Gophers shortstop Terrin Vavra has not been fully healthy in his collegiate career —until now.
He has recovered from a back injury that left him on the sidelines for much of his freshman season, and he was not able to fully recover in his second year of college baseball. The result of him being healthy has been a .385 batting average in more than 100 at bats this year, which leads the team.
"He was really limited on what he could do in practice and in the weight room," head coach John Anderson said. "Since last summer 'til now he's been healthy, he's been able to practice every day and be in the weight room, and really work on his body."
Vavra's has batted in the most runs with 25 RBIs while starting all 28 games for the Gophers through the first half of the season.
"Baseball is a game with a lot of opportunities," Vavra said. "You never want to take any opportunities for granted, and you want to cherish each and every one of them."
The stress fracture in his back kept Varva limited to playing in 32 games as a freshman. Then, he started in 50 out of 57, but his back injury lingered throughout the season.
However, after a summer season playing baseball on the east coast with the Cape Cod League, as well as offseason workouts to keep his back and body healthy, Vavra is now fully recovered.
"Since [Vavra] stepped foot on campus, he's always been probably one of the better players in our program," infielder Micah Coffey said. "I think his commitment to his diet and his overall health is really what has helped him become a better baseball player because the skills were all there."
The Gophers had an idea about what they could be getting out of a fully healthy Vavra. Both of his brothers, Tanner and Trey, played college baseball and were later drafted and played professionally. His father, Joe, has coached professionally for almost 30 years and is now with the Detroit Tigers.
"[Vavra's] got a high baseball IQ, and it comes from his family," Anderson said. "It was very evident his freshman year. He had an advanced plan and approach and a feel for how to put together a good plan and approach at home plate you don't see normally out of freshmen."
Terrin Vavra's oldest brother, Tanner, who played with the St. Paul Saints last summer, said Terrin was the best of the three brothers even though the older two Vavras have played professionally.
"From a young age we've seen that he's special," Tanner Vavra said. "I'm not exactly surprised that he's having the success he's having at the plate and even in the field."