Cavaliers head coach Brian O’Connor has quite the squad this year in Charlottesville.
Three seasons removed from their last appearance in the College World Series, the University of Virginia baseball team is back to No. 1, topping the preseason rankings issued by Baseball America on Monday. UVa is the only local team in BA’s top 25.
The Cavs finished last season ranked 11th in the country with a 50-12 record. They did not win the ACC, but appeared in the NCAA tournament for the tenth consecutive season, all under O’Connor. Over the last five years they have more wins (245) than any other team in Division I baseball.
Virginia welcomes the 14th ranked recruiting class this season, as ranked by Baseball America. Headlining that group is right-handed pitcher Connor Jones from Great Bridge HS (Cheseapeake, VA). He is considered the 35th best freshman recruit according to MaxPreps.com.
Virginia also features five preseason All-Americans. Outfielders Derek Fisher, Brandon Downes and Nick Howard, shortstop Branden Cogswell, and designated hitter Mike Papi were given the honor by Perfect Game.
The Cavaliers return seven starters overall from last year’s Super Regional team and 23 total letterwinners. Their season begins on Feb. 14 against Kentucky in the Hughes Bros. challenge in Wilmington, NC.