UVA’s Kirby, Howard named to All-America baseball team

uva-logo-new2UVA’s Nathan Kirby (So., Midlothian, Va.) and Nick Howard (Jr., Olney, Md.) were named to the 2014 Louisville Slugger All-America Team, announced Thursday by Collegiate Baseball. Kirby was a first-team selection, while Howard was a third-team pick.

The ACC Co-Pitcher of the Year and a First-Team All-ACC honoree, Kirby is the sixth Cavalier to earn a spot on the first team of Louisville Slugger’s All-America Team and the first since Danny Hultzen in 2011. Kirby is 8-1 with an ACC-low 1.48 earned run average in 91 1/3 innings this season. He also leads the league in opponent batting average (.180), ranks third in wins (8) and fifth in strikeouts (93).

Kirby has recorded a quality start (six innings pitched, three runs or fewer allowed) in 13 of his 14 starts this year. On April 4, he fired a no-hitter at Pittsburgh while striking out 18 batters, which was one off the school and ACC records. It was just the fifth no-hitter in the last 50 years for a UVa pitcher. Kirby also was recently named to the 2014 U.S. Collegiate National Team.

Howard earned third-team All-America honors as a relief pitcher after being tabbed as First-Team All-ACC at utility. He has been dominant in his first year as Virginia’s closer, recording 18 saves, which is tied for the single-season school record and one shy of the ACC single-season record, set by North Carolina’s Michael Morin in 2012.

Howard owns a 2-1 record with a 2.22 ERA in 26 games, all in relief. In 28 1/3 innings, he has struck out 50 while limiting his opponents to a .180 batting average. He also has batted in 43 games and owns a .261 batting average and 20 RBI.

Seeded third in the field, Virginia begins NCAA tournament play at 2 p.m. Friday when it plays host to Bucknell in the NCAA Charlottesville Regional at Davenport Field.

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