Four Cavaliers Named to 2016 All-ACC Team
May 23, 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Four members of the Virginia baseball team earned spots on the 2016 All-ACC Team, as voted on by the league’s 14 head coaches. Connor Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) earned first-team honors at starting pitcher to highlight the Cavaliers’ selections. Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) and Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.) were second-team picks at catcher and first base, respectively, while Ernie Clement (So., Rochester, N.Y.) was a third-team selection at second base.
The All-ACC honors were the first for each member of the Cavalier quartet.
Jones is 11-1 with a 2.05 ERA this season as Virginia’s Friday starter. He leads the ACC in innings pitched (92.1) and is tied for first in wins (11) and complete games (3). In ACC play, he owns a league-high nine wins and three complete games. Jones has been named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and also is on the watch lists for the Golden Spikes Award and National Pitcher of Year. He twice has been named ACC Pitcher of Week this year. Jones is tied with current Oakland Athletic Sean Doolittle (2005-07) for fourth in career wins at Virginia and ranks 10th at UVA with 262 2/3 innings pitched.
Thaiss is batting a team-high .378 (fifth in the ACC) while playing in each of UVA’s 54 games, including starts in all but five games behind the plate. He ranks fourth among conference players in hits (79), sixth in RBI (54), total bases (122) and slugging (.584), seventh in OBP (.474), 10th in home runs (9) and 12th in runs (49). He also leads the team with a .357 batting average and 32 RBI in ACC play. Thaiss has been named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and Johnny Bench Award and also is on the watch list for the Golden Spikes Award.
Smith is hitting .330 with six home runs, 13 doubles and 51 RBI while playing in all 54 of Virginia’s games in the cleanup slot this season. He ranks eighth in the ACC in RBI. Smith was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team last season.
Clement is batting .353 with 11 doubles, three triples and 24 RBI. He leads the ACC in hits with 83, the most hits by a Cavalier in the regular season since current Arizona Diamondback Phil Gosselin in 2010. He also ranks second in the ACC in runs with 59. That total ranks eighth in single-season history at UVA.
Virginia opens play in the 2016 ACC Baseball Championship at 11 a.m. Thursday when it takes on Clemson at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C. UVA is seeded No. 3 in the pool-play tournament, while Clemson is the No. 6 seed.