Cavalier Baseball Season In Review
The 2009 Virginia baseball season was one for the ages. Entering the season, the Cavaliers were a green squad, full of question marks but loaded with talent. But they never backed down from a challenge and proceeded to put up the best season in Virginia baseball history.
Head coach Brian O’Connor’s Cavaliers posted a 49-15-1 record, setting a school record for wins. UVa went 16-11-1 in the ACC, finishing fourth in the Coastal Division before catching fire in postseason play. UVa swept through the ACC Baseball Championship and NCAA Irvine Regional and then won two of three games against Ole Miss at the Oxford Super Regional to clinch the program’s first-ever trip to the College World Series.
The offense exploded this year, posting a .327 batting average – third highest in school history. UVa also racked up a school-record 507 runs, shattering the previous record of 467, set in 1985. Virginia obliterated the school hits record with 767, topping the old mark of 687, set in 2006. After hitting just 25 home runs in 2008, the Cavaliers belted 59 this season – fourth most in UVa history. In all, the Cavaliers broke six offensive team records and 11 total.
The pitching was impressive as well, recording a 3.23 earned run average – third-best nationally. The Cavaliers struck out a school-record 593 batters, led by freshman Danny Hultzen, who fanned 107 batters – most ever by a UVa rookie.
The Cavaliers led the ACC in batting, ERA and stolen bases (119). UVa is just the second team in league history to lead the conference in all three categories since Maryland did so in 1954 – the first year of existence for the ACC.
The year was full of exciting wins, including seven rallies from deficits of three or more runs. On April 11, UVa trailed Georgia Tech, 10-5 heading into the ninth inning in Atlanta but bounced back to score six in the ninth to earn an 11-10 win over the Yellow Jackets. On May 9, the Cavaliers rebounded from a 9-3 deficit in the eighth inning to down Duke, 10-9. UVa went 14-5 from that point on.
The Cavaliers’ tournament run began with four wins in four days at the ACC Baseball Championship. In addition to defeating Duke, UVa knocked off three teams that would play host to NCAA regionals the following week – Clemson, North Carolina and Florida State. In the championship game, Virginia scored three runs in the ninth inning to break a 3-all tie and down Florida State, 6-3, to win the program’s first league title since 1996. Outfielder Dan Grovatt was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after going 8-for-15 (.533) in the four games.
UVa opened the NCAA tournament at the NCAA Irvine Regional. The Wahoos rode the backs of their pitching staff to nab three straight wins and earn their first-ever regional title. In the regional, the Cavaliers surrendered just two runs – the fewest runs allowed in an NCAA regional since the tournament shifted to a 64-team format in 1999. UVa topped MLB No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg and San Diego State in the opener before defeating top-ranked UC Irvine twice on the Anteaters’ home field to secure the title. Catcher Franco Valdes was named the regional’s Most Outstanding Player.
Virginia traveled to Ole Miss the next week for the Oxford Super Regional. The Cavaliers lost the opener on a 12th inning, walkoff home run but rebounded to silence the partisan crowds of 10,000-plus in the final two games to grab two wins and the berth in the College World Series in Omaha. UVa rallied from a run down with one out in the eighth inning of Game 2 to notch a 4-3 win, then used a strong staff pitching outing in Game 3 to win, 5-1.
The Wahoos made their Omaha debut on June 13 at Rosenblatt Stadium against LSU and played a tight game before giving up three runs in the eighth inning in a 9-5 loss. UVa rebounded to earn their first CWS, eliminating Cal State Fullerton, 7-5, before suffering a 4-3, 12-inning loss to Arkansas to conclude the season. Shortstop Tyler Cannon was named to the CWS All-Tournament team after going 6-for-10 with a .733 on base percentage in the three games.
While several Virginia players had big seasons, two in particular stood out and were recognized as All-Americans – outfielder Jarrett Parker and pitcher/first baseman Danny Hultzen.
Parker, a unanimous All-American in the national awards circuit, was a First-Team All-ACC pick this season after putting up record-setting numbers. He finished with a .355 batting average with 16 home runs and 65 runs batted in. He also had 20 stolen bases while playing in all 65 of Virginia’s games.
Parker set the Virginia single-season records in runs (75), hits (94) and total bases (176) and tied the record for triples (7). He also ranks among the top 10 in UVa single-season history in doubles (20 – T4th), home runs (16 – T3rd) and RBI (65 – 3rd).
Hultzen was a two-way standout for the Cavaliers this season. The first ACC Freshman of the Year in Virginia history, Hultzen saw time at pitcher, first base, left field and designated hitter this year while earning a slot on the All-ACC First Team. On the mound, he posted a 9-1 record with a 2.17 ERA in 17 games (16 starts). In 95 innings, Hultzen recorded 107 strikeouts, which is a Virginia freshman record and also ranks sixth overall in UVa history. His 16 starts tied a Virginia single-season record, while his total of nine wins is tied for sixth in the Virginia annals. Hultzen also hit .327 with three homers and 37 RBI.
• Virginia advanced to the College World Series for the first time in program history. UVa won the NCAA Irvine Regional and Oxford Super Regional – the program’s first NCAA regional and super regional championships.
• UVa defeated Clemson, UNC, Duke and Florida State to win the ACC Baseball Championship – the third ACC crown in school history.
• The Cavaliers won a school-record 49 games, while posting a record .761 winning percentage.
• Brian O’Connor was named the NCBWA National Coach of the Year.
• UVa led the ACC in batting (.327), ERA (3.23) and stolen bases (119) – the first school since Maryland in 1954 to lead the ACC in all three categories.
• The Cavaliers set 11 team school records, including hits (767), runs (507) and strikeouts (593).
• Jarrett Parker became a force, batting .355 with 16 home runs and 65 RBI. He set a UVa single-season record with 94 hits and was a unanimous All-American.
• Danny Hultzen emerged as a two-way threat, leading the ACC in ERA (2.17) while hitting .327. He became the first ACC Freshman of the Year in program history.
• UVa more than doubled its home run output from 2008 and had its most homers (59) since 2002.
• Nine of the Cavaliers’ regular starters hit .292 or better.
• Virginia opened the season with 19-consecutive wins – the longest winning streak in school history and the fifth-longest in ACC history.
• The Cavaliers earned a school-record 49 wins despite an everyday lineup which regularly featured at least seven underclassmen.
• Even with 49 wins, the season was full of near-misses – 10 of the Cavaliers’ 15 losses came by one run.
2009 Honors and Awards
ABCA/Rawlings All-America Team
Danny Hultzen, first team (Utility)
Jarrett Parker, second team (Outfield)
Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger All-America Team
Jarrett Parker, OF, third team
NCBWA All-America Team
Danny Hultzen, second team
Jarrett Parker, second team
NCBWA Freshman All-America Team
Danny Hultzen, UTL, first team
Rivals.com All-America Team
Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America Team
ABCA All-Atlantic Region First Team
Danny Hultzen, pitcher
Jarrett Parker, outfield
All-ACC First Team
Tyler Cannon, Shortstop
Phil Gosselin, Second Base
Dan Grovatt, Outfield
Danny Hultzen, Utility (1B/SP)
Jarrett Parker, Outfield
ACC Freshman of the Year
ACC Baseball Championship All-Tournament Team
Dan Grovatt, OF (MVP)
Danny Hultzen, UTL/DH
Franco Valdes, C
ACC Pitcher of the Week
Danny Hultzen, March 16
ACC Weaver-James-Corrigan Honorary Award
Brooks Wallace Award Watch List
College World Series All-Tournament Team
Tyler Cannon, shortstop
ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District
Andrew Carraway, first team
NCAA Irvine Regional All-Tournament Team
Phil Gosselin, DH
Danny Hultzen, P
Jarrett Parker, OF
Steven Proscia, 3B
Franco Valdes, C (MOP)
NCBWA National Coach of the Year
Pitcher of Year Watch List