Virginia outfielder Jake McCarthy (Aaron Fitt)


Fall Report: Virginia

Fall Report

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Virginia baseball is a well-oiled machine. In 14 years under Brian O’Connor, the Cavaliers have not missed a regional or won fewer than 38 games in a season. Whenever this program has key pieces to replace, new stars always emerge to keep the good times rolling.

So while UVa. will certainly miss departed first-rounders Pavin Smith and Adam Haseley (the No. 7 and No. 8 overall picks) plus mainstays Robbie Coman and Ernie Clement, there’s no reason to expect any kind of dropoff from last year’s 43-win, regional-hosting campaign.

It’s simply time for a new group of Cavaliers to become the frontline stars, and a talented group of young players to support them. Athletic junior outfielders Jake McCarthy (.338/.425/.506, 13 HR, 27 SB) and Cameron Simmons (.352/.432/.563, 9 HR, 9 SB) already made the jump as sophomore to being outstanding players; now this is their team.

“We’ve got to use the fall to figure out who are the new guys who can be consistent,” O’Connor said. “Obviously McCarthy’s an electric player and Cam Simmons has been in the lineup for two years. Caleb Knight, the catcher, and (Nate) Eikhoff. Andy Weber really came on the back half of last year, and he’s a nice looking player, lefthanded hitter. So I believe we’ve got a lot of pieces, we’re just going to need some new players to emerge for us. Those guys that were sophomores last year that were integral players, they now need to be at the forefront.”

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