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Hultzen, Hicks, Kline earn All-American nods

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Three members of the Virginia baseball team have been named 2011 Louisville Slugger All-Americans as announced by Collegiate Baseball Thursday. Left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen (Jr., Bethesda, Md.) was awarded First-Team All-America honors while catcher John Hicks (Jr., Sandy Hook, Va.) and relief pitcher Branden Kline (So., Frederick, Md.) earned third-team recognition.

Hultzen becomes the first-ever three-time All-American in Virginia baseball history. He is 10-3 on the season, boasting a 1.59 earned run average. He has allowed 66 hits and only 16 walks while striking out 136 in 96.2 innings of work. Opponents have hit just .193 against him this year. Hultzen was named ACC Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season, marking the first time an ACC pitcher has received the honor twice. He also is a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy.

Hicks has paced the Cavalier offense this season, leading Virginia in hits (80), multi-hit games (26) and multi-RBI games (13). He has performed defensively as well, recording a .991 fielding percentage on the year. Hicks was named to the All-ACC First Team as well as a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, which is bestowed upon the nation’s top catcher.

Kline has recorded 17 saves after making the transition into the closer role this season. His 17 saves lands him third nationally in the category. He has posted a 3-0 record and 1.85 ERA on the year as opposing batters are hitting just .202 against him. Kline was named to the All-ACC First Team as a relief pitcher and also to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List.

Virginia begins NCAA Regional play at Davenport Field this weekend. The top-seeded Cavaliers face Navy in their first contest of the weekend at 1 p.m. Friday.

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