By Bob Behre
Greg Gasparro has always looked good no matter where he was placed on a baseball diamond while playing for the Diamond Jacks, NJ Super 17 and his high school team, Hopewell Valley. Now that well-rounded ability is shining on a bigger stage.
Gasparro has exploded out of the gate at the start of his junior season at UNC-Asheville (5-9), ripping it to the tune of a team-leading .531 batting average, including a 3-for-4 performance on Saturday as the Bulldogs defeated Georgia Southern, 14-9. Gasparro is batting leadoff of late in the UNC-Asheville lineup and playing center fielder.
The 6-0, 180-pound lefthander is 0-3 on the mound, thus far, including a loss on Sunday to Georgia Southern. Gasparro’s value to the UNC-Asheville lineup is such that, despite getting the start on the mound on Sunday, he batted leadoff in the game. That was the first time this season Gasparro has batted during one of his starts.
“I think the biggest thing is just staying committed to what I’m doing during practice and before games,” said Gasparro about his hot start at the plate, “and trusting what my coaches are telling me.”
Gasparro is 17-for-36 in nine games with four doubles and three RBI. He boasts a gaudy .583 on-base percentage and is slugging at a robust .656. That translates into a hefty 1.239 OPS. The doubles, on-base percentage, slugging and OPS numbers all lead the Bulldogs. The Pennington, N.J. resident batted .286 in 26 games as a sophomore last season.
Gasparro has played all three outfield positions and has batted leadoff six times, all of which have come during his recent hot streak. He was slotted into the leadoff spot for the first time against UMBC on Feb. 23 and responded by going 4-for-6, scoring three runs and driving home three runs in a 17-14 victory. He was named Big South Conference Player of the Week on March 3.
“I try not think about stuff like (where I’m hitting in the lineup),” said Gasparro. “I’m just trying to get better-and-better, week-to-week.”
Gasparro was also named the Big South Starting Pitcher of the Week on April 30, 2018. He’s posted a 5-12 career record at UNC-Asheville with a 4.79 ERA, starting 25 of the 31 games he’s appeared in. He’s struck out 91 batters in 124 innings.
He went 14-4 on the mound with a 0.96 ERA in his high school career at Hopewell Valley, amassing 164 strikeouts in 116 innings. He also batted .416 in his scholastic career. Greg was named the Colonial Valley Conference Player of the Year his senior season in 2016 when he also was named to New Jersey’s All-State team.