Virginia’s opponents in Charlottesville Regional at a glance

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

Here is a brief look at the remainder of the field in the Charlottesville Regional for this coming weekend:

Penn Quakers

The Ivy-Leaguers are led at the plate by senior third baseman Wyatt Henseler, who boasts a .372 batting average, with an impressive 22 home runs and 55 RBI. He is one of five Quakers with a .400-plus OBP, leading the way with a .474 OBP.

On the mound, senior righty Cole Zaffiro is expected to get the start against Virginia on Friday afternoon. The 6-foot-2 hurler owns a 5-4 record on the season with a 4.98 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, with 88 strikeouts and 34 walks in 68.2 innings pitched.

Another 6-2 right-handed senior, Carson Ozmer, is 2-1 this season with 4 saves, 3.68 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 41 strikeouts, 17 walks in 36.2 innings. Then there’s Eli Trop, a 6-4, senior right-hander (3-2, 3.38 ERA, 29 strikeouts, 12 walks over 21.1 innings) and 6-2 sophomore right-hander Thomas Shurtleff (1-0, 4.13 ERA, 33Ks, 15 walks, 28.1 innings).

Mississippi State Bulldogs

John Grisham’s alma mater hails from the tough SEC, where the ‘Dogs were 17-13 and had a series win over Georgia (No. 7 national seed) and split with Texas A&M (No. 3 national seed).

State has a challenging batting order led by Dakota Jordan, a sophomore outfielder, who has a .339 average with 17 home runs and 63 RBI. Senior outfielder Connor Hujsak hits .350 with 9 homers and 48 RBI, while sophomore shortstop David Mershon owns a .335 average, 5 homers and 39 RBI. He is also MSU’s leading base-stealer with 25. Hunter Hines, the designated hitter, is a junior with a .245 average, 15 roundtrippers and 51 RBI.

Jurrangelo Cijntje (don’t know how to pronounce that) is a 5-11 sophomore who throws from both sides and can hit between 93 and 95 mph. He’s 8-2 on the season with a 3.55 ERA with an eye-popping 108 strikeouts, only 29 walks in 83.2 innings.

Tyler Davis (5-1, 5 saves, 1.35 ERA, 40 strikeouts, 12 walks in 33.1 innings) is a 6-2 senior southpaw, while Tyson Hardin, a 6-2 junior right-hander, is 3-2 with 2 saves, 3.09 ERA, 34 strikeouts and 21 walks in 35 innings. Another impressive arm is 6-5 senior right-hander Brooks Auger, 1-2 record, 3.27 ERA, 47 strikeouts, 16 walks in 41.1 innings.

St. John’s Red Storm

The Big East champions have played in Charlottesville before. St. John’s is led at the plate by sophomore catcher Jimmy Keenan, who bats .341 with 11 homers and 55 RBI.

He’s backed by Jackson Tucker, a junior outfielder with a .280 average with 18 stolen bases, senior outfielder Ben Beauchamp (.286 average, 17 stolen bases) and senior infielder Anthony Brienza (.280 average, 11 stolen bases).

The Storm are led on the mound by 6-8 sophomore righty Mario Pesca, who has a 6-1 record with a 2.96 ERA, including 51 strikeouts and 36 bases on balls in 70.1 innings pitched. Another starter is Xavier Kolhosser, a 6-5 right-handed sophomore who is 9-2 on the season with a 3.61 ERA, 44 strikeouts, 24 walks in 67.1 innings, and freshman southpaw Evan Chaffee, 3-0, 4.30 ERA, 54 strikeouts, 27 walks in 67 innings.