Posts Tagged ‘Brian O’Connor’

Baseball Recruiting, 8-Month Update

February 14, 2011

Of the nine recruits who committed to HC Brian O’Connor and staff (according to – list below), only seven are on the current roster

 Name Pos Ht Wt B-T High School Hometown State
Ryan Ashooh  LHP 6-2 175 R-L Centreville Clifton VA
Kyle Crockett  LHP 6-0 150 L-L Poquoson Poquoson VA
Derek Justice  LHP 5-10 169 R-L Orange Unionville VA
Artie Lewicki  RHP 6-1 190 R-R St. Joseph Regional Wyckoff NJ
Justin Nicolino  LHP 6-2 155 L-L University Orlando FL
Mark Podlas  OF 6-2 190 L-L Westhampton Beach Remsenburg NY
Mitchell Shifflett  OF 6-1 170 R-R Cosby Midlothian VA
Tyler Skulina  RHP 6-6 235 R-R Walsh Jesuit Strongsville OH
Austin Young  RHP 6-4 240 R-R Atlee Mechanicsville VA

Nicolino’s path is relatively well-known.  He was selected in the second round of the MLB amateur draft, and reportedly received a signing bonus of $615,000 from the Toronto Blue Jays.  He was “actually at a car shop getting my engine looked at” when he got the call.  Slated to debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2011.

As for Skulina, he took the path less-traveled.  He spent the fall in Charlottesville, and started Games 2 and 7 of October’s “Orange & Blue  World Series,” earning a win in both outings.  In Game 2, he threw five scoreless innings, yielding only two hits while striking out 5.  In Game 7, he went 2 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and 2 runs (1 earned) in Orange’s 9-8 series-winning victory.

Three months later, he was at Kent State, looking forward to “a fresh start,” according to his high school coach:

Former Walsh Jesuit standout pitcher Tyler Skulina is returning to Northeast Ohio.

And, presumably, Kent State couldn’t be happier about it.

After spending the fall at the University of Virginia on a baseball scholarship, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound right-hander has transferred to KSU for the second half of the school year and the foreseeable future.

”It’s absolutely true,” Walsh Jesuit baseball coach Chris Kaczmar confirmed to the Beacon Journal. ”He is now enrolled at Kent State and is on the team, all moved in and looking forward to a fresh start at Kent.”

Skulina, who was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 46th round (1,385 overall) of the 2010 major-league draft, will sit out this season, but will have four years of eligibility intact, Kaczmar said.

Virginia did provide him with a release, he said.

Calls to Skulina were not immediately returned.

The right-hander never lost in his high school career and struck out 221 batters with a blazing fastball that often reached 95 mph.

With a firm commitment to Virginia, Skulina fell in the major-league draft.

Once on campus, Skulina realized Virginia was not the right fit for him in the long term, Kaczmar said.

He will now be eligible to get drafted again as a redshirt sophomore in 2013.

At Kent State, Skulina will be reunited with left-handed pitcher David Starn. The two combined to help lead Walsh Jesuit to a Division II state championship in 2008.

”A lot of his teammates have had a lot of success at Kent State and he felt comfortable there,” Kaczmar said.  


A Text to the Bullpen

June 9, 2010

A developing trend in pitching rotation management?

CAA Tournament

VCU’s ace, sophomore right-hander Seth Cutler-Voltz from Henrico High, was persistent about wanting to pitch in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament final despite one day of rest.

Cutler-Voltz threw 108 pitches in a complete game in the Rams’ opening win Thursday. After the Rams won again Friday, Keyes said Cutler-Voltz texted him Friday night, asking when he was going to pitch in the championship round Saturday.

UNC Wilmington had to beat VCU twice, and Keyes had determined he would use Cutler-Voltz only if a second game became necessary.

With the Seahawks up 5-0 in the middle of the first game, Cutler-Voltz approached Keyes again. Near the end of a 10-0 loss, Keyes decided Cutler-Voltz would start.

Cutler-Voltz (8-3, 3.20 ERA) gave up five runs – one earned – in four innings. He left trailing 5-1, but VCU rallied for a 7-5 victory in 12 innings.

“I felt like they had so much momentum, we had to throw our best guy out there,” Keyes said. “He said, ‘Coach, I don’t want to know about pitch count. When you don’t think I can get’em out anymore, just let me know and take me out.'”

SEC Tournament

[LSU pitcher Anthony] Ranaudo, who pitched 7 2/3 innings in winning the opener against Florida, texted Mainieri the night before to say he could pitch in relief if needed. Mainieri was preparing Matty Ott to pitch the ninth after Alabama tied the game at 3 in the eighth. But the second rain delay hit and Mainieri decided to go with his ace, who used the additional time to get ready.

“I’m a competitor; I want the ball,” Ranaudo said. “I told Coach if anything weird happened I’d be available. I’d been preparing the last three days in case something happened.”

Ranaudo didn’t allow a hit but walked two batters in the 10th, one of them reaching third base as the winning run with two outs. But Ranaudo retired Jake Smith on a fly ball to deep right field.

With one out in the 11th, LSU’s Matt Gaudet singled and went to second when Mikie Mahtook was safe on an error with two out. Fury, whom the players call ‘Rudy’, ran for Gaudet before Hanover ripped his third hit past shortstop Josh Rutledge. The former Rummel Raider steamed home and slid in headfirst, well ahead of the throw.

Charlottesville Regional

Sunday night, long after Davenport Field had cleared and the reality set in for Virginia that it would need to win an elimination game the next day to keep its season alive, Cavaliers coach Brian O’Connor sent a text message to Kevin Arico, his junior closer.

“I just told him, ‘hey, you’re our guy, and you need to be ready at any point for an extended outing,’” O’Connor said. “The plan was that if we got into a difficult situation where the game could potentially be on the line anywhere after the fifth inning, that we were going to come to him.”How’s this for difficult? Virginia was clinging to a three-run lead in the sixth against a St. John’s team that was peskier than anyone anticipated, and Jeremy Baltz was at the plate, the same freshman who hit two home runs on Sunday, including the two-run shot that beat the Cavs in the eighth inning. The bases were loaded. The crowd of 4,801 on hand, though supportive, was nervous.

Arico hadn’t pitched in nine days, meaning he was the freshest arm UVa had available. The situation, understandably, was tense.

“It’s easier to get a little more amped up in that situation,” Arico said.

Two of those runners scored, but Arico avoided disaster. He left the inning with the lead and finished the game, going 3 2/3 innings, the longest outing of his career. The Cavaliers held off the Red Storm, winning 5-3 Monday to advance to the super regionals for the second straight year.