CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. —Just reached Virginia’s Davenport Field in time for the UVA-VCU baseball game, kicking off the Charlottesville Regional. Click the link for notes from the regional, Q&A from several players and coaches and a couple videos.
A LOOK AROUND: Also, here’s a video (iPhone quality, sorry…) I took yesterday of the stadium:
The park will definitely play a factor into the games this weekend. Already the Cavaliers have capitalized on their spacious outfield (408′ to center, 335′ down the lines and 377′ in the alleys), hitting two doubles in the second inning against VCU which helped give them a 3-0 lead early.
IN TODAY’S EAGLE: We had a couple articles on the Charlottesville Regional. The main (Regional teams all have different styles) story dealt with the various personalities of the teams, focusing on Ole Miss and St. John’s as the main game preview. The second (Davenport Field will challenge outfielders) focused on the field and its dimensions. Virginia has capitalized on the field, which I’m told was actually 355′ down the lines before recent renovations brought the fences in 20 feet, and ranks amongst the nation’s elite in doubles (147, 17th in the nation) and triples (30, third in the nation).
LOOKING TO GET OUT FOR A FIRST TIME: Ole Miss has had trouble advancing past various super regionals (Miami, Arizona State, Ole Miss x2), and Virginia has struggled getting out of regionals it has hosted. Virginia is hosting its fourth regional (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010) and has failed to advance each year. Maybe, with the top ranking in the nation, the Wahoos will get over the hump in 2010. Virginia was 5-6 in its previous home regionals. Senior infielder Tyler Cannon is the only remaining Cav from the 2007 team.
NEWS AND NOTES REGARDING ST. JOHN’S: The Red Storm have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 33 times, ranking seventh all-time among Division I programs… Ole Miss and SJU have never met on the diamond… SJU freshman Jeremy Baltz‘s 20 home runs are the most in the country by a freshman… St. John’s (40-18) has had six 40-win seasons, the first of which came in 1978…
PHIL GOSSELIN — Virginia junior outfielder/second baseman
What do you remember about Drew Pomeranz?
He was tough. He has a good fastball, a real good curveball and threw strikes. He’s a really good left-handed pitcher, one of the best we faced all year.
On being a veteran team.
We got everybody back from last year and we have some really good freshmen that have come in and made big contributions for us. I think everybody is more confident with another year under our belt. Having everybody back is definitely going to be a big advantage for us.
DAN GROVATT — Virginia junior outfielder
Surprised Ole Miss is in your region?
We weren’t surprised. They’re a good team and at this point in the game you have to pay good teams to keep moving on. It didn’t really matter to us who was in our bracket, we have to take care of business and do what we do. That’s what we’re focusing on, playing our game. The fact that Ole Miss is or isn’t in our bracket doesn’t really matter at this point.
We played them earlier this year, but we didn’t play them with their best guy on the mound. We’re going to have to play well and see what happens.
On the confidence the batters get from strong pitching performances.
That’s a huge plus for an offense, knowing that if we score they’re going to be off the board. Pitching and defense wins championships and that’s kind of what we’ve been built on all year. We have one of the best defenses in the nation and obviously one of the best pitchers in the nation. It’s going to be really crucial for us in the whole playoffs.
JARRETT PARKER — Virginia junior outfielder
Obviously the postseason is different. We’re going to have to go and play hard for all nine innings.
TIM FERGUSON — Ole Miss junior outfielder
Compared to Hoover, Ala.’s Regions Park?
Very similar. It’s a big field…
On taking batting practice:
The exciting part is you get to see the different aspects of each park. The ball doesn’t carry well here very well, that just means more line drives, doubles, triples — things like that.
Salivate at the thought of hitting a gapper?
I’m going, I’m gone. That’s exciting.
MATT SMITH — Ole Miss junior outfielder/ first baseman
On the offense:
I don’t think it matters where we are really. We just have to keep on, not really talking about stuff, but just really as an offense trying to get our feet back under us. Ultimately, I think if you feel good in batting practice you’ll be loose and everything in the game.
How’d batting practice go?
I think it went good. I think we looked good all through the SEC Tournament. I know we didn’t put up that many runs, but I think our approach was better than earlier in the season
JOE PANIK — St. John’s sophomore outfielder
You want to be aggressive because if he gets you into a hole, he’s got the stuff to put you away so you want to stay aggressive and go at him early.
We haven’t really faced anybody with his kind of stuff. Last year we faced a guy, Justin Marks, from Louisville with similar stuff. He doesn’t throw as hard. He’s like an upper 80s guy where Pomeranz is low 90s.
JIM PARQUE — St. John’s senior outfielder
How do you prepare for Pomeranz?
We watched some game film coming down here on the bus last night…nobody this year that I could compare him to.
…It’ll be a good challenge for us tomorrow night…In the batting cage off the machine, got them up to 95 on fastballs…just trying to simulate him as much as you can.
Thoughts on the field?
This park plays big. We’re going to try to keep the balls down in the gaps, line drives.
ED BLANKMEYER — St. John’s head coach
Our club is young. I call them young and dumb and I hope they continue to be dumb the rest of the week because we played pretty good ball this past weekend.
On Kyle Hansen:
We pitched him out of the bullpen early and then decided that as he got stronger we’d put him into the starting setting. He moved from a three starter in the Big East to our No. 1 starter in the Big East. He just competes; he’s a winner. He’s a strike thrower.
…He’s advanced for a freshman.
PAUL KEYES — VCU head coach
They’re very, very good and very deep. They’re very experienced and don’t make a lot of mistakes or have a lot of holes in their bullpen, starting pitching, just all the way around.
DAN GETTING RAN: And lastly… this isn’t exactly related to the Charlottesville Regional, but… here’s a video of former Ole Miss recruiting coordinator Dan McDonnell getting tossed during Louisville’s loss to St. John’s in the Big East Tournament last week.
As a result of the ejection, McDonnell will is suspended for the Cardinals’ first three games of its regional this weekend.
MOCKING THE DRAFT: With the draft less than a week away, several national media types have been hard at work trying to figure out where the players will land.
—ESPN’s Keith Law has Pomeranz going No. 5 overall to the Cleveland Indians.
—MLB’s Jonathan Mayo has Pomeranz going No. 6 to the Arizona Diamondbacks, adding that he could slide up to No. 4 or so where the Kansas City Royals pick. Mayo also has an article “Pomeranz bolsters draft stock in strong start” and video with Pomeranz. On a side note, keep up with what Mayo does (he also appears on MLB Network), I met him in Hoover, Ala., last week and he knows his stuff.
—Dallas Jackson of RivalsHigh.com has Pomeranz going No. 2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. While Pitt isn’t exactly a desired destination of established players, I’m sure Pomeranz would gladly don a Bucs jersey if it meant going No. 2 overall.
—Lastly, going sticking with the whole one-stop shop thing… HERE is a link to the MLB Mock Draft Database. It has virtually every mock listed and says 50% of them have Pomeranz going to the Pirates. (It also says 100% of the drafts have phenom Bryce Harper going No. 1 overall to the Washington Nationals… shocker).
IT’S OFFICIAL: If you want added information — in addition to what you’re getting at The Blog, of course — HERE is a link to the official Charlottesville Regional.
COME ON BACK NOW, YA HEAR: Be sure to check back later for lineups, scoring summaries, etc. from Ole Miss’ game against St. John’s today at 8 p.m. CT. The game is not televised but will be broadcast on 93.7 FM and 105.5 FM.
THEY WERE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE AS UVA WINS 15-4: The Virginia Cavaliers took care of business in the first game. After a scoreless first inning, the Wahoos scored three runs in the second and four in the third en route to a 15-4 victory over the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams. Virginia pitcher Cody Winiarski picked up the win, allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks in 4.0 innings to improve to 6-0 on the year. VCU starter Seth Cutler-Voltz took the loss, allowing seven runs (five earned) in 4.0 innings of work. Each UVA starter tallied at least one hit in the 16-hit performance.
First baseman John Hicks led the team going 4-for-5 with one double, one home run, four runs scored and four RBIs.
—HERE is Virginia’s gamer, which also includes post-game quotes and notes. (June 4, 2010)