UVa Baseball Looking Forward to Next Season

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Rising junior outfielder Joe McCarthy Rising junior outfielder Joe McCarthy

The Virginia baseball team will have a much different look next year.

In addition to the graduating seniors, the Cavaliers could lose a number of talented juniors.

Brandon Downes (Royals) and Branden Cogswell (A's) have already signed with their major league teams.

First-rounder's Nick Howard (Reds), Derek Fisher (Astros), and Mike Papi (Indians) will likely soon join them.

UVa baseball coach Brian O'Connor says the cupboard is far from bare.

"I'm excited about what we have coming back next year," says O'Connor.  "Obviously (Joe) McCarthy has been in the middle of the lineup for a couple of years now."

McCarthy has hit over .300 in each of his first two seasons at Virginia, and has 100 RBI over that time period.

O'Connor says, "Next years ballclub is going to look a lot different from a position player standpoint. We're losing some pretty special athletes that can hit, but we have those kind of athletes coming in, in this recruiting class."

Pitcher Artie Lewicki has played his last game for the Cavaliers, and was drafted in the 8th round by the Detroit Tigers.

Many of the returning players will play play Summer Ball during the offseason.

Lewicki says, "They're going to develop as players, and they're going to come back, kind of like John La Prise did. He had an unbelievable year for us. There's guys like that in the woodwork all the time. It's so far away you can't really talk about it, but at the same time you can see what's there, and there is definitely potential."

The Wahoos real strength will be on the mound with Nathan Kirby and Brandon Waddell.

Kirby will spend the summer in the gym, after not being able to lift weights for two years due to shoulder problems, and O'Connor has one goal for his rising junior ace.

"More strength, so that maybe the fast ball is even better next year," says O'Connor.  "Hard to imagine."

Kirby was 9-3 with a 2.06 ERA this past season.


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