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Keith Werman epitomizes Virginia Baseball. He swings a good bat. He’s quick. He is strong defensively. Most importantly, he is all about the team and doing anything it takes to make UVa better. A year after being one of the key components to the Cavaliers’ 2009 run to Omaha, Werman upped his performance by batting a team-best .414 – the fifth-best mark in school history – while committing only two errors in the field. For his efforts Werman was voted second-team All-ACC by the conference’s coaches. The slick fielder is back in his usual position at second base this year as the Cavaliers open the 2011 season against UAB in the Auburn Tournament on Friday.

What was your focus in the offseason?

I stayed here for the summer, took some classes and worked out to get a little stronger. During the fall season it’s our team. We work together; we practice with each other and see each other every day. With that aspect it’s nice and it’s fun. Coming into January, coming back into school, you have classes and we are playing against each other all the time. It’s going to be nice to play some other people.

As a component of the offseason, what impact does the Iron Cavalier Challenge have on individuals and the team?

The Iron Cavalier Challenge is very tough; it is probably one of the most difficult things that a college athlete has to go through within athletics. From a personal standpoint, it pushes you. It makes you mentally tougher to push yourself to limits beyond what you think you can reach. That’s important with such a long season because you have to be able to push through it. For the team, we all grind it out and we understand what we are doing to help each other out. That’s a big bonding experience and it’s a great thing for us.

What are you feeling going into opening weekend?

We are really excited. You can see it on the field this week. Everybody is focused; all the details are there on the field. We had a great weekend this past weekend with intra-squads so we are all ready to go.

How has the team dynamic changed after losing so many starters from 2010?

The experience on the field will be more shallow. We had a lot more experience last year, but the players we have had some playing time last year; they got their at bats, had their innings in there, and they’re ready to go. We are ready to get after it. I think a lot of teams aren’t expecting a lot out of us because we lost those great players, but we have a lot of great players that came in that are going to do a lot of good things for us.

What contributed to you leading the team in batting in the 2010 season?

A lot of it is having a plan every day, coming in here before the games, getting into a routine, trying to get on base and doing what you can for the team. Fortunately I was able to keep the average up there and it just happened. You can’t try to do that. It’s just hard work and it comes for you.

How is the game going to change with the change in bats?

The effect of those bats is going to be that the bigger home run teams are going to struggle a little bit. You’re going to see a lot more stolen bases, more bunting, more small-ball. I’m obviously looking forward to it because that’s my kind of game and that’s our game here at Virginia. We are all about the details and the little things. That’s what it is going to take and I am excited about it.

What should Virginia fans expect this season?
They should expect a scrappy group that is going to go out and compete every night. We are going to be tough and have that bulldog attitude. We are ready to go. It’s going to be a great season.

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