting average while ranking second on the team in RBI (43) and third in home runs (nine).
FEELING A DRAFT: On June 2, junior lefthanded pitcher Javier Lopez was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Lopez had a 5-6 record this season with 72 strikeouts and a 6.78 earned run average over 83-2/3 innings, while also batting .316 with seven homers, 31 runs batted in and 14 stolen bases. Lopez becomes the seventh UVa player to be selected in the first five rounds of the draft over the last five years. In 1994, Brian Buchanan was chosen in the first round by the New York Yankees and Yates Hall went to the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth round. In the 1996 draft, the Detroit Tigers took Seth Greisinger in the first round and Jason Sekany was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the second round. Last season, Greg Withelder was chosen by the Minnesota Twins in the third round and Pat Daneker went to the Chicago White Sox in the fifth round.
THE 200 CLUB: During the final game of the series with Wake Forest, senior third baseman Brian Sherlock became only the seventh player in school history with 200 career hits. He recorded his 200th hit in the third inning of the game with the Demon Deacons, lining an RBI single into right field. Sherlock finished his career with 208 hits and was the second player on the team to record career hit No. 200 this season, as Ryan Gilleland accomplished the feat earlier in the year. Gilleland, who finished with a total of 262 career hits, recorded his 200th when he lined a double into left field during the third inning of the South Alabama game on Feb. 14. Along with Gilleland and Sherlock, the five other UVa players with 200 career hits are Bill Narleski (281 hits / 1984-87), Adam Robinson (263 hits / 1994-97), Bobby Rivell (240 hits / 1987-90), Chris Kughn (225 hits / 1987-90) and John Galloway (223 hits / 1994-97).
SHROUT CHALKS UP THE STRIKEOUTS: During the 1998 season, Kevin Shrout had one of the best performances in school history in terms of strikeouts. Shrout finished the year with 93 strikeouts in 72-1/3 innings, for an average of 11.57 strikeouts per nine innings. With that average, he finished first in the Atlantic Coast Conference in strikeouts. Shrouts total of 93 whiffs on the season is also the sixth-highest total for strikeouts in school history.
RUEFFERT STEPS UP: Freshman Mark Rueffert, who earned a number of starts this season at both catcher and designated hitter, developed into one of the top hitters on the club. During the ACC Tournament, Rueffert went 6-fof-11 with two runs scored and an RBI. This came following a 2-for-4 performance with a double, a triple and an RBI against Florida State in the Cavaliers final regular season game. For the season, Rueffert led the team with a .362 batting average, to go along with seven doubles, three homers and 20 RBI. He has also posted an impressive .438 batting average against ACC opponents this year (including both regular season and tournament games).
ANDERSON BREAKS CAREER HOME RECORD: Senior outfielder E.J. Anderson broke the all-time UVa record for career home runs during the first game of the Clemson series on Apr. 3. Anderson hit a three-run homer to right center in the seventh to tie up the game at 7-7, giving him a total of 34 round trippers for his four-year career. He hit three more home runs over the remainder of the season, bringing his career total to 37. Prior to this season Mike Lindner held the all-time school record, as he hit 33 homers from 1987-90. During Andersons four years as a Cavalier, he hit one homer in 1995, 14 in 1996, 12 in 1997 and 10 in 1998. He is the first player in school history to hit double figure homers three straight years.
IRONMAN GILLELAND BREAKS GAMES PLAYED RECORD AGAINST MARYLAND: Senior Ryan Gilleland, who spent four seasons as a starting infielder for the Cavaliers, broke the all-time UVa record for games played during the ACC Tournament. Gilleland, who played in a total of 221 games, broke the record during Virginias second game of the tournament against Florida State. The mark had previously been held by Adam Robinson, who took part in 219 contests from 1994-97. Earlier this season, Gilleland joined Robinson as the only players in school history to take part in over 200 games.
THE DYNAMIC DUO: Senior third baseman Brian Sherlock and senior second baseman Ryan Gilleland became one of the most prolific run producing combinations in UVa history by combining to drive in 103 runs this year. Sherlock has knocked in a total of 60 runs, while Gilleland drove in 43. They are only the sixth combination in school history to total 100 RBI in a season, and came up only five RBI short of the UVa record total of 108 which was set by Gilleland and John Galloway last year. Here is a look at the all the combinations in school history to have driven in 90 or more runs:
Rank Players Year RBI 1. John Galloway (56) and Ryan Gilleland (52) 1997 108 2. Bill Narleski (53) and Jeff Booker (52) 1985 105 3. Mike Lindner (56) and Steve Cunha (48) 1990 104 4. Brian Sherlock (60) and Ryan Gilleland (43) 1998 103 Kent Savedge (53) and Bill Narleski (50) 1986 103 6. Brian Buchanan (66) and Pat Bransford (36) 1994 102 7. George Priftis (57) and Glenn Harris (41) 1982 98 8. George Priftis (46) and Mark Meleski (45) 1981 91
ANDERSON POSTS SECOND-LONGEST HITTING STREAK IN SCHOOL HISTORY: Senior outfielder E.J. Anderson, who was one of the Cavaliers top power hitters throughout his career, posted the second-longest hitting streak in school history earlier this season. Anderson had at least one hit in 21 consecutive games, from Mar. 15-Apr. 14. During that time he went 28-for-83 (.337) with four doubles, seven homers and 24 RBI. Overall this year, Anderson hit .250 with 10 homers and 37 RBI. The only player in school history with a longer streak than Anderson is Bill Narleski with a 36-game streak (including the final 16 games of 1985 and the first 20 games on 1986).
SHERLOCK REACHES BASE IN 30 STRAIGHT: While E.J. Anderson had one of the longest hitting streaks in school history earlier this season at 21 games, Brian Sherlock quietly built an impressive streak of his own this year. Sherlock reached base via hit or walk in 30 consecutive game from Mar. 21-Apr. 28. During that 30-game stretch, he went 43-for-117 (.368) with 21 walks, 12 doubles, five homers and 37 RBI. Sherlock drew a total of 42 walks on the year, giving him a team-best on-base percentage of .458. On the season, he has reached base at least once in all but three games: the loss at Georgia Tech on Mar. 7, the victory over Coppin State on Mar. 17 and the first game of the doubleheader with Florida State on May 9.
CAVALIERS GO 1-2 IN ACC TOURNAMENT: UVa was able to record only one victory before bowing out of the ACC Tournament this season. The Cavaliers downed Maryland 9-4 in 10 innings in their opening game of the tournament. Virginia scored five runs in the top of the 10th inning, capped with a two-run homer by E.J. Anderson. The next day the Cavaliers dropped a tough 4-1 game to Florida State, as Casey Kennedy took the loss despite throwing a complete game and giving up only three earned runs. Virginia was then eliminated by North Carolina State 4-1, with Javier Lopez allowing only three runs over 6-1/3 innings.
SHROUT STAYS SHARP ON THE MOUND: Sophomore righthander Kevin Shrout, who was action both as a starter and in relief, turned out to be the top pitcher for the Cavaliers this season. In the opening game of the ACC Tournament against Maryland, Shrout received a no decision after tossing six innings and allowing only two runs on four hits. With that performance, Shrout finished the season with a record of 6-4 and two saves, to go along with a 3.48 earned run average and a team-best 93 strikeouts in 72-1/3 innings. During his two year career at Virginia, Shrout has a 3.59 ERA without allowing a home run in 105-1/3 innings.
CRESWELL HAS STRONG FRESHMAN SEASON: Freshman lefthander Brandon Creswell turned out to be one of the Cavaliers most effective pitchers this season, seeing a good deal of action both as a starter and in relief. He made two appearanced out of the bullpen during the ACC Tournament and tossed 3-1/3 scoreless innings while allowing only three hits. Creswells final start of the season came against Virginia Tech on Apr. 22, when he picked up a win by tossing his first career complete game, allowing only two runs on seven hits while striking out six. For the season, Creswell had a record of 2-0 with a 3.72 earned run average, two saves and 49 strikeouts over 58 innings.
NUCKOLS IMPRESSIVE OUT OF BULLPEN: Junior righthander Bradley Nuckols was one of the top relief pitchers for the Cavaliers this year. He was particularly effective during the second half of the season, allowing only four earned runs in his final nine appearances. During that time Nuckols has picked up victories against both Clemson and North Carolina State, while striking out 21 and allowing only 12 hits in 19-1/3 innings. Overall this year, Nuckols had a 3-2 record with a 2.45 earned run average and 32 strikeouts in 25 innings.
OUCH, THAT HURTS: Sophomore shortstop Tim LaVigne broke the school single season record for most times being hit-by-pitch this year. LaVigne was hit 17 times this season, more than twice as many times as the next closest Cavalier (Ted Kinsman was hit seven times). He shattered the UVa single season record of 12, which set by Terry Dan back in 1972. If he continues to get hit at that rate next season, LaVigne will break the UVa career record of 20, set by Justin Counts from 1993-96, early in 1999.
HEAD COACH DENNIS WOMACK: UVa head coach Dennis Womack, just concluded his 18th season with the Cavaliers, has a career record of 468-451-6. In 1996, he led Virginia to a school record 44 victories, its first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Championship and its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers also finished the 96 season ranked No. 14 in the nation by Baseball America, their highest ever national-ranking. Womack picked up the 450th victory of his career on Mar. 4, 1998, when the Cavaliers posted an 18-4 win over William & Mary.
CAVALIERS ON THE NET: Up-to-date information on the University of Virginia baseball team is now available on the internet at http://www.virginiasports.com. The site includes the Cavaliers roster, schedule, results, player profiles, statistics, releases, game stories and historical information. Game stories will be updated on a timely basis following the completion of each contest. Updated statistics will be posted each Monday during the season.
THE COMEBACK KIDS: In its 28 victories this season, Virginia came from behind to win 17 times. Each of the teams last four wins were comebacks, against Maryland, VCU, Virginia Tech and James Madison. The most impressive comeback in that stretch came against James Madison on Apr. 21, as the Cavaliers were down 7-5 heading to the bottom of the ninth before scoring three runs for an 8-7 victory.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Cavaliers once again had a very successful record at home this season, winning 17 of the 29 games they played 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 55-25 at home over the last three seasons.
CAVALIERS ON THE THE AIR: WINA / 1070 AM, the Home of the Hoos, carried four Virginia baseball games on radio this season. Former UVa lefthanded pitcher Robby Robinson handled the play-by-play, while Rob Shaffer provided color commentary. The Cavaliers went 2-2 in games broadcast by WINA this season. UVa downed St. Johns 4-1 on Apr. 18 and posted a 3-2 victory against Virginia Tech on Apr. 22, while falling to Wake Forest 13-4 on Apr. 25 and losing to Florida State 5-4 on May 9.
KNOCKS: Both Brian Sherlock and Ryan Gilleland were named honorable mention all-state by the Virginia College Sports Information Directors The Cavaliers finished with a total of 109 doubles as a team in 1998. This marks the fifth consecutive season Virginia has hit at least 100 doubles UVa stole only 36 bases in its first 36 games this season. But over the last 16 games the Cavaliers swiped 43 bases, raising their season total to 79 Brian Sherlock went 29-for-69 (.420) this season with runners in scoring position Opponents hit only .206 against Kevin Shrout this season, giving him an opponent batting average of .203 during his collegiate career.