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UVA's Ethan Anderson is Underrated

(Photo courtesy of University of Virginia Athletics)

On Tuesday night, the University of Virginia traveled east on I-64 to take on in-state rival Virginia Commonwealth in front of a large crowd at The Diamond in Richmond. After a disappointing series over the past weekend against Pittsburgh, the ‘Hoos unleashed their fury on a hapless Rams team to the tune of 19 runs. While Jake Gelof and Kyle Teel both homered, it was Ethan Anderson who really shined in the lopsided victory, going 5-6 with 2 home runs and 3 doubles. He homered from both sides of the plate and would’ve gotten a sixth hit if not for a fantastic diving play by VCU outfielder AJ Mathis near the wall in right center field. Anderson is the first UVA hitter to get five hits in a game since 2013.

The college baseball season is now well past the halfway mark, and UVA has solidified itself as a Top 10 team in the country. The Cavaliers are 32-6 and lead the ACC in runs scored, batting average, doubles, and on-base percentage. They’re second in the ACC in slugging. When looking at their lineup, it’s easy to pinpoint likely 2023 MLB first round draft pick Teel and the school’s all-time home run king in Gelof. Beyond those two sluggers, much of the leftover attention goes to table setters Griff O’Ferrall or Ethan O’Donnell at the top of the order. But not enough is being said about the steady performance of Anderson, the second-year first baseman who has been an absolute stud for the ‘Hoos this season.

Despite being overshadowed by his aforementioned teammates, Anderson is among the Top 10 hitters in the ACC in batting average, hits, doubles, RBIs, and on-base percentage. The Virginia Beach native is hitting .392 on the year with 7 home runs and 39 RBI. He is tied for 4th in the ACC with 15 doubles and has scored 39 runs. He has walked (27) more times than he’s struck out (21).

The switch hitter’s performance this season has been critical to UVA’s success, especially with fellow second year Casey Saucke in the midst of a dreaded sophomore slump. Saucke was originally the fifth hitter in UVA’s vaunted lineup starting the season. However, after only hitting .255 with 2 home runs on the year, he’s slipped down to the seventh spot in the lineup, while Anderson has emerged as the main man hitting behind Gelof and Teel in the five spot. Without Anderson’s consistent bat in the role, Virginia wouldn’t be the offensive force that it is right now, and the pressure on Saucke’s struggling shoulders would be all the more prominent.

It should also be noted that Anderson is an essential part of next year’s team as well, after O’Donnell, Teel, and Gelof likely depart. He was the top catcher in Virginia coming out of high school in 2021 and is the heir apparent at the position once Kyle Teel gets drafted this upcoming summer. It’s safe to say that the position and role in the lineup is in safe and capable hands, both for the present and into the future.


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