MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Buying in at the start of the season is paying off for Gopher baseball late in the year.
With a regular-season Big Ten title already sealed and a chance to win the conference tournament, an all-around effort is paving the team’s path to prominence.
“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing,” Gopher baseball head coach John Anderson said. “We don’t need to do anything differently. If we do that and play the game the way we have all year, we will be fine.”
It is a team game, but on offense junior Terrin Vavra is stepping up to the plate and setting the tone for the rest of the Minnesota team. His .392 average currently ranks in the Top 20 of batters in NCAA Division I baseball.
“Each of us has more to prove and we’re all hungry for our next opportunity,” Vavra said. “Whoever is at the plate is ready to go.”
“I think having him in the lineup and the performance he’s given us consistently all year, I think it gives other guys confidence,” Anderson said.
The hitting numbers certainly jump out, but putting baseballs out of the park is in Terrin Vavra’s blood. His dad, Joe, spent seven seasons as hitting coach for the Twins and is now with the Detroit Tigers. His brothers, Tanner and Trey, also excelled in college and moved on to the professional ranks. A full-family affair is helping Terrin Vavra go on a tear at the U.
“I’m trying my best to learn from everything that they’ve been through,” Vavra said of his relationship with his father and two older brothers. “They’ve been huge in me developing as a player.”
“Combine his talent, his background of the game, his baseball IQ and the fact that he’s been healthy, I think you’re seeing what we thought we had all along,” Anderson added.
After fighting a nagging back injury his first few seasons at Minnesota, Vavra is back to full strength and it shows. Postseason accolades are rolling in and Vavra landed on the All-Big Ten First Team this year. Personal success is great, but a successful run in the NCAA Tournament with his Minnesota team would be the real hit for Vavra in 2018.
“We haven’t hosted NCAA Regionals very much in the U’s history and that’s something we all want to do here,” Vavra said. “We’re just going to take it one pitch at a time and hopefully that stuff will take care of itself.”
The Gophers are currently playing in the Big Ten Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska. Winning a title this weekend in the conference tournament would be Minnesota’s first since 2010.