Freshman Hochanadel Making His Presence Felt

Harvard baseball coach Liegh Hogan went to Ohio two years ago looking for some pitchers.

Instead, Hogan found Mike Hochanadel, then a hard-hitting junior at Columbus Academy. Although Hogan could not talk to Hochanadel because of NCAA regulations, the coach liked what he saw.

Fast forward to the 1994 sports season. Hochanadel, now a freshman at Harvard, has played in 16 of Harvard's 17 games this season, including all eight Ivy League contests. His three home runs and 88 put-outs lead the team. He is second on the squad in both batting average (.346) and slugging percentage (.577), and is third in RBIs (16).

Hochanadel (pronounced HO-can-ah-del) is a product of Gahanna, a suburb of Columbus, OH.

A four-year varsity starting shortstop is high school, Hochanadel now fills even bigger shoes as Harvard's starting first baseman and number-eight hitter.

He has had little problem adjusting to college ball.

"Mike hasn't looked like a freshman or acted like a freshman," senior captain Mike Giardi said. "He's acted like a baseball player. He had a role to fill and he has stepped up to fill it. He's hit the ball very well and done a great job in the field."

Aggressive Hitter

Hochanadel is an aggressive hitter cut from the Ted Williams mold. Driving off his back foot and getting power from his hips, Hochanadel smacks bullet-like line drives to all fields.

Those line drives have cleared the fences three times and fallen in for three doubles and twelve singles.

"Teams are starting to have to worry about him a lot," Giardi said. "He has a lot of power and he makes really good contact. He has not shown opposing teams any weaknesses."

Hochanadel is perhaps strongest in the clutch, a situation which he loves.

"He has had several clutch hits," Giardi said.

"I love hitting in the clutch," Hochanadel said. "I was really upset the other day because I choked with the bases loaded. I look forward to the opportunity of getting up with people on base. I was much better hitter with people on base in high school."

Hochanadel twice won the Central District RBI crown during his high school years.