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Jake McCarthy Back on the Field for Virginia's Stretch Run

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Jake McCarthy Jake McCarthy

Virginia junior center fielder Jake McCarthy made his return to UVa's lineup Monday night against Georgia Tech after missing 34 games recovering from wrist surgery.

McCarthy went 2-for-3 with an RBI Monday in his first game since March 6th against Davidson when he injured his wrist.  It had been over two months since McCarthy played in a game.

"It got pretty frustrating and to be back was almost just a sense of relief," says McCarthy.  "I was almost not even that nervous just because I was happy to be back.  Obviously we won, I had a few hits so it made the night even better but competing with the guys is what I'm about."

McCarthy, who was named a preseason All-American, got his first hit in his second at-bat during the third inning, a single.

"He's a guy who can change things in a lineup," says UVa coach Brian O'Connor.  "I decided to hit him sixth, just to not all of a sudden put him in the top of the order and I think Tanner Morris has done a nice job there for us too. As he continues to progress he'll be better and better and continue to impact this team."

McCarthy was expected to miss about six weeks with the injured wrist.  It ended up being closer to eight weeks.

"I guess when its in a cast for so long swing a bat is kind of an awkward thing for your wrist," says McCarthy.  "I was throwing, bunting and all that stuff.  swing took a little bit longer but now that we're there, now I feel great physically."

Virginia has been a .500 ballclub this season without McCarthy with a record of 17-17.    With McCarthy in the lineup, Virginia is now 10-4.

"Just want to get some momentum going into the ACC tournament, and into Wake next week," says McCarthy.  "I've been in the dugout trying to contribute as much as I can but I think I contribute the most on the field."

"Him being back in the lineup adds the speed on the bases," says freshman outfielder Alex Tappen.  "I feel me personally I feel more comfortable in the outfield because I'm always learning from him."

"He's one of the leaders of this team," says Brian O'Connor.  "The younger players look up to a guy like that because he's been there before and he's had a lot of success and he can continue to spark us."