O'Connor on Kirby: Vanderbilt Loss Won't Define Him

By: Lindsay Joy Email
By: Lindsay Joy Email

One of the most important starters that will return for the Virginia baseball team in 2015 is rising junior pitcher Nathan Kirby. As a sophomore in 2014, Kirby started 18 games on the mound and finished with a 9-3 record and a 2.06 ERA.

Kirby's breakout sophomore season included throwing a no-hitter, winning ACC Co-Pitcher of the Year, and earning a number of All-American postseason honors. But Kirby's season was capped off by a tough outing against Vanderbilt in game one of the College World Series finals. The Cavaliers' pitcher walked five batters and gave up eight runs, five earned, in the third inning of UVa's 9-8 loss.

"I just told him after his last start against Vanderbilt that that game was not going to define him, that we wouldn't be in the position that we were in without him being a great pitcher," head coach Brian O'Connor said of Kirby.

Heading into his junior season with the 'Hoos, O'Connor says Kirby will focus on adding strength and weight in the offseason.

"He's going to shut down this summer and just lift weights. This kid, up until the early part of the season, hasn't been able to lift weights with his upper body for basically two years because of a shoulder issue. We got that fixed this winter. I think this summer is going to be a big time for him to add strength and weight.

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