Drew Ehrhard: His Motivation On – and Off – the Baseball Field

By Shane Petagna 

For the University of Tampa utility man Drew Ehrhard, the city, the school, and baseball have all been synonymous with him since he was a kid. 

Ehrhard was born and raised in Tampa. His father, Rodney, played baseball at UT from 1986-1987, and his two-year career was decorated enough to earn an induction into the UT Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

At that time, Drew was captain of the Wharton High School baseball team and fielding offers to play in college.

“I knew right before I committed here is when my dad was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and that was an extraordinary night for not only him, not only me but my entire family,” said Ehrhard. “And it opened my eyes to how cool I thought that was, and he’s been the most influential person in my baseball career. So being able to do something to hopefully follow in his steps one day was something that I thought was special.”

Now as a graduate senior in his sixth season playing for the Spartans, Ehrhard, and his father can be found all over the program’s all-time stats list. In a weekend series against Nova Southeastern University, Ehrhard took first place in career games played, games started, and at-bats. He’s likely to become the first player in program history to eclipse 1000 at-bats before the end of the season.

“Getting it called out during the game and having the coaching staff and all the fans and players kind of give me that moment; it was something special to me, and I’ll never forget it,” said Ehrhard. “It was a blessing to come here and play as long as I have. I know we had all kinds of ups and downs with COVID, and trying to look at it from a better perspective, it led to this, it led to making it all worth something, so I think that’s cool.”

Ehrhard burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2018, starting every game and becoming the first freshman to win an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award for his work at second base. From there, he continued to bat over .300, as he’s done every season of his career, and was a part of the 2019 national championship team. 

“He’s tough on himself, so he was going to outwork everyone,” said coach Joe Urso. “And the best thing is every year he’s gone from starting second baseman, then all of a sudden, he’s filling in the shortstop, filling in third, now he was the number one catcher in 2022.”

Already doing so much as a utility man, Ehrhard became even more valuable to the team when he received extra years of eligibility for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, giving him plenty of time to rack up accolades both on and off the field. 

Some of Ehrhard’s best seasons came in 2021 and 2022, where he combined for ten different first-team honors. These include First-Team All-SSC, ABCA/Rawlings First-Team All-South Region, D2CAA First-Team All-South Region, and CoSIDA First-team Academic All-District. Off the field, Ehrhard has been named to the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll on four occasions and has done so with a 4.0 GPA three times.

“Drew, he’s a natural-born leader. He’s as talented as can be in baseball and just an outstanding person, you know, like the type of kid you want your son to be like one day,” said J.D. Urso, Ehrhard’s longest active teammate. “Respectful to all, works super hard, minds his business. Just a great overall guy. I couldn’t think of a better person to lead our team.”

Among the numerous appearances across the top 10 statistical lists in UT baseball history, Ehrhard is third all-time in hits. Through the first 28 games of 2023, he has amassed 37 hits and needs 34 more across the rest of the season to break the record of 339 set by Ronnie Merrill Jr. 

However, another national championship is a more pressing matter for Ehrhard.

“That would be special to me, but at the end of the day, it’s all about making sure I end up with a ring on my finger as well as all my teammates and the coaching staff,” said Ehrhard. 

Back To Top