Virginia’s lights-out staff
Notes: Charlotte is ranked and boasts DI’s lowest ERA
Virginia’s pitching staff was expected to be one of the best in the nation during the preseason, but the Cavaliers keep proving their worth as the season rolls along.
Junior Will Roberts led the Cavaliers to a rain-shortened five-inning 4-0 win against Georgetown on April 12 as UVa picked up its 10th shutout of the season, one short of the school record of 11. It was the second shutout of the year for Roberts, who improved to 7-0 and lowered his ERA to an Atlantic Coast Conference-leading 0.87. The native of Richmond, Va., has put together a string of 26 consecutive scoreless innings, matching the school record set by Sean Doolittle in 2005. Behind Roberts, the Cavaliers have posted four consecutive Tuesday shutouts.
The staff entered the week ranked seventh in the nation in ERA before lowering it to an ACC-leading 2.29 against the Hoyas on Tuesday. The Cavaliers also rank in the top five nationally in three more pitching categories – they are second in strikeouts per nine innings (10.5), third in hits allowed per nine innings (6.74) and fifth in walks allowed per nine innings (2.21).
Junior left-hander Danny Hultzen is the squad’s Friday night ace, and boasts a 7-0 mark and 1.33 ERA, while leading the nation in strikeouts per nine innings with 14.92.
The Cavaliers have won 13 of their last 14 contests, and lead the ACC Coastal Division with a 13-2 mark. Virginia is ranked No. 1 or No. 2 nationally in all of the major college baseball polls.
Need to Know
• Charlotte cracked the NCBWA Division I Top 30 at No. 25 this week after sweeping Saint Joseph’s last weekend on the 49ers first Atlantic 10 road trip of the season. The 49ers are riding a seven-game winning streak, and have won 14 of their last 15 contests, in addition to leading Division I with a 1.79 ERA. Charlotte has posted seven shutouts in 2011, tied for third in the nation. The 49ers have held foes to two or fewer runs 20 times this season, winning all of those games.
• Limestone’s three-game sweep of then-No. 18 Belmont Abbey propelled the Saints to second place in the Conference Carolinas standings, as well as a No. 30 ranking in the latest Collegiate Baseball Division II poll. Junior catcher Joe Maloney was an offensive force for LC in four games last week, batting .429 with five home runs, eight runs scored and eight RBI, including four against the Abbey. Maloney, who earned Conference Carolinas Player of the Week for his outstanding play, now has 15 home runs on the season, which is tied for third nationally in Division II. He needs just three round-trippers to become the school’s all-time leader in home runs (38).
• Thomas More College continued to move up in the national rankings, vaulting six spots to No. 18 in the NCBWA/D3baseball.com Top 25 after posting a 5-0 week behind the hot-hitting of sophomore right fielder Ryan Darner. The native of Burlington, Ky., batted .722 with two homers, two doubles, 11 runs scored and 11 RBI during the week, earning Presidents' Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week honors. Thomas More ranks second in the nation with a .366 batting average and tops Division III with 11.0 runs per game. Darner is one of four players hitting over .400 for the Saints.
• Despite falling to No. 7 Texas in a 3-1 game on April 12, Dallas Baptist had some records broken in the losing effort. Senior Jason Krizan, who leads Division I with 22 doubles and doubles per game (0.67), set a new DBU all-time mark for doubles with 70. The native of Pflugerville, Texas, also tied the school’s single-season record of 22 with 23 regular season games remaining on the schedule.
• After starting the season 5-8, Miami (Fla.) has won 16 of its last 19 games, and seven straight, and re-entered one of the national polls this week following a two-week absence. Ranked No. 19 in the Collegiate Baseball Division I poll, the Hurricanes have swept four ACC opponents this season, including three games against NC State last weekend.
• Wilmington (Del.) may boast the third-best ERA in Division II at 2.00, but the Wildcats are also swinging a hot bat. Senior Matt Umba batted .727 with eight runs scored and six RBI to lead the Wildcats to a 3-0 week, earningCentral Atlantic Collegiate Conference Player of the Week honors. Umba leads the CACC with a .374 batting average. Wilmington has won nine of its last 10 contests.
• Wayne State (Mich.) junior outfielder C.J. Maszal stayed on fire at the plate last week, batting .563 in four games to remain on top of the Division II batting average leaders at .488. Maszal is in the midst of a seven game hitting streak, and had multi-hit outings in three of four contests against Northwood last weekend. The Warriors are in second place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings after splitting the series at Northwood.
• With a 6-0 mark last week, Alvernia continued to climb the Division III rankings, moving up to No. 16. Junior pitcher Andrew Kirk was 1-0 on the week with a win over Elizabethtown on April 9 following 7.2 strong innings in a no-decision as the Crusaders downed Manhattanville, 3-2, on April 4. He struck out 18 batters in 15 innings and lowered his ERA to 0.82. Kirk has 52 strikeouts to just nine walks in 41 innings, and ranks 20th in the nation with 11.41 strikeouts per nine innings. He was named Commonwealth Conference Pitcher of the Week for his efforts.