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February 18, 1999

Virginia vs. Penn State
University of Virginia Baseball Field
Charlottesville, Virginia

Cavaliers open home schedule with Penn State: Virginia will open its 1999 home slate this weekend, hosting Penn State of the Big Ten for a three-game series. The Cavaliers and Nittany Lions will play a doubleheader Saturday at noon with the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m. This weekend will open the season for Penn State, while UVA has six games under its belt. The two teams have met 15 times with PSU holding a slim 7-6-2 advantage. However, after Penn State jumped out to a 7-2-2 lead in the series, the Cavaliers have won the last four meetings, including a three-game sweep in Charlottesville last season. This will be the third consecutive year that the Lions have opened with Virginia.Penn State1998 Record: 28-241999 Record: 0-01998 Final Rankings: noneHead Coach (Record at PSU): Joe Hindelang (203-197-2; 8 seasons)Penn State-UVA Series: Penn State leads 7-6-2Last Meeting: Virginia, 8-4 in Charlottesville (1998)UVA in home openers: The Cavaliers are 16-1-1 in home openers under head coach Dennis Womack. UVA has won seven consecutive such games since battling to a 5-5 tie with Liberty in 1991. The only loss under Womack in a home opener was in 1989 agaisnst Virginia Commonwealth (6-2). This will be the second consecutive year the Cavaliers have opened their home schedule with Penn State. Last season, the Wahoos knocked off the Nittany Lions 5-2 in their first home game of the year.

Creswell named ACC Co-Pitcher of the Week: Sophomore lefty Brandon Creswell was named co-pitcher of the week in the Atlantic Coast Conference this week following one of the best performances of his career. The Southpaw struck out a career-high 11 batters in UVA’s 5-1 victory over The Citadel on its home field Friday night in first-day action of the Winn-Dixie Shootout. Creswell tossed the second complete game of his career and scattered six hits with only one walk. He held the Bulldogs scoreless for seven innings before giving up a scratch run in the eighth. Creswell struck out five batters in the final three innings to nail down his career high and the victory.

Benick named to all-Shootout Team: Creswell’s chances at all-Shootout honors were squelched when East Carolina’s Foye Minton hurled a no-hitter against North Carolina State in Game 8 Sunday afternoon. However, sophomore Jonathan Benick did display enough gusto on the weekend to be named to the team. After blasting an RBI double off the right-center wall against The Citadel, Benick went on to hit .545 (6-for-11) on the weekend. With a hit in all three games, the first baseman/catcher has hit safely in every game this season. Benick is in his first season at Virginia after transferring from Auburn.

Cavs slow out of the blocks: Part of the Cavaliers problems in scoring runs this season (3.9 per nine innings) has been their inability to get the leadoff batter on board. In 53 innings, UVA’s leadoff batter has reached safely just 10 times (18.9 percent). Meanwhile, opponents have put their leadoff batter on the paths in 29 of 53 innings (54.7 percent).

UVA experiencing scoring drought: With only 23 runs in six games, the Cavaliers rank eighth in the ACC in runs scored per game. Only N.C. State at 3.3 runs per nine innings ranks lower. More than half of UVA’s runs (12) came in a victory over Oklahoma. Take away that game and the Wahoos are scoring a paltry 2.2 plate-crossings per contest. On top of that, UVA has scored in just 10 of 53 innings this season (18.9 percent). Only three times (twice against Oklahoma and once against The Citadel) have the Cavs scored more than one run in an inning. This past weekend, UVA scored only seven runs in three games – plating a run in just three of 20 innings.

Withelder named all-tournament: For his two-run, two-hit performance over five innings of work against then-No. 32 Oklahoma, sophomore lefty Greg Withelder was named to the all-tournament team at the ACC/Disney Blast. The only Cavalier on the 11-man team, Withelder surrendered both runs and both hits in the first inning of Sunday’s game. He then pitched four innings of no-hit, scoreless baseball and picked up the first win of the season for the Cavaliers. Auburn’s Chris Bootcheck joined Withelder as the only pitchers on the team.

Season-opener streak snapped: All good things must come to an end, and for the Virginia baseball team last weekend was the time. For the first time in a decade, the Cavaliers lost their season-opener when the Jacksonville Dolphins downed the Wahoos 13-2 in first-day action of the ACC/Disney Blast. UVA is 8-1-1 in its last 10 season openers, which included a quaint seven-game winning streak and a nine-game non-losing streak prior to this season. In 1991, Virginia and Liberty battled to a 5-5 tie before darkness suspended the game. Ironically, the Cavs also tied their second game that season, again 5-5, this time to Radford. The Wahoos’ last loss in a season opener was a 6-2 defeat by VCU in 1989.

Floyd out for three to four: Freshman center fielder Mike Floyd caught a bad break in the third inning of the game against Auburn. The Severna Park, Md., native, who had already made one dazzling, diving catch in center the day before against Jacksonville, dove for a ball in the gap against the Tigers. Not only was not able to come up with another spectacular catch, he fractured two bones in his left hand (catching hand). Floyd is expected to be out three to four weeks due to the injury.

Youngsters looking sharp at the plate: Several freshmen and sophomores are making strong statements to head coach Dennis Womack in the early season about starting jobs. Two in particular, freshmen outfielders Ryan Kalamaya and Shawn McCleary, have made the biggest impression. The two near the top on the team in batting average and virtually every other offensive category. McCleary, a native of Dover, Pa., is hitting .357 on the young campaign and is second on the team with three RBI. Kalamaya, who hails from Longmont, Colo., is hitting .294 with two run scored and one RBI. He looks to be the man to fill the shoes of injured center fielder Mike Floyd, another true freshman, who will miss three to four weeks due to injury.

LaVigne working on saves mark: Junior closer Tim LaVigne is creeping toward the school record for saves. After notching three as a freshman in 1997, LaVigne led the squad for a second consecutive season with six last year. His nine saves ranks second all-time at UVA, just four shy of Todd Ruyak’s 13 amassed from 1989 through 1992.

    Player          Sv   Seasons    1. Todd Ruyak   13   1989-92    2. Tim LaVigne   9   1997-98    3. Greg Haden    8   1976-79

Should LaVigne lead the team in saves again this season, he would be the first Cavalier to top the team in that category for three consecutive seasons since Ruyak in 1990, 1991 and 1992. No other UVA player has ever accomplished that feat.

Cavs try for four in a row: UVA’s 28-26-1 record last season marked the third consecutive winning tally for the Cavaliers. It was the first time the Wahoos have accomplished this since the 1984-86 seasons. Over this three-year span, Virginia is 104-69-2. The last time the Cavaliers posted four consecutive winning seasons was in the 1978-81 seasons. UVA’s record for consecutive winning marks is 13, set in the 1897-1909 seasons.

LaVigne, Creswell preseason picks by Collegiate Baseball: Junior shortstop Tim LaVigne and sophomore lefthander Brandon Creswell were named Preseason Players to Watch in the ACC by Collegiate Baseball. LaVigne hit .262 with five home runs and 20 RBI last season to go along with seven steals in seven attempts. He was also 2-4 on the mound with a 5.76 ERA and a team-leading six saves. Creswell was 2-0 with a 3.72 ERA last season as a freshman with a couple of saves. He also struck out 49 batters with only 18 walks in 58 innings of work. Creswell also had a complete game, joining Casey Kennedy, who tossed three, as the only pitchers on the UVa staff with complete games.

ACC coaches tab Cavaliers eighth: UVA was picked to finish eighth this season in the Atlantic Coast Conference in the annual preseason poll of the conference’s head coaches. Georgia Tech is the early favorite after nabbing five of nine first-place votes and 76 total points. Florida State and Wake Forest each received two of the other first-place votes; however, the Seminoles edged the Deacons 71-62 in total points to place second. North Carolina was picked fourth, followed by Clemson, Duke and North Carolina State. Maryland finished behind UVA in ninth.

UVA baseball on the air waves: WINA/1070 AM, the Home of the Hoos, will carry 15 games this season. Former UVA left-handed pitcher Robby Robinson and baseball media relations director Larry Little will be on the call. Virginia’s radio season will get under way in late March with most of the broadcasts coming on the weekends. The Cavaliers went 2-2 in games broadcast by WINA during the 1998 season.

Cavaliers on the Net: Up-to-date information on the University of Virginia baseball team is now available on the internet at 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.


    2   Shawn McCleary   LF  .357, 0, 3    1   Robbie Marvin    2B  .217, 0, 0   16   Tim LaVigne      SS  .100, 0, 2    9   Jonathan Benick   C  .458, 0, 1    8   Ryan Kalamaya    CF  .294, 0, 1   34   David Stone      RF  .160, 0, 1   13   Mark Rueffert    DH  .083, 0, 0    5   Josh Bowling     1B  .273, 0, 1   17   Luis Giraldo     3B  .200, 0, 1

Friday 14 Kevin Shrout RHP (Jr., 6-2, 210) 0-1, 6.00 ERA

Saturday 11 Brandon Creswell LHP (So., 5-9, 160) 1-0, 6.17 ERA

Sunday 29 Greg Withelder LHP (So., 6-3, 185) 1-1, 6.75 ERA

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