- - Saturday, June 4, 2011

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Heckling St. John’s Jeremy Baltz has become something of a June tradition in the left-field bleachers at Davenport Field, and Baltz can give as well as he can take. Saturday, the Virginia fans and the sophomore left fielder were again exchanging words.

At least they were during the rare moments the Cavaliers weren’t giving the home folks something to cheer about. Virginia’s offense continued to shine and Danny Hultzen delivered another solid start on the mound to lead the Cavs to a 10-2 victory.

“I remember them being rowdy last year as well,” Baltz said. “It was the same thing this year. They are supportive fans and they root for their team. Nothing nasty, but they come out there and root for their squad.”

Steven Proscia got the offensive assault started early and provided the Virginia faithful in the “Hoo Zone” a souvenir in the first inning, a two-run homer that landed 10 rows deep in the left-field seats. Potential No. 1 draft pick Danny Hultzen had it going on the mound and at the plate as the Cavaliers (51-9) moved within one victory of their third straight Super Regional.

Proscia was a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. Hultzen allowed one run on three hits in seven innings, striking out 12 and walking one. He also went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Virginia's Steven Proscia (19) runs to home plate after hitting a two-run home run against St. John's during the NCAA college regional baseball tournament on Saturday, June 4, 2011, in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia won 10-2. (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)
Virginia’s Steven Proscia (19) runs to home plate after hitting a two-run ... more >

Danny Hultzen is a special talent,” St. John’s coach Ed Blankmeyer said. “If I was sitting in the first spot [of Monday’s MLB draft], I’d take him.”

Right fielder David Coleman also had a huge game for Virginia, going 3-for-5 with four RBI.

Baltz, who had four homers and 11 RBI in the Charlottesville Regional last season, didn’t hurt the Cavaliers with his bat this time around. Hultzen kept the sophomore slugger off balance, mixing an effective slider with a fastball that was hitting 95 mph. Baltz went 1-for-4, but struck out the three times he faced Hultzen.

“You read about him and you don’t understand how effective he is until you get in that batter’s box,” Baltz said. “With a guy like him you got to swing early in the count. He located his fastball all night and had a good slider, good change up.”

Baltz did display a strong right arm in the outfield, gunning down Hultzen at the plate to limit the damage in the first inning, but the Virginia lineup just had too much firepower for the Red Storm (36-21).

The crowd of 5,050 — the largest ever to see a baseball game in Charlottesville — watched the Cavs tack on two more runs in the fourth, three in the fifth, one in the sixth and a pair in the ninth, giving Virginia a lead as comfortable as the 84-degree evening air.

“Who knows where this could end someday,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said. “We’re drawing over 5,000 people now. Why can’t we do 7,000 or 8,000 sometime? I’m sure there were people in this community that wanted to be in this ballpark tonight and couldn’t get in.”

Joe Panick had a solo home run and Kevin Grove an RBI triple for St. John’s, which will face East Carolina in an elimination game Sunday at 1 p.m. Virginia will get the winner of that game at 6 p.m.