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UVa Baseball Rookies on Display this Weekend - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVa Baseball Rookies on Display this Weekend

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Connor Jones was the 2013 Virginia HS Player of the Year Connor Jones was the 2013 Virginia HS Player of the Year

The University of Virginia baseball team is in its second week of fall practice.

Expectations are sky high for the 'Hoos this year, with seven of nine position players returning from last year.

The pitching is the biggest question mark, but the Cavaliers have plenty of talented arms to choose from, including one extraordinary incoming freshman.

UVa freshman pitcher Connor Jones had the ability to become an instant millionaire, as a potential first-round selection in last June's Major League Baseball Draft.  

But the Virginia State Player of the Year at Great Bridge High School let MLB teams know he would not sign, and he'd keep his commitment to Virginia baseball.  

Now on Grounds, the hard-throwing right-hander is showing his skills during the fall season.

Head coach Brian O'Connor says, "He's one of those kids that has the prototypical body.  He's 6'3", 6'4" right-handed pitcher.  He's got a really good arm, and he pitches in the low 90's.  He has really good command.  I'm excited for him to go out and compete."  

The Cavaliers will take on High Point University in an exhibition game Saturday at 11 AM, which will be a chance for the coaches and the fans to get a look at all the new rookies, especially the highly touted class of pitchers.

Junior outfielder Derek Fisher says, "They're great.  Some of them are very impressive.  Really athletic.  Obviously they have a lot to learn getting here.  For them to come out here and throw strikes, and do everything that we ask them to do, is really all you can ask for this fall."

"I like what I've seen," adds O'Connor.  "They've really progressively gotten better from the first time to the second time.  For the most part they are throwing strikes.  It looks like they have pretty good ability.  They're going to be a key part of our success this year."

This is the third year in a row Virginia will play a fall game, and junior Derek Fisher says its very effective.

"We've always gotten better in these games, that's always the goal," says Fisher, "and we're obviously looking for that same thing this time around."

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