A pair of Virginia baseball players are among a group of underclassmen auditioning for USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team.
Outfielder Mike Papi and catcher Nate Irving, both rising juniors, reported to USA Baseball's training complex this week, with practices scheduled to begin on Friday. They're among a group of 15 players trying to earn spots on the team's 24-man roster for a summer tour that will include five-game series against Japan and Cuba.
Papi has been named an All-American by several publications following his breakout second year at Virginia. Despite spending most of the season's first month as a reserve, Papi ended up leading the ACC with a .381 batting average, and his .517 on-base percentage ranks second nationally. He also hit seven homers and drove in 57 runs.
Irving has been the Cavaliers' everyday catcher for the past two seasons, starting 56 games as a sophomore in 2013. He hit .284 with 33 RBI this past spring, and threw out 59 percent of opposing runners attempting to steal bases.
The two Cavaliers are among 23 players in the USA Baseball camp, with eight of those 23 players already guaranteed spots on the national team roster. Six other players have yet to arrive at camp because of the College World Series. That full list of candidates for the final 24-man roster is here.