The Virginia Cavaliers will look to extend their streak of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances to 10 in 2013.
Virginia, 39-19-1 in 2012, made their ninth straight NCAA tournament appearance and went 1-2 in regional play last season. The Cavaliers finished second in the ACC Coastal Division (18-12) in 2012.
Virginia will have a young — 25 of the 34 players on their roster are underclassmen — but extremely talented team in 2013. The Cavaliers return 18 letterwinners, including five starting positional players, and have brought in 14 newcomers.
Virginia will be without their top starting pitcher junior Artie Lewicki (4-3. 3.82 ERA in 2012), who is recovering from Tommy John surgery after injuring his elbow this summer.
Head coach Brian O’Connor
Brian O’Connor enters his 10th season with the Cavaliers with a 411-149-2 overall record. He has led Virginia to two World Series appearances, three NCAA regional championships and two ACC tournament titles.
Players to watch in 2013
Kyle Crockett: The 6-2 left-handed junior is a strikeout pitcher with excellent control. He doesn’t throw overly hard but is extremely tough on lefties.Crockett is a top-2013 MLB draft prospect.
Crockett went 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 32 appearances in 2012.
Branden Cogswell: The 6-2 sophomore infielder is very versatile as he can play multiple infield positions though he is mainly suited to play up the middle.
Cogswell hit .260 with 15 RBIs in 2012.
Kenny Towns: The 5-11 sophomore catcher/infielder is versatile and has a loud bat.
Towns hit .294 with five RBIs in 2012.
Brandon Downes: The 6-3 sophomore catcher/outfielder has plenty of offensive upside. He is athletic and has the ability to hit for power.
Downes hit .321 with one home run and 22 RBIs in 2012. He was drafted in the 43rd round of the 2011 draft by the Boston Red Sox.
Colin Harrington: The 5-10 redshirt junior outfielder has the ability to play both corner outfield positions and is strong defensively.
Harrington hit .305 with one home run and 28 RBIs in 2012.
Nate Irving: The 6-0 sophomore catcher has some speed and is an excellent bunter. He also has the ability to get on base via walks and hit-by-pitches.
Irving hit .279 with 35 RBIs and four stolen bases in 2012. He also drew 23 free passes and got hit by pitch 14 times.
Derek Fisher: The 6-3 sophomore outfielder is a well rounded player with exceptional power. Fisher isn’t a great defensive player and only has an average arm.
Fisher hit .288 with seven home runs, eight triples and 50 RBIs in 2012. He was a sixth round draft choice of the Texas Rangers in the 2011 MLB draft.
Reed Gragnani: The 6-0 senior infielder/outfielder is very versatile. He possesses outstanding athleticism and above-average speed.
Gragnani hit .362 in 20 games in 2012. He was drafted in the 27th round of the 2009 MLB draft by the Boston Red Sox.
Scott Silverstein: The 6-6 left-handed redshirt senior possesses a fastball that registers in the low 90s. Silverstein also has a good biting slider and a solid changeup.
Silverstein went 2-5 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 starts in 2012. Silverstein was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2008 MLB draft by the Washington Nationals.
Nick Howard: The 6-3 sophomore infielder/pitcher is a power hitter with good athleticism. Howard possesses a strong arm. On the mound, Howard is mainly a two-pitch pitcher (fastball and slider).
Howard went 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in 41.2 innings in 2012. He also hit .346 with six RBIs.
Mike Papi: The 6-3 sophomore outfielder/first baseman is a contact hitter with good speed. He also has a good eye at the plate and an electric arm.
Papi hit .283 with one home run and 17 RBIs in 2012. He was selected in the 30th round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Whit Mayberry: The 6-1 redshirt junior right-hander is a control pitcher with some zip on his fastball (low-90s). Mayberry is coming off Tommy John surgery.
Mayberry went 2-0 with a 3.67 ERA in five starts in 2012. He recorded 24 strikeouts and walked six batters in 27 innings.
Others to watch: So. RHP Austin Young (1-1, 4.86 ERA in 2012), So. RHP Barrett O’Neil (2-0, 5.23 ERA in 2012) and RS Sr. Jared King (.264 avg., 4 HRs, 22 RBIs).