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UVA loses Chase Hungate to the SEC: Curious move for Hungate, big loss for UVA

Photo: UVA Baseball/YouTube

Chase Hungate, on his way to Mississippi State, which he closed out in the Charlottesville Regional last month, is a big loss for UVA Baseball coach Brian O’Connor.

Hungate was Virginia’s only consistently reliable righty in the bullpen in 2024, going 7-2 with a 3.78 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 53.0 innings, striking out 37 and walking 13 across his 30 appearances.

The ERA is artificially high because of the seven runs he gave up in an inning and two-thirds in a win over UNC in April; accounting for that one, Hungate otherwise pitched to a 2.63 ERA, which more fits in with his fundamentals.

The feeling among the UVA fan base is that Mississippi State had to have lured Hungate with NIL money, which may or may not be the case.

Baseball isn’t a revenue sport, even in the SEC, and Hungate, a rising senior who is draft-eligible, but doesn’t seem to have any serious interest from MLB, doesn’t exactly have what you’d call leverage.

Hungate is, though, a good college pitcher, with a sidearm delivery that is tough for righthanded hitters to pick up – righties slashed .265/.328/.363 with two homers in 116 plate appearances in 2024.

And he wasn’t as bad against lefties as you’d expect with that delivery – lefthanded hitters slashed .264/.339/.434 with a homer and five extra-base hits in 59 plate appearances in 2024.

OK, so, actually, that .773 OPS against lefties, yeah, that can be a problem.

His stuff isn’t great – his fastball sits 85-87 mph – but the 53.0 innings was the most of the bullpen staff, harkening to the line about the greatest ability being availability.

Hungate was probably going to be the setup man at Virginia if had decided to return in 2025.

It’s hard to imagine a sidearm guy with a fastball in the mid-80s is any more than that in the SEC.

So, curious move for Hungate, and again, big loss for Virginia.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," 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].