Cavaliers Travel to JMU, Play Host to Old Dominion
March 24, 1998
THE SLATE: Virginia (14-8 overall, 1-7 ACC) concludes a four-game road stretch when it plays at James Madison on Tuesday, Mar. 24, at 3:00 p.m. The Cavaliers then come home to face Old Dominion at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 25. Virginia will conclude the week by playing host to North Carolina 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.
THE SERIES WITH THE DUKES: Virginia and James Madison have met 38 times prior to this week, with the Cavaliers leading the all-time series 21-17. UVa had won six straight in the series before the Dukes posted an 11-9 victory in 12 innings in Charlottesville last season. The Cavaliers have won each of their last three visits to Harrisonburg, with James Madison’s last home victory over UVa being a 6-4 game in 1993.
THE SERIES WITH THE MONARCHS: Old Dominion and Virginia have played 43 times prior to this week, with the Monarchs leading the all-time series 23-19-1. Old Dominion has dominated the series over the last few years, winning six of seven games since the beginning of the 1993 season. The Cavaliers only victory over the Monarchs in that time came on Feb. 19, 1996, when UVa posted a 3-2 victory in Charlottesville.
TAKING STATE: Once again this season, the Cavaliers are off to a good start against in-state opponents. UVa has a 4-0 mark this season for in-state games, with victories over VMI, William & Mary and Liberty (twice). Since the beginning of the 1996 season, Virginia now stands 27-6 vs. other schools from within the Commonwealth, including a 13-2 mark in 1996 and a 10-4 record in 1997. UVa has posted a 16-3 mark at home against in-state schools during that time, while going 11-3 on the road.
ON THE MOUND: Freshman righthander Tommy Keiper will make his first career start against James Madison on Tuesday. Keiper has appeared in six games so far this season, posting a 1-0 record with a 6.48 earned run average and nine strikeouts in 8-1/3 innings. Sophomore righthander Kevin Shrout will then pitch against Old Dominion on Wednesday. Shrout stands 4-0 on the season with a 2.13 earned run average and 35 strikeouts in 25-1/3 innings.
UVA LOOKS TO RUN HOME WIN STREAK TO 15: Ind Wednesday’s game against Old Dominion, the Cavaliers will look to post their 15th 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 their victory over Coppin State last week, UVa won its 14th straight home game to match 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.
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 series at North Carolina State, Sherlock went 6-for-12 with a double and an RBI in each of the three games. He now leads all UVa players with a .387 batting average and 25 runs batted in, while ranking second on the team in home runs with five. Sherlock also carries an impressive .760 slugging percentage into the week, a mark which also leads the team. In addition, he has drawn a team-high 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 on the team at .337, while ranking second on the team in runs batted in (21) and third in home runs (four). During his four year career, Gilleland now has a total of 144 RBI to rank fourth all-time at UVa. He needs to drive in 23 more runs this season to become the all-time school leader, a mark which is currently held by Bill Narleski (166 RBI / 1984-87).
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. Shrout tossed 1-2/3 innings at N.C. State on Sunday, striking out two while allowing no hits and one run. In his previous appearance against Coppin State, he threw four scoreless innings while allowing only one hit and striking out eight to pick up the victory. In his first start of the season against Liberty a week earlier, Shrout allowed only three earned runs and five hits in seven innings of work while striking out a career-high 10 batters. For the season, Shrout now stands 4-0 with one save, a 2.13 earned run average and 35 strikeouts in 25-1/3 innings. During his two year career, Shrout has a 3.09 ERA and has not allowed a home run in 58-1/3 innings.
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.
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.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Cavaliers are once again on their way to having a very successful record at home this season, winning all 10 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 48-13 at home over the last three seasons.
KEMMERER COMES ON STRONG: Senior outfielder Jon Kemmerer has found his name in the starting lineup three of the last four 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 5-for-10 over the Cavaliers’ last four games with three runs scored, three RBI and a stolen base. 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.
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.
LAST YEAR’S GAMES WITH THE DUKES: In last season’s first meeting between Virginia and James Madison, the Cavaliers came from behind twice to post a 12-8 victory in Harrisonburg. Ryan Gilleland hit an RBI double in the top of the eighth inning to break an 8-8 tie and propel Virginia to victory, while Adam Robinson went 4-for-5 with five runs scored. In the second game, played in Charlottesville, James Madison rallied from a 9-6 deficit after seven innings and came back to beat the Cavaliers 11-9 in 12 innings. Greg White hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to tie up the game, while Ray Baksh drove in the winning run in the 12th.
THE LAST MEETING WITH OLD DOMINION: Virginia dropped a close 9-5 game at Old Dominion last season. The Monarchs jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Cavaliers came back with five runs in the top of the sixth. E.J. Anderson had the big hit for Virginia, knocking a three-run homer to right field to tie up the score at 5-5. Old Dominion scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the lead for good, then added one more run in the eighth to conclude the scoring.
HEAD COACH DENNIS WOMACK: UVa head coach Dennis Womack, who is in his 18th season with the Cavaliers, has a career record of 454-433-5. 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.