Andrew Dobies arrived at Virginia hoping to play first base, but soon realized hitting on the collegiate level was not an easy task.

Instead, the left-hander focused on pitching, establishing himself as a key player for the Cavaliers. Yesterday, one day after Virginia was eliminated from the NCAA tournament, Dobies was selected in the third round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft, the highest a Virginia player has been selected in eight years.

Dobies, whose stock rose after he gained velocity on his fastball to 92 mph, was the first area player selected in the draft that started with 18 rounds yesterday and will resume today.

"I was a late bloomer, I guess I matured late," said Dobies, who went 6-3 with a 3.41 ERA this season. "I always liked hitting in high school, but it's a different game hitting-wise from high school to college."

Two other Virginia players also were selected yesterday. First baseman Joe Koshansky, the ACC player of the year from Chantilly High, was taken in the sixth round by Colorado and shortstop Mark Reynolds went to Arizona in the 16th.

A series of Virginia college players were among the first players drafted yesterday. Right-hander Justin Verlander of Old Dominion was picked second overall by Detroit. William & Mary left-hander Bill Bray was taken 13th overall by Montreal. Los Angeles selected righty Justin Orenduff from Virginia Commonwealth with a compensatory pick after the first round.

Righty Nick Adenhart from Williamsport (Md.) High, who had been expected to be a first-round pick until a recent injury, was selected in the 14th round by Anaheim.

In the fourth round, the Yankees took Jason Jones, a right-handed pitcher from Pasadena who played at Liberty University. Jones missed all of last season and last summer because of an injured left knee, but returned this season and attracted attention with a fastball that reached 94 mph.

"The time off kind of helped me out a lot, just growing and being around the game," Jones said. "I learned a lot from our pitching coach, Coach [Randy] Tomlin. Being around him and having the extra time, not having to do the daily grind, it made me appreciate it more and made me work harder when I did get back."

George Washington outfielder John Raglani was taken in the fifth round by Los Angeles, the highest a Colonials player has ever been selected.

Shortstop Brandon Conway from Frederick Community College was taken in the ninth round by the Orioles.

Outfielder Justin Maxwell, who had two standout seasons at Maryland before missing this season because of an injury, was taken in the 10th round by Texas. Maryland first baseman Kevin Hart went in the 11th to the Orioles.

Virginia Tech righty Jeff Landing was taken in the 12th round by the Mets and George Mason shortstop Jeff Palumbo in the 15th by San Francisco.

Shortstop Andy Schlinding, a second-team All-Met this past season at St. John's, was taken by the Orioles in the 16th round. East Carolina catcher John Poppert, who played at Hylton, was taken in the 17th round by Montreal.

Special correspondent Jim Reedy contributed to this report.