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Jan. 4, 2002

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – University of Virginia head baseball coach Dennis Womack has announced the signing of four student-athletes to a National Letter of Intent to attend Virginia and play baseball for the Cavaliers. The student-athletes will enroll at UVa for the 2002-2003 academic year. The four individuals are: Matthew Avery (McLean, Va./Landon Prep), Michael Ballard (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes), Matthew Dunn (Jasper, Ga./Pickens County) and Ryan Zimmerman (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam).

Avery, a 6-5 right-handed pitcher, is a three-year starter in both baseball and basketball at Landon Prep. In baseball as a junior, he was named Honorable Mention All-Metropolitan by the Washington Post and was selected as a First Team All-County choice by both the the Maryland Montgomery Gazette and the Maryland Montgomery Journal. Avery was an All-IAC (Interstate Athletic Conference) selection after leading the varsity pitching staff in strikeouts, ERA and win-loss record. He also lead the varsity team in hits, batting average, home runs, RBI, runs scored, on base percentage and slugging percentage as a batter.

In 2001, Avery played baseball for the NVBA Barnstormers as a pitcher/first baseman and was a member of the Old Dominion League and Mid-Atlantic Baseball League (wood bat). He was a member of the the 2001 Connie Mack Regional and Sectional Tournament champions and was part of the Connie Mack World Series runner-up squad. Avery was named Landon’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) as a junior and Landon’s Most Valuable Pitcher as a sophomore. He was also named a 2000 American Legion All-Star and to the NVBA Barnstormers Fall Showcase Team as a pitcher/first baseman. Avery earned three letters in baseball (1999-2001) for head coach Drew Johnson as a pitcher and first baseman and gathered three letters in basketball (1999-2001) for coaches Jaye Andrews and Darryl Singleton. He also lettered once in soccer as a goalkeeper for head coach Bill Reed.

Ballard, a 6-3 left-handed pitcher, earned three letters in baseball for head coach Gary Spedden at Ocean Lakes High School. Ballard helped guide Ocean Lakes to a second place finish in the 2001 Virginia AAA State Tournament. He was named First Team All-District, All-Region and All-Tidewater while being tabbed the District Player of the Year in 2001. Ballard was also a Second Team All-State choice (2001). He also earned First Team All-Beach District honors and was named a Second Team All-Tidewater and All-Region player in 2000. Ballard set the Ocean Lakes High School ERA (earned run average) record in 2000 with a 1.17 ERA, only to shatter his own mark a year later with a school-record 0.69 ERA in 2001.

Dunn, a 5-10 infielder, earned three letters as a shortstop in baseball at Pickens County. He played two seasons for head coach Mark Loudermilk (2001, 2000) and one year for head coach Jim Dorsey (1999). Dunn also lettered three times in basketball at Pickens County. In baseball, he batted .415 as a junior after posting a .389 and .393 batting average in his sophomore and freshman seasons, respectively. In 2000, Dunn was named the Most Valuable Player for the East Cobb Stallions after he helped the squad win the USSSA and Super Series National Championship.

Zimmerman, a 6-2 shortstop, lettered three times in baseball at Kellam High School for head coach St. Clair Jones (2001) and coach Moxey (2000, 1999). In 2001, Zimmerman was named First Team All-Beach District and was selected to the Second Team All-Eastern Regional and All-Tidewater squads. As a sophomore, he was chosen as a Second Team All-Beach District selection.

Virginia compiled a record of 25-31 overall, 9-15 in the ACC during the 2001 season. The Cavaliers will open their 2002 regular season schedule with a three-game series against the Bucknell Bison on February 16-17 in Charlottesville, Virginia at the UVa Baseball Field.

University of Virginia Baseball Signees

Name			           Hometown/High School		             Position

Matthew Avery McLean, Va./Landon Prep PitcherMichael Ballard Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes PitcherMatthew Dunn Jasper, Ga./Pickens County InfielderRyan Zimmerman Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam Infielder

— UVa —

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