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Army baseball draws Virginia in Charlottesville regional

Photo provided by Army West Point Athletics

Army baseball is headed to the NCAA Charlottesville regional for a reunion with a former teammate.

The Black Knights drew host and seventh-seeded Virginia in the regional’s opening game Friday at noon. Former Army pitcher Connelly Early leads the Cavaliers with a 10-2 record and 3.39 ERA among starters.

Early transferred to Virginia after his sophomore season at West Point. He started Army’s 2022 NCAA opener against Southern Mississippi and took the loss in a 2-0 game.

Army (38-16), led by shortstop and Patriot League tournament MVP Kevin Debrule, will be playing in the Charlottesville regional for the third time. The Black Knights played Virginia in the regional opener in 2012 and 2013, falling 9-1 and 2-1 respectively. Army is seeking its first NCAA regional victory since it defeated North Carolina State 5-1 on June 1, 2018 in Raleigh, N.C.

The Black Knights are one win away tying the program’s season record for victories in a season (39 set in 2005).

Debrule is tied for 11th in the country with a .411 batting average. He leads the Black Knights with 68 RBI (tied for 34th in the nation). Senior first baseman Ross Friedrick has added a team-high 17 home runs and 58 RBI. Third baseman Sam Ruta (13 HR, 58 RBI), catcher Derek Berg (12 HR, 42 RBI) and outfielder Braden Golinski (13 HR, 52 RBI) also power Army’s offense. Junior Mike Ruggieri tops Army with 9-1 record.

Oklahoma and East Carolina play in the other regional opening-round game.

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