CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) - The University of Virginia baseball team heads to the Super Regionals, riding the great play of three players from right down the road in the Richmond area.
UVA has the best pitching staff in the country, leading the nation in ERA. Two of UVA's three starters and their starting catcher hail from Central Virginia.
John Hicks, the team's starting catcher, is a graduate of Goochland High School. Jazz, as he's affectionately called, was a Collegiate Baseball Third-Team All-American this year and also was a First-Team All-ACC selection as well as a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award. He has posted a big year at the plate, batting .339, which ranks 11th in the ACC. He also has 84 hits, which is fourth in the ACC. Hicks ranks in the ACC's top 10 in hits (84, 4th), doubles (21, T4th), total bases (128, 6th), RBI (54, 8th). Hicks is third in Virginia history with 54 doubles and ninth in career runs (160). He currently has 237 career hits - 10th in UVa history.
Right-handed pitcher Will Roberts went to the Maggie Walker Governor's School. Roberts has been brilliant on the mound for Virginia this year, going 11-1 with a 1.61 ERA. In 95 innings he has allowed just 17 earned runs, 67 hits and 12 walks while striking out 90. Batters are hitting.204 against him. He ranks among the ACC leaders in shutouts (3, T1st), complete games (3, 2nd), ERA (1.61, 2nd), wins (11, 3rd) and opponent batting average (.204, 7th).
Roberts tossed the eighth nine-inning complete game in NCAA Division I history on March 29 when he retired 27 straight George Washington batters. He also had a streak of 26.2 straight scoreless innings earlier this year.
Midlothian product Tyler Wilson is a 2011 Second-Team All-ACC selection, and is 8-0 with a 2.34 ERA in 14 starts (16 appearances) this year. In 88.1 innings he has allowed just 62 hits and 21 walks with 111 strikeouts (fifth most in ACC, fifth in UVa single-season history). Batters are hitting .197 against him this year. That is third lowest in the ACC.
He now owns 25 career wins, which is third in Virginia history (25-7, 2.93 ERA career). He ranks fourth in career pitching appearances at UVa with 88 (17 starts) and has racked up 254 career strikeouts, which ranks fourth in UVa history. He also is a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
The trifecta from Central Virginia has made this UVA team one of the program's best ever, whether they advance to Omaha or not.
All three were drafted on the second day of the First Year Player's Draft. Hicks was taken in the fourth round by the Mariners. Roberts was drafted in the fifth round by Indians. Wilson was taken by the Orioles in the 10th round.
UVA hosts UC Irvine starting this Saturday in the Super Regionals.