Virginia Cavaliers baseball
|2021 Virginia Cavaliers baseball team|
|University||University of Virginia|
|Head coach||Brian O'Connor (18th season)|
|Home stadium||Davenport Field |
|Colors||Orange and Blue|
|NCAA Tournament champions|
|College World Series runner-up|
|College World Series appearances|
|2009, 2011, 2014, 2015|
|NCAA Tournament appearances|
|1972, 1985, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017|
|Conference tournament champions|
|1996, 2009, 2011|
|1972, 2010, 2011|
The Virginia Cavaliers baseball team represents the University of Virginia in NCAA Division I college baseball. Established in 1889, the team participates in the Coastal division of the Atlantic Coast Conference and plays its home games at Davenport Field. The team's head coach is Brian O'Connor. The team won the College World Series championship in 2015.
Virginia played its first baseball game, a 13–4 win over Richmond College, in 1889. The Cavaliers had limited success in their first 100 years of play, making their NCAA tournament debut in 1972 under Jim West and returning in 1985 and 1996 under Dennis Womack, failing to advance past regional play. They won their first ACC tournament championship in 1996 behind the pitching of All-America righthander Seth Greisinger. One highlight was the performance of left-handed pitcher Eppa Rixey, who won 266 games for the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds from 1912–1933 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Veterans Committee selection in 1963.
In 1966, left-handed pitcher Edward Turnbull became the program's first MLB draft pick, going to the Baltimore Orioles in the 17th round. Outfielder Brian Buchanan was the first Virginia player to become a first-round pick, going to the New York Yankees in the 1994 draft.
Tiering proposal and Davenport Field
In 2001, the program was threatened by recommendations from a university task force that would have split the school's sports into four tiers, with each tier funded differently. The baseball program was placed in the lowest tier and would have lost the ability to offer athletic scholarships if the recommendation was implemented, but the university's Board of Visitors rejected the proposal.
The next year, the Virginia athletic department took steps to increase the program's competitiveness, notably renovating the team's stadium, which was renamed Davenport Field after longtime athletic administrator and former baseball coach Ted Davenport, who had died in 2001. The expansion was funded by $2 million in anonymous donations, believed to have come from bestselling author John Grisham, a Charlottesville resident whose son, Ty, played for the team. Before the renovation, the field did not have lights, and the infield was made of artificial turf handed down from an old football facility. Bermuda grass was installed during the renovations.
Brian O'Connor era
Womack stepped down in 2004, and Notre Dame associate head coach Brian O'Connor took over and made an immediate impact, with the program hosting its first NCAA regional in his first season. As of the 2017 season, the Cavaliers have made the NCAA tournament every year of O'Connor's tenure and captured ACC tournament championships in 2009 and 2011.
Virginia hosted NCAA regionals again in 2006 and 2007, but did not advance until 2009. That year, the Cavaliers won the Irvine Regional, defeating San Diego State ace Stephen Strasburg in the process, and defeated Ole Miss in the Oxford Super Regional to advance to the program's first College World Series, where they finished fifth, bowing out in a 12-inning loss to Arkansas.
The Cavaliers won the Charlottesville Regional again in 2010, but lost to Oklahoma in the Charlottesville Super Regional. In 2011, entering the NCAA Tournament as the top overall seed, they swept the Charlottesville Regional and rallied from a ninth-inning deficit to defeat UC Irvine on a two-run single from Chris Taylor in the Charlottesville Super Regional. They finished third in the College World Series, losing to eventual champion South Carolina in 13 innings.
In 2013, Virginia swept the Charlottesville Regional before losing to Mississippi State in the Charlottesville Super Regional. In 2014, the Cavaliers reached previously unprecedented heights, losing 3–2 to Vanderbilt in a decisive Game 3 of the College World Series finals. They had swept the Charlottesville Regional and defeated Maryland in the Charlottesville Super Regional.
2015 NCAA Champions
In 2015, an injury-riddled Virginia team slumped in the regular season and needed a series win in the final regular-season series at North Carolina to sew up a bid in the ACC tournament. They made the NCAA tournament as a No. 3 seed and swept through the Lake Elsinore Regional, defeating Southern California (twice) and San Diego State. They hosted Maryland in the Charlottesville Super Regional and clinched a trip to the College World Series on Ernie Clement's two-run single in the bottom of the ninth of the second game.
In Omaha, Virginia defeated Arkansas and Florida (twice) to set up a finals rematch with Vanderbilt. The Commodores won the first game 5–1 before the Cavaliers evened the series with a 3–0 victory behind five innings from surprise starter Adam Haseley and four from Josh Sborz. Virginia fell behind early in the decisive third game, giving up two runs in the first inning, but Pavin Smith homered to pull the Cavaliers even and singled to score Haseley with the eventual winning run. Brandon Waddell threw seven strong innings, aided by an acrobatic, run-saving stop from third baseman Kenny Towns, as the Cavaliers won 4–2 to capture the program's first national championship and the first for an ACC program since Wake Forest in 1955.
Notable former players
Active Major League Baseball (MLB) players
- Artie Lewicki, RHP, Detroit Tigers
- Kyle Crockett, LHP, Cleveland Indians
- Sean Doolittle, LHP, Washington Nationals
- Derek Fisher, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
- Phil Gosselin, 2B, Cincinnati Reds
- Brandon Guyer, OF, Cleveland Indians
- John Hicks, C, Detroit Tigers
- Jarrett Parker, OF, San Francisco Giants
- Chris Taylor, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Tyler Wilson, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
- Ryan Zimmerman, 1B/3B, Washington Nationals
Notable former MLB players
- Mike Cubbage, 3B, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets
- Hank Foiles, C, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels
- Ricky Horton, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Javier López, LHP, San Francisco Giants
- Mark Reynolds, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals
- Eppa Rixey, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, 1963 Hall of Fame inductee
- Monte Weaver, RHP, Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox
- Michael Schwimer, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
First-Round MLB Draft Picks
- Brian Buchanan, OF, New York Yankees, 1994
- Seth Greisinger, RHP, Detroit Tigers, 1996
- Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Washington Nationals, 2005
- Sean Doolittle, 1B/LHP, Oakland Athletics, 2007
- Danny Hultzen, LHP, Seattle Mariners, 2011
- Nick Howard, RHP, Cincinnati Reds, 2014
- Mike Papi, OF, Cleveland Indians, 2014
- Nathan Kirby, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers, 2015
- Matt Thaiss, C, Los Angeles Angels, 2016
- Pavin Smith, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2017
- Adam Haseley, OF, Philadelphia Phillies, 2017
- Daniel Lynch, LHP, Kansas City Royals, 2018
- Jake McCarthy, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2018
(Includes supplemental and competitive-balance picks)
- 1994: Brian Buchanan, OF (BA)
- 1996: Seth Greisinger, RHP (ABCA, BA, CB)
- 2007: Jacob Thompson, RHP (ABCA, BA, CB)
- 2009: Danny Hultzen, UTIL (ABCA)
- 2010: Kevin Arico, RHP (NCBWA, CB)
- 2010: Danny Hultzen, LHP (ABCA, CB, NCBWA)
- 2011: Danny Hultzen, UTIL (BA, CB), LHP (ABCA)
- 2013: Mike Papi, OF (ABCA, BA)
- 2014: Nathan Kirby, LHP (ABCA, BA, CB)
- 2016: Connor Jones, RHP (ABCA)
- 2017: Adam Haseley, OF (ABCA, BA)
National Coach of the Year
- 2006: Brian O'Connor (CBF)
- 2009: Brian O'Connor (NCBWA, CBI)
- 2015: Brian O'Connor (CB, PG, BA)
- ABCA = American Baseball Coaches Association
- BA = Baseball America
- CB = Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger
- CBF = College Baseball Foundation
- CBI = CollegeBaseballInsider.com
- NCBWA = National College Baseball Writers Association
- PG = Perfect Game
College World Series All-Tournament Team
- Tyler Cannon, SS
- Branden Cogswell, 2B
- Brandon Downes, OF
- Nate Irving, C
- Artie Lewicki, P
- Brandon Waddell, P
College World Series Most Outstanding Player
- 2015: Josh Sborz, P
ACC Player of the Year
- 2004: Joe Koshansky, P/1B
- 2006: Sean Doolittle, P/1B
ACC Pitcher of the Year
- 2010: Danny Hultzen
- 2011: Danny Hultzen
- 2014: Nathan Kirby (co-winner)
ACC Coach of the Year
- 1987: Dennis Womack
- 2004: Brian O'Connor
- 2010: Brian O'Connor
- 2011: Brian O'Connor
- 2013: Brian O'Connor
- 2014: Brian O'Connor
- Unknown (1889–1909) 288–167–9
- Charles Rigler (1910–12) 32–32–2
- Jack Ryan (1913–1916, 1922) 60–43–1
- James L. White (1917, 1920) 13–9–1
- Henry Lannigan (1918) 7–4–0
- E. W. Smith (1919) 8–8–1
- W. Rice Warren (1921) 7–15–0
- Earle "Greasy" Neale (1923–29) 80–73–2
- Roy Randall (1930) 2–12–0
- Gus Tebell (1931–43, 1945–55) 266–189–9
- A. A. Corcoran (1944) 6–5–1
- Evan "Bus" Male (1956–59) 36–50–0
- Ted Davenport (1960–61) 10–26–2
- James West (1962–80) 281–276–5
- Dennis Womack (1981–2003) 594–605–7
- Brian O'Connor (2004–present) 700–288–2
Note: When West died on May 24, 2009, the Cavaliers added a black circle with the number "24" above the team name on their uniforms for the rest of the season. West had worn that number when he was coach.
Virginia in the NCAA Tournament
- The NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament started in 1947. The Cavaliers advanced to the College World Series in 2009, 2011, 2014, and 2015, finishing as the runners-up to Vanderbilt in 2014 and defeating the Commodores in 2015 to win the championship.
|2004||2–2||.500||Hosted Charlottesville Regional|
|2006||1–2||.333||Hosted Charlottesville Regional|
|2007||2–2||.500||Hosted Charlottesville Regional|
|2009||6–3||.667||College World Series 5th Place|
|2010||4–3||.571||Hosted Charlottesville Regional and Super Regional|
|2011||7–3||.700||College World Series 3rd Place|
|2012||1–2||.333||Hosted Charlottesville Regional|
|2013||3–2||.600||Hosted Charlottesville Regional and Super Regional|
|2014||9–3||.750||College World Series 2nd Place|
|2015||10–2||.833||College World Series Champion|
|2016||1–2||.333||Hosted Charlottesville Regional|
- "University of Virginia Cavalier Orange". July 15, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
- "Athletics Task Force Report Recommends Restructuring Of Sports Program, Finances, Academic Support". University of Virginia - Official Athletics Website. University of Virginia. April 6, 2001. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- Reedy, Jim (June 7, 2004). "Grisham Helps Cavs Open New Chapter". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "Vandy wins 1st CWS championship". ESPN.com. June 26, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
- Axisa, Mike (June 24, 2015). "College World Series, Day 12: Virginia wins first national championship". CBSSports.com. Retrieved June 26, 2015.