CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – The Virginia Cavaliers are ranked third in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll of Division 1 baseball teams. The team spent most of the early season ranked first in the nation, but dropped to third in the latest poll. South Plainfield High School 2011 graduate Brandon Downes has helped power the Cavaliers to a 12-3 record and a top-five ranking in almost all Division 1 polls.

Downes is the cleanup hitter in the powerful Cavalier lineup. He led  the Cavaliers in home runs last season with 10. He patrols center field for the University of Virginia. Downes made the switch to outfield while in high school and has turned into one of the leading collegiate players both in the outfield and at the plate. 

Virginia is on a six-game homestand, with games against James Madison, Boston College, Rutgers and Towson State. The Cavaliers won all three of their weekend matchups earlier this season, sweeping both East Carolina and Monmouth at home and taking two of three at Duke.

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Colorado Rockies scout Mike Garlatti last week had this to say about Downes: “ Brandon has worked hard and often at becoming a better baseball player.  He continues to work at improving his game.  He has a great support system with his family, friends and the University of Virginia.  He is poised to have a great 2014 and should be able to play at the next level.  He has improved his skills and has gotten bigger and stronger.” 

When asked about her son, Kathy Downes had this to say:  “We are so proud of him.  He has worked so hard following his dream.  It is such a great and exciting experience watching the games down at the University of Virginia.” 

The Alternative Press of South Plainfield will continue to follow Downes and the Cavaliers as the season progresses.