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Eric Becker, Luke Hanson form effective platoon at the hot corner for UVA

eric becker uva baseball
Eric Becker. Photo: UVA Athletics

Henry Godbout had to miss three weeks in April with a foot injury. That took UVA’s second-best hitter out of the lineup, but it also got freshman Eric Becker a chance at regular at bats.

“We hated to see Henry Godbout get hurt when he was out for those three weeks, but that was the best thing that could have happened for Eric Becker’s development. It put him in the lineup every day, he played second base, and from that point on, he took off, I mean, you look at his home runs and his production during that time and following that time, it’s really, really impressive,” UVA coach Brian O’Connor told reporters on Saturday night, after his team’s come-from-behind 5-4 win over Mississippi State, in which Becker, starting at third base, drove in four runs.

Becker played well enough at second base in Godbout’s absence – putting up a .353/.463/.765 slash line, with four homers and 16 RBIs in 10 games – that O’Connor decided to platoon him with sophomore Luke Hanson at third, with Becker starting against left-handers, and Hanson starting against right-handers.

This past weekend, Becker got the starts against Penn and Mississippi State, and in Game 2, he was 2-for-4 with a double and the four RBIs – on a two-run triple in the second inning, and a game-tying two-run single in the seventh.

luke hanson uva baseball
Luke Hanson. Photo: UVA Athletics

In Game 3, then, Hanson started against Mississippi State lefty Pico Kohn, and had the loudest 1-for-4 you can imagine.

The 1 in the 1-for-4 was a ninth-inning, bases-loaded single that plated two runs, making a 3-2 game a 5-2 game, fueling a six-run rally that put the game, and the Charlottesville Regional, away.

“Those two young men understand what their role is, and that we’re in a platoon situation,” O’Connor said.

“Once I knew that they were going to start a left-handed starter, Luke Hanson was going to be in there, and then he made a fantastic, fantastic play at third base, a couple of other slow roller grounders coming in that he made the play on,” O’Connor said.

“We’ve got confidence in both of those guys,” O’Connor said. “That hit was huge, you know, it was the big hit, I think, that led to us being able to open it up a little bit. We all have confidence in Luke just like we do the other guys, and it was his moment, and he stepped up and put a good swing on the baseball.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].