I think I’ve got a few cracked ribs, a black eye, a broken elbow. But the pain is definitely worth it.
—Robert Poutier (Engr ’12), UVA pitcher who was somewhere at the bottom of the pile celebrating the Cavaliers’ series-clinching win over Ole Miss
Simply put, it was the greatest season in Virginia baseball history. The Cavaliers set a school record for wins with a 49-15-1 record and made the program’s first trip to the College World Series. The Cavaliers set 11 UVA team records and led the ACC in batting, ERA and stolen bases—just the second team in league history to lead the conference in all three categories. After capturing the ACC baseball championship by winning four games in four days, Virginia advanced to the Irvine Regional in California. Undeterred by the long journey and even longer odds, the team beat San Diego State (and Major League Baseball’s No. 1 draft pick, Stephen Strasburg) and top-ranked University of California, Irvine, twice on the Anteaters’ home field to win a berth in the Oxford Super Regional.
Partisan crowds of more than 10,000 fans in Oxford, Miss., watched Virginia win two of three games against the University of Mississippi and advance to the College World Series for the first time in school history.
In Omaha, Neb., the Cavaliers made their debut in storied Rosenblatt Stadium against eventual national champion LSU, playing a close game before surrendering three runs in the eighth inning in a 9-5 loss. UVA rebounded to defeat Cal State Fullerton, 7-5, before suffering a 4-3, 12-inning loss to Arkansas to end the season.
The best may be yet to come. Brian O’Connor, who led Virginia to a final RPI ranking of third in the country, received two National Coach of the Year awards. Next season, he will welcome back nearly all of the players from this year’s team.