Baseball Takes on Tar Heels
March 26, 1998
Virginia (15-9 overall, 1-7 ACC) continues a five-game road stretch as it takes on North Carolina this weekend in a three-game series from Mar. 27-29. The Cavaliers and the Tar Heels will play at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Virginia will then conclude its current homestand when it plays host to Virginia Commonwealth on Tuesday, Mar. 31, at 3:00 p.m.
THE SERIES WITH THE TAR HEELS:
North Carolina and Virginia have played 232 times prior to this weekend, with the Tar Heels leading the all-time series 148-80-4. North Carolina won two of three games in Chapel Hill last season, while the Cavaliers took two of three in Charlottesville two years ago. Prior to that, the Tar Heels had won nine straight in the series. The 1996 season marked the first time the Cavaliers had won the regular season series with the Tar Heels since ACC teams started playing three times a season in 1987.
ON THE MOUND:
Sophomore righthander Casey Kennedy (3-3, 5.48 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Cavaliers against North Carolina in the first game of this weekends series on Mar. 27. Freshman lefthander Greg Withelder (1-1, 5.40 ERA) will then start against the Tar Heels in the second game on Mar. 28. In the final game of the series, junior lefthander Javier Lopez (3-1, 5.77 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for Virginia.
SHERLOCK RAISES AVERAGE TO .400:
Senior third baseman Brian Sherlock, who has been one of the main reasons for the Cavaliers success so far this season, improved his batting average to .400 in Wednesdays game with Old Dominion. Sherlock went 3-for-5 against the Monarchs with two doubles, a home run and three RBI. Over the last five games, he has now gone 11-for-22 with five doubles, a homer and seven RBI. In addition to his .400 average on the year, Sherlock leads the team in runs batted in with 29 while ranking second on the squad in home runs with six. Sherlock also carries an impressive .788 slugging percentage into the weekend, a mark which also leads the team. In addition, he has drawn 19 walks on the year, giving him the best on-base percentage on the squad at .495.
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 having another excellent season. Gilleland has the second-best batting average among UVa regulars at .333, while ranking second on the team in runs batted in (22) and third in home runs (four). During his four year career, Gilleland now has a total of 145 RBI to rank fourth all-time at UVa. He needs to drive in 22 more runs this season to become the all-time school leader, a mark which is currently held by Bill Narleski (166 RBI / 1984-87).
Through 24 games this season, the Cavaliers have totaled 56 doubles, for an average of 2.33 per game. Leading the way is Josh Bowling with 12 doubles, while Brian Sherlock is not far behind with 11. Both players have a chance to break the school single season record of 19, which was set by Ryan Gilleland last season. Gilleland, who has seven doubles so far this year, is also closing in on the UVa career record of 52 doubles, set by Bill Narleski from 1984-87. Gilleland currently ranks fourth in doubles with 45, while Sherlock is not far behind as he ranks eighth with 40 career doubles. If Bowling, Gilleland, Sherlock and company keep hitting doubles at their current rate, the Cavaliers could break the school single season team record for doubles, which is currently held by the 1985 squad with 125.
KEMMERER COMES ON STRONG:
Senior outfielder Jon Kemmerer has found his name in the starting lineup four of the last five games and has responded with some outstanding performances at the plate. Kemmerer, who has started both in left field and at designated hitter, has gone 8-for-17 over the Cavaliers last six games with six runs scored, five RBI and four stolen bases. Kemmerer also hit a pair of doubles in the final game of the N.C. State series, marking the first two extra base hits of his career. Prior to last week, Kemmerer had only 11 hits and three RBI in his entire UVa career.
HOME SWEET HOME:
The Cavaliers are once again on their way to having a very successful record at home this season, winning 10 of the 11 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 48-14 at home over the last three seasons.
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 10 times this season, accounting for nearly half of the times a Cavalier batter has been hit all season (21). 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.
ANDERSON FINDING THE POWER:
Senior outfielder E.J. Anderson, who struggled at the plate early in the season, has started to produce offensively over the last few weeks. He is currently on a seven-game hitting streak, tying the longest of his career, during which he has gone 8-for-28 with two doubles, two home runs and six RBI. With his two home runs during this streak, Anderson is now tied for second all-time at UVa in career homers with 30 (Brian Buchanan also hit 30 from 1992-94). Anderson should become the Cavaliers all-time leader before the end of the season, as he now trails only Mike Lindner (33 homers / 1987-90).
BOWLING STEPS INTO THE CLEAN-UP SPOT:
With Javier Lopez missing the last four games due to injury, sophomore catcher Josh Bowling have taken over the fourth spot in the UVa batting order. After going 0-for-3 in his first game as the clean-up hitter, Bowling has gone 5-for-12 with three doubles, a home run and six RBI in the last three contests. His biggest game came at James Madison, where he was 3-for-4 with a double, a homer and four runs batted in. For the season, Bowling is now hitting .291 with 12 doubles, two homers and 19 RBI, along with a .519 slugging percentage. In only 22 games played this year, Bowling has already bettered is totals in runs scored, hits and RBI from the entire 1997 season.
WYANT MAKES THE MOST OF HIS CHANCES:
Over the last week and a half, freshman infielder Hunter Wyant has been given a chance to play on a regular basis. In that short period of time, Wyant is beginning to establish himself as an outstanding hitter for the Cavaliers. Over the last six games, in which he has started five times, Wyant stands 8-for-19 with four doubles, two stolen bases and two RBI. He has also recorded three hits in a game twice, against both Coppin State and James Madison. Wyant is now batting .346 on the season, while making only one error in 39 defensive chances at first base, second base and shortstop.
SHROUT KEEPS ON PITCHING WELL:
Sophomore righthander Kevin Shrout, who has seen action both as a starter and in relief, has been one of the Cavaliers top pitchers this season. Shrout suffered his first loss of the season against Old Dominion on Wednesday, allowing five earned runs in 6-1/3 innings while striking out eight. In his previous appearance, Shrout tossed 1-2/3 innings at N.C. State last Sunday, striking out two while allowing no hits and one run. Earlier last week against Coppin State, he threw four scoreless innings while allowing only one hit and striking out eight to pick up the victory. For the season, Shrout now stands 4-1 with one save, a 3.13 earned run average and a team-best 43 strikeouts in 31-2/3 innings. During his two year career at Virginia, Shrout has a 3.48 ERA without allowing a home run in 64-2/3 innings.
IRONMAN GILLELAND CLOSING IN ON 200TH GAME:
Senior Ryan Gilleland, now in his fourth season as a starting infielder for the Cavaliers, will play his 200th game in a UVa uniform during the next few weeks. Entering this weekend, Gilleland has played in 190 career games, starting every time. When he plays in his 200th game, Gilleland will become only the second player in school history to reach that mark. The only other player in school history to have played in 200 games is Adam Robinson, who took part in 219 contests from 1994-97. If Gilleland plays in every game the rest of the season (barring any rain outs), he would break Robinsons record during the Florida State series.
HOME WINNING STREAK COMES TO AN END:
In Wednesdays loss to Old Dominion, the Cavaliers was their 14-game winning streak at UVa Field come to an end. Prior to that game, Virginia had not lost at home since Apr. 25, 1997, when Duke posted a 4-1 victory over the Cavaliers. The 14 straight home wins matched the longest-ever home winning streak at UVa Baseball Field. The Cavaliers won 14 consecutive home games once before, with that streak 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.
LAST YEARS GAMES WITH NORTH CAROLINA:
Virginia lost two out of three games against North Carolina last season, in a series played in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels won the opener 6-4 behind a six-hit complete game from lefthander Scott McAllister. The Cavaliers came back to win the second game 13-2 as Casey Kennedy threw a seven-hit complete game, while E.J. Anderson and Ryan Gilleland both had a homer and three RBI. North Carolina won the rubber game 11-9 in 12 innings, with Jarrett Shearin hitting a two-run homer in the 12th to end the game.
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.
CAROLINA ON MY MIND:
In this weekends series against North Carolina, the Cavaliers will look to win consecutive games against teams from the state of North Carolina for the first time since last March. Even with its victory over N.C. State last Sunday, Virginia stands only 4-12 in its last 16 games against schools from Carolina, beginning with last years series at Wake Forest. Prior to that series the Cavaliers had a string of success against North Carolina schools, going 18-8 from the beginning of the 1996 season through last years series with N.C. State. Virginia now has an overall record of 21-18 against teams from Carolina over the last three years.
CAVALIERS FALL TO OLD DOMINION:
Brian Sherlock went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a homer and three RBI, but Virginia came up just short in a 7-6 loss to Old Dominion on Wednesday. Ian Rauls led the Monarchs with a 3-for-4 performances at the plate, while both Anthony Forelli and Jason Greiner both went 2-for-4. Andy Lee allowed two runs on three hits in 4-1/3 innings of relief to pick up the victory for Old Dominion.
VIRGINIA DOWNS JAMES MADISON:
Josh Bowling was 3-for-4 with a double, a homer and four RBI as the Cavaliers posted an 11-3 victory over James Madison on Tuesday. Hunter Wyant also went 3-for-4, while Jon Kemmerer, Brian Sherlock and Ryan Gilleland all had two hits. Tommy Keiper allowed three runs in five innings to pick up the victory in his first career start, while Brandon Creswell tossed four innings of scoreless relief to earn his first save.
CAVALIERS DROP TWO OF THREE AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE:
Virginia lost the first two games of its three game set at N.C. State last weekend, but came back to win the finale and post its first ACC victory of the season. The Wolfpack won the opening game 14-2, with Kurt Blackmon allowing only five runs and two hits in seven innings while striking out nine. N.C. State then held on for a 6-5 victory in the second game, with the Cavaliers Julian Gonzalez being thrown out at the plate to end the game, as he was attempting to score from first on a double by Hunter Wyant. In the final game, Virginia exploded for eight runs in the top of the third inning on the way to a 9-7 win, as Brian Sherlock went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Jon Kemmerer hit a pair of doubles.