By Jeff White (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CHARLOTTESVILLE — His record was about the same, and his earned-run average actually improved. Still, pitcher Will Roberts wasn’t nearly as effective in his second season as in his first at UVa.
As a freshman in 2009, the 6-4, 205-pound right-hander made 10 appearances, with six starts. Roberts held batters to a .257 average, threw two wild pitches and walked only 12 in 37 innings. He finished with a 4-0 record and a 4.14 ERA.
In 11 appearances as a sophomore, including six starts, he went 3-0, with a 3.82 ERA. But Roberts walked 20 in 30⅔ innings and threw six wild pitches, and batters hit .278 against him.
“I just think he lost his command there for a stretch and lost his confidence,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said this week.
“You lose your confidence on that pitcher’s mound, it’s tough. But I think early this fall he has a lot of confidence in himself. I think he’s throwing the ball extremely well.”
Roberts, a graduate of the Maggie Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, played for the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod League this summer, an experience from which he has benefited.
“Will Roberts has pitched very well this fall,” O’Connor said. “His velocity has been really good. His command has been really good. I think that he’s come back really well.”
In an exhibition game Friday at 6 p.m., UVa hosts the Ontario Blue Jays at Davenport Field. Admission is free. From a team that needed one more win to reach the College World Series, O’Connor returns such players as Danny Hultzen, John Hicks, Keith Werman, John Barr, Tyler Wilson, Steven Proscia, Branden Kline, Kenny Swab, Stephen Bruno, Chris Taylor, Reed Gragnani and Cody Winiarski.