Garabedian Heating Up

When he season opened for the University of Miami baseball team, former Christopher Columbus star catcher Alex Garabedian entered with not many expectations for himself.

As a freshman he planned on playing behind starter Eddy Rodriguez.

Unlike the majors where they play almost every day leaving numerous games for the back up catcher to play as a starting catcher needs rest every few days, college baseball is different.

Garabedian would get some time when Rodriguez was getting a day of rest, but with only three and sometimes four games a week, Rodriguez would get 95% of the starts unless he gave coach Jim Morris a reason to bench him. And Rodriguez has given Morris no reason to do that, in fact, solidifying his position even more by developing a dangerous bat to go with his great defense.

But when Rodriguez went down with an injury in the season opener the young freshman was thrust into the spotlight of full time duty behind the plate and had to manage the pitching staff as well as face tough pitching himself when at the plate.

Offensively, he struggled early, and upon Rodriguez getting healthy again, Garabedian went back to the bench for spot duty, but in his time starting behind the plate, he was solid defensively.

However, Garabedian got another shot and has made the most of it when Brendan Katin went down with an injury in practice and his return is unknown.

And it came in an even tougher part of the season, ACC play.

"It was a matter of getting used to the pitching," Garabedian said. "Everything is faster on this level than from high school. It was a major adjustment period, but I am able to pick up the ball quicker out of the pitcher's hand and get good contact."

And contact is something he's gotten on the ball since Garabedian has become the everyday designated hitter while Katin recovers.

Garabedian has appeared in 18 games in ACC play and started 14 of those, most of them at DH.

But nothing was more special to the freshman than his performance at Chapel Hill where he smacked the ball all over the field in a huge series against North Carolina, the seventh ranked team in the country at the time.

He entered that series hitting .261. By the end of the weekend, he had raised his average to .304 after he went 7-for-10 with six runs, seven RBI, a .786 on-base percentage and an unfathomable 1.200 slugging percentage.

The performance earned the wet behind the ears freshman, ACC Player of the Week, a week after Katin had earned the honor.

"It was an incredible honor to be named ACC Player of the Week," Garabedian said. "To be named that as a freshman is unbelievable."

Entering the Florida State series last week, Garabedian was full of confidence and it showed when he drilled a Mark Sauls for a single in his first at bat against the ‘Noles.

"I had goose bumps," Garabedian said. "I just wanted to get contact, and I hit it good. To play in front of this many fans was great."

Although Garabedian didn't scorch the ball during the FSU series like he did against North Carolina, Garabedian is currently hitting .295 for the season with 3 home runs and 27 RBI.

Even more impressive is that he is fourth on the team in batting average in ACC play hitting .339 with 2 home runs and 17 RBI.

The ‘Canes this year don't have as much depth as they've had in the past and the emergence of Garabedian is something that's been huge to this team as Garabedian is the only player that has come off the bench and produced with consistency.

And if he can continue to hit the way he has, when Katin returns, it will make the ‘Canes that much better going down the stretch.

Garabedian and the 'Canes host Maryland tonight at 7 pm.

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