Nic Kent grew up in Charlottesville watching Virginia games from the stands. The second baseman has made the most of his first season with his home-state team, and is hitting .333 entering this week’s ACC Tournament.
Monday, Kent was recognized as a member of the All-ACC first team and the conference’s All-Freshman team. He’s the first Virginia freshman to earn first-team honors since former left-hander Danny Hultzen in 2009.
Shortstop Tanner Morris was named to the league’s second team. Morris and Kent both played locally in high school. Kent spent his high school career at St. Anne’s-Belfield in Charlottesville. Morris began his high school career at STAB before transferring to the Miller School in Crozet.
“He just plays the game with a lot of pride,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said of Kent on May 11, after the freshman went 4-for-4 in Virginia’s 12-6 win over Louisville. “He plays the game the right way. You never see him hang his head. He runs every ball out and he plays hard.”
In an uneven season, Kent has provided a steadying presence for Virginia. He’s started the last 47 games at second base and his 41 RBI are tied for first on the team along with designated hitter Brendan Rivoli.
Kent leads the ACC and ranks No. 17 in the nation with 11 sacrifice bunts and his .333 batting average is second on the team and No. 11 in the ACC. He enters the conference tournament with an 11-game hitting streak.
Morris leads Virginia with a .353 batting average. He leads the ACC in doubles (16) and is two doubles away from matching the program’s single-season record.
Kent and Morris return to the diamond Wednesday evening to lead No. 9 seed Virginia against No. 5 North Carolina in the opening round of the ACC Tournament.