Has Derek Fisher jumpstarted #1 UVa. baseball?

derek fisherThe short answer: Derek Fisher has been as advertised. After an 0-for-3 return in a 4-2 Virginia loss to North Carolina on April 20, Fisher, a preseason All-America left fielder who missed 25 games with a broken bone in his left field, has been on fire, going 9-for-22 (.409) at the plate with two homers and six runs batted in.

More importantly than his individual numbers has been what his teammates have been able to do with him adding to the firepower in the lineup. A team that was hitting .271 in all games and just .230 in ACC action before his return has hit .298 in all games and .273 in ACC games since his return.

The biggest single beneficiary may be Mike Papi, mired in a long slump in Fisher’s absence, who in his last five games has returned to form with five hits, including two homers, six RBI and a .400 on-base percentage since Fisher’s return.

Fisher almost single-handedly beat then-#4 Florida State in the series opener in Tallahassee over the weekend, going 3-for-5 at the plate, with all three hits doubles, and knocking in the winning runs with a two-strike, two-out, two-run double off FSU closer (and Heisman Trophy winner) Jameis Winston in a 5-3 win that set the tone for the series win.

Welcome back, Mr. Fisher.


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Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

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