The Rod Wave: Dominic Freeberger looking like most valuable addition for Hook C

10/2/22 Baseball vs URI by Erin Knapp. In a 14 inning game, the UConn Huskies take on the University of Rhode Island Rams at Elliot Ballpark in Storrs, Ct, on Sunday afternoon. The Huskies beat the rams 18-3 in their first official game of the season.

With each college baseball season, there’s new talent to watch, and with each new player, there’s hope that they can bring some valuable production to squads looking to do big things in 2023. 

However, while transfers like Stephen Quigley and Luke Broadhurst have shown valuable production for UConn baseball thus far, I believe that by the end of the season, the most valuable of all these additions will be Dominic Freeberger. 

For the transfer utility player from the UNC Asheville Bulldogs, this isn’t far-fetched, especially after what he’s done in UConn’s first two road trips of the season. While he was a member of the Bulldogs in 2021 and 2022, Freeberger was a very high-quality hitter at the plate, batting .333 and .343 respectively in his junior and senior seasons. Add on his two First Team All-Big South selections, and his legacy only grows. Now, with what he’s shown at UConn thus far, he has the opportunity to take his game to the next level. 

One of the things that manager Jim Penders has pointed out about why Freeberger is such a valuable player to his team is his intangibles beyond the stat sheet. Freeberger is aggressive at the plate, will have “gritty” at-bats and is a competitor beyond all else. Those positives of his game have served him well in plenty of moments where his team has needed him the most, such as the Huskies’ win over Cal Poly where Freeberger would come in clutch with a two-RBI single. It’s also a trait that should serve him very well as the season goes on, and the Huskies will need him in additional pivotal late-inning moments if he were to come up to bat. 

While Penders has pointed out that his team has had trouble with striking out in the Ohio State series, Freeberger has actually been doing well with putting the ball in play while having quality at-bats, as signified by a .353 BABIP. In both 2021 and 2022, he struck out less than 12% of the time. With more experience at UConn, I believe that will be the case in 2023 as well. Even when he hasn’t been able to get hits for his team, he’s still having quality at-bats and simply putting the ball in play like he did against Cal on Saturday for an RBI groundout was helpful in giving the team some hope to build towards a comeback. 

Of course, you have to talk about Freeberger’s ability to play multiple positions when mentioning his value to the team. The Hook C utility player can play in both the infield and outfield, and while he’s only been seen at third base this season, that’s most likely not going to be the only spot we see him. This includes the pitcher’s mound, where he gave the Bulldogs multiple relief appearances last season and floats a mid-90s fastball. It’s even more beneficial when you see that he’s shown his durability in 2021 and 2022 as he played both 48 and 51 games respectively. 

When you combine all of these positives, you’re going to get a really high-quality ballplayer for your team, and with Freeberger, he’s that and more. It took just a game to get settled in for the Hook C transfer, and with two UConn road trips under his belt, it looks like just the beginning of a spectacular season. 

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