Home UVA Baseball: Top D3 catcher Jacob Ference commits to ‘Hoos off the transfer portal

UVA Baseball: Top D3 catcher Jacob Ference commits to ‘Hoos off the transfer portal

Chris Graham
uva baseball
Photo: UVA Athletics

UVA baseball coach Brian O’Connor has landed a top D3 catcher off the transfer portal, getting the commitment of Salisbury University backstop Jacob Ference this week.

Ference, a 6’2”, 210-pounder, slashed .364/.460/.773 with a 1.233 OPS, a school-record 14 homers and 45 RBIs in 2023.

Behind the plate, Ference threw out 10 of 25 would-be stealers on the season.

Ference will be in the running to take over the job at catcher with the departure of ACC Player of the Year Kyle Teel, who was a first-round 2023 MLB Draft pick, taken 14th overall by the Boston Red Sox.

There were three other catchers on the UVA roster in 2023: Ethan Anderson, a rising junior who was a third-team All-ACC selection at first base; Colin Tuft, who primarily platooned in left field with Harrison Didawick last season, and transferred in the offseason to Tulane; and Travis Reifsnider, a grad transfer from JMU whose eligibility has expired.

The 2023 prep recruiting class has one incoming freshman at catcher – Mark Gialluisi, a 5’11”, 195-pounder from Westfield, N.J., who was ranked by Perfect Game as the 500th-best recruit overall nationally in the class of 2023, and was the 56th-ranked catcher in the class.

Back to Ference: the Mount Airy, Md., native has his undergraduate degree in business management, and will compete at UVA next season as a grad student.

While at Salisbury, Ference helped lead the Seagulls to a D3 national title in 2021, and in his four seasons at the school, his teams rang up a record of 117-27.

One might expect O’Connor to try to scan the portal for at least one more catcher type, for depth.

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].