Virginia baseball opens 2018 season this weekend in Orlando
The 2018 Virginia baseball season begins on Friday (Feb. 16) with three games in three days at John Euliano Park on the campus of UCF. The Cavaliers open the year against the host Knights before squaring off against Samford on Saturday (Feb. 17) and Rice on Sunday (Feb. 18).
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Virginia – LHP Daniel Lynch (7-5, 5.00 ERA, 77.1 IP, 29 BB, 45 SO)
UCF – RHP Chris Williams (5-4, 2.65 ERA, 78.0 IP, 20 BB, 48 SO)
Virginia – RHP Derek Casey (5-2, 3.79 ERA, 71.1 IP, 21 BB, 58 SO)
Samford – RHP Stephen Jones (4-3, 5.27 ERA, 56.1 IP, 37 BB, 44 SO)
Virginia – RHP Evan Sperling (3-3, 7.51 ERA, 38.1 IP, 30 BB, 44 SO)
Rice – RHP Addison Moss (3-2, 6.30 ERA, 40.0 IP, 20 BB 28 SO)
VIRGINIA BASEBALL TURNS 130
- Virginia will commence its 130th season of baseball in 2018.
- The program has accumulated 2,297 wins and owns an all-time winning percentage of .570.
OPENING DAY UNDER O’CONNOR
- Virginia is 35-8-1 in opening weekends during Brian O’Connor’s 14 years as head coach.
- Last season, Virginia took all three games in a season-opening tournament in Charleston, S.C., defeating Liberty (10-2), The Citadel (10-6) and Kansas (9-6).
- Virginia has won its last three season openers and has picked up wins in all but three opening games under O’Connor.
- The Cavaliers have opened up on the road every year since 2010 and this weekend will be their first non-conference regular season games in Florida since 1995.
HOOS IN THE RANKINGS
- For the third-straight season, Virginia was picked by the ACC coaches to finish second in the Coastal Division, a spot they occupied at the conclusion of the 2017 season after an 18-12 record in league play.
- Virginia is ranked in all five of the major college baseball national preseason polls and come in as high as No. 15 in the Baseball America poll.
- The Cavaliers are ranked 18th in both the USA Today Coaches Poll and National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America preseason rankings. Virginia is ranked No. 19 by D1Baseball.com and No. 16 byCollegiate Baseball.
MCCARTHY PRESEASON ACCOLADES
- Junior Jake McCarthy is a unanimous preseason All-American and garnered first team honors from D1Baseball.com and the NCBWA. He was recognized by Baseball America,Collegiate Baseball, and Perfect Game as a second team honoree.
- In addition to All-America honors, Baseball America tabbed McCarthy as the “fastest runner” on its list of players across the country with the best tools.
- McCarthy was listed on the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list. He is one of eight ACC players on the initial 55-player list. Last year, Virginia’s Adam Haseley was a finalist for the award annually bestowed on the nation’s top amateur baseball player.
RICE & VIRGINIA POSTSEASON SUCCESS
- Rice qualified for its 23rd-straight NCAA Tournament last season, the third longest active streak in the country.
- Virginia, along with Rice, is one of four teams (Florida State, Cal State Fullerton) to have been to an NCAA Regional in each of the last 14 seasons.
- Since 2003, Rice has made four trips to the College World Series and captured its only national championship in 2003.
2018 HOOS KEY FIGURES
- Virginia returns 23 letterwinners from a year ago, including three starting pitchers that made 10+ starts in 2017.
- The Cavaliers’ projected lineup will feature five returners (McCarthy, Andy Weber, Caleb Knight, Nate Eikhoff and Justin Novak) that saw action in 40 or more games last season. Novak, Weber and Charlie Cody have each appeared in 80 or more games over the course of their careers. Novak is the team’s active leader with 124 career games played.
- In his first season at the helm, UCF head coach Greg Lovelady led the Knights to the 2017 American Athletic Conference regular season championship after going 15-9 in league play and 40-22 overall.
- UCF earned an at-large bid to the 2017 NCAA Tournament, its first regional appearance since 2012.
- The Knights return infielder Rylan Thomas who was voted the American Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year.
- In the American Athletic Conference, preseason coaches poll the Knights were picked to finish third behind Houston and UCONN.
- The Bulldogs return seven starters from a 2017 team that posted a 33-26 overall record.
- After a sixth-place showing last year, the SoCon coaches have Samford placing third in its 2018 preseason poll.
- Four Bulldogs were listed on the SoCon’s preseason all-conference squad, led by junior starting pitcher Cody Shelton who went 5-3 while boasting a 2.69 ERA and 59 strikeouts.
- One of the more consistent baseball program’s in the country, Rice found itself back in the NCAA Tournament for the 23rd-straight year by winning the 2017 Conference USA Tournament as the sixth-seed. The automatic bid kept the nation’s third longest postseason streak intact despite just a 30-29 record going into the regional.
- The Owls won two games in last year’s Baton Rouge regional before bowing out to host, LSU.
- Then-freshman Matt Canterino burst on to the college baseball scene with 111 strikeouts in 96 innings. Canterino garnered Third Team Preseason All-America honors from the NCBWA prior to the season.