Baseball to Visit N.C. State Starting Friday
March 19, 1998
THE SLATE: Virginia (13-6 overall, 0-5 ACC) returns to the road this weekend, 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 will then play at James Madison on Tuesday, Mar. 24, at 3:00 p.m. The game against the Dukes will mark the end of a stretch in which the Cavaliers will have played 10 out of 12 games on the road.
THE SERIES WITH THE WOLFPACK: North Carolina State and Virginia have played 131 times prior to this weekend, with the Wolfpack leading the all-time series 77-53-1. Since Dennis Womack became the head coach at Virginia in 1981 the Cavaliers have a 20-33 mark against N.C. State. Virginia won 2-of-3 games in Charlottesville last season, but the Wolfpack evened the season series at 2-2 with a 4-2 win in the ACC Tournament. The teams also split four games in 1996, with N.C. State winning 2-of-3 in Raleigh during the regular season and the Cavaliers coming back to post a 5-1 victory in the ACC Tournament.
ON THE MOUND: Sophomore righthander Casey Kennedy (3-2, 4.30 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Cavaliers against North Carolina State in the first game of the series on Mar. 20. Junior lefthander Javier Lopez (3-0, 5.40 ERA) will then start against the Wolfpack in the second game on Mar. 21. In the final game of the series, freshman lefthander Greg Withelder (1-1, 4.38 ERA) will take the mound for Virginia.
UVA SHUTS OUT COPPIN STATE: Ten different players had hits as the Cavaliers posted a 14-0 victory over Coppin State on Tuesday, in a game which was halted in the middle of the seventh inning. Mark Rueffert led the offense by going 2-for-4 with a double and four runs batted in, while Hunter Wyant was 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Jon Kemmerer and Javier Lopez added two hits each for UVa. Kevin Shrout picked up the victory, striking out eight in four shutout innings while allowing only one hit.
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.
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 his 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 the entire 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. In the final two games of the Duke series, Sherlock went 4-for-7 with three doubles and five runs batted in. He now leads all UVa regulars with a .365 batting average and 22 runs batted in, while ranking second on the team in home runs with five. Sherlock also carries an impressive .762 slugging percentage into the weekend, 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 .488.
SHROUT CONTINUES TO IMPRESS ON THE MOUND: 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. Against Coppin State on Tuesday, he threw four scoreless innings while allowing only one hit and striking out eight to pick up the victory. The previous week against Liberty, in his first start of the season, Shrout 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 4-0 with one save, a 1.90 earned run average and 33 strikeouts in 23-2/3 innings. During his two year career, Shrout has a 3.02 ERA and has not allowed a home run in 56-2/3 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 .347, while ranking third on the team in both home runs (four) and runs batted in (20). During his four year career, Gilleland now has a total of 143 RBI to rank fourth all-time at UVa. He needs to drive in 24 more runs this season to become the all-time school leader, a mark which is currently held by Bill Narleski (166 RBI / 1984-87).
LAST YEAR’S GAMES WITH N.C. STATE: Virginia took two of three games against North Carolina State last season in a series played in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers won the series opener 6-1 as Pat Daneker threw a complete game seven hitter. The Wolfpack came back to take the second game 10-3, taking advantage of four Virginia errors for seven unearned runs. In the series finale, the Cavaliers won 5-4 as Andy Lee struck struck out nine and gave up only one run in five innings of relief. The team’s also met in the 1997 ACC Tournament, with N.C. State posting a 4-2 win behind a complete game effort from Brett Black.
CAROLINA ON MY MIND: In this weekend’s series against N.C. State, the Cavaliers will look to break a five-game losing streak against teams from the state of North Carolina. In fact, Virginia stands only 3-10 in its last 13 games against schools from Carolina, beginning with last year’s 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 year’s series with N.C. State. Virginia now has an overall record of 21-18 against teams from Carolina over the last three years.
UVA RUNS HOME WIN STREAK TO 14: With their victory over Coppin State, the Cavaliers posted 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 the victory against the Eagles, UVa has 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.
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 21. Lopez is batting .342 on the season, with a .699 slugging percentage.
PLAYING BIG IN THE ACC: Three Cavaliers have put up solid numbers in games against ACC opponents so far this season. Both Josh Bowling and Julian Gonzalez are hitting .333 in ACC action. Bowling stands 6-for-18 with two doubles, a homer and four RBI, while Gonzalez is 5-for-15 with two doubles and a homer. Ryan Gilleland has also been impressive, going 6-for-19 for a .316 average. Gilleland also has three homers and seven RBI, both team-leading marks for ACC games.
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 nine times this season, accounting for more than half of the times a Cavalier batter has been hit all season (17). 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.
HEAD COACH DENNIS WOMACK: UVa head coach Dennis Womack, who is in his 18th season with the Cavaliers, has a career record of 453-431-5. 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 victory over William & Mary.
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-25 against him with two men down.
School ACC Pct. Overall Pct.Florida State 4-0 1.000 21-7 .750North Carolina 4-1 .800 17-5 .773North Carolina State 3-1 .750 16-5 .762Duke 3-2 .600 23-3 .885Georgia Tech 3-2 .600 14-7 .667Wake Forest 2-3 .400 16-7 .696Clemson 0-0 .000 21-2 .913Virginia 0-5 .000 13-6 .684Maryland 0-5 .000 4-11-1 .281Through games of March 18