Just hours after being taken in the third round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Colorado Rockies, Gophers junior shortstop Terrin Vavra still was trying to let that big news sink in.
Vavra said the Rockies had been talking with his adviser a bit in recent days, but he didn’t know whether that would translate into their choosing him with the 96th overall pick.
"I wasn’t sure how it would shape up,” Vavra said before practice Tuesday. "But I couldn’t be more excited to be with the Rockies.”
His first phone call was to his dad, Joe, a coach with the Detroit Tigers. Then he called family and friends. But then he refocused on what is next: the Gophers’ NCAA super regional at Oregon State. The series will begin Friday in Corvallis.
"This is a crazy time, a fun time,” Vavra said. "You have to soak it all in, because these are experiences you’ll never forget. But right now I’m focused on playing Oregon State and, hopefully, taking the Gophers to the College World Series.”
There was a touching moment on the field before practice when Vavra was congratulated by Gophers coach John Anderson.
"He has worked extremely hard,” Anderson said. "It hasn’t been an easy climb for him here, because of his back problems his first two years. He never quit working or believing he’d get healthy. He’s been a great leader. I’m sure he’ll move on to pro baseball, and good for him.”
Anderson and his team are well aware of how good Oregon State is, how they’ve gone 56-6 at home over the past two years, sweeping three regionals in that time, having two players taken in the first round of the MLB draft.
"It will be a big, big challenge,” Anderson said. "But this group has taken on every challenge we’ve thrown at ’em the last three, four years. They’ve played in environments like that. I think they found out they can compete with anyone in the country. I think they’re ready to go in there and embrace that challenge. I think it will be a great baseball series.
The best-of-three format means Anderson will pull out all the stops should the series go the distance. As expected, Reggie Meyer will start Friday’s game and Patrick Fredrickson will go on Saturday. After that? Best pitcher up. Anderson said he’d consider starting closer Max Meyer on Sunday, depending on how much he was used in the first two games.
"If you’re down to elimination, it’s all hands on deck,” Anderson said.