While most students enjoy spring weekends on campus by hanging out in the nicer weather and looking forward to the end of the semester, graduate student Ethan Hibbard and the Fairfield University baseball team spend theirs on a campaign that has only just started. 

Hibbard, the starting catcher for the Stags, is an instrumental part of Fairfield University baseball. This season, Hibbard has knocked out 12 home runs, 42 RBI, maintained a batting average of .418 and earned an OPS of 1.314; he leads the MAAC with all four stats and ranks within the top 20 in the nation in batting averages.

Just last month, Hibbard was named the MAAC Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks after tying a single-game program record of nine RBI in the first week and the single-game program record of three home runs in the next. When asked about what it means to be recognized as an individual, Hibbard explained that recognition is welcomed, but he has a bigger goal in mind. 

“Personal accolades are nice, they make you feel good for a bit, but team awards mean more to me. MAAC player of the week is cool, but I want to be known as a MAAC Champion.”

Hibbard is not shy with his goals and expectations for the team. He wants them to go all the way and believes this 2024 team can do just that. After the Stags have picked themselves back up after a slow start to the season, Hibbard declared, “There’s only one goal for the rest of the year and that’s winning a ring!”

When witnessing the talent of a player like Hibbard, it is natural to try and imagine the upbringing of the athlete who inspired them and how they discovered their affinity for the sport. For Hibbard, former Yankees’ catcher Jorge Posada has been an inspiration since he was younger. Hibbard elaborated on looking up to Posada when growing up, “As a Yankee fan, he was always the backbone of world champion teams. He played hard and made big plays in big moments!” Posada was part of five World Series-winning teams, so the standard for winning came naturally to a Yankee fan like Hibbard. 

Like many other baseball players, Hibbard started in the little leagues. His affinity for catching stems from then. 

“I was the first kid in little league to put on the catcher’s gear and I’ve never taken it off!” Hibbard went on to explain how he openly invites the obstacles that his position poses. 

“I was always up to the challenge of being a catcher and a leader on and off of the field. Catching’s big challenge is controlling the pitching staff and being the catalyst of the defense. It’s a very rewarding position when everything clicks!”

For Hibbard, choosing baseball was a given. Throughout high school, he always had baseball at the forefront of his mind while also playing basketball and soccer on a varsity level.

“I went to a very small high school and I always knew that baseball was what I wanted to pursue. I played soccer and basketball to stay in shape and be in competition all year round,” Hibbard admits. 

Some numbers carry immense significance in baseball. Players often try to wear the same numbers as their idols, and Hibbard is no exception.

“I wore number 3 and number 28 growing up because of Babe Ruth and Buster Posey,” Hibbard shared. “I wear 31 now and there wasn’t a real significance to it, but now I’ll always be 31.” 

Hibbard has been with Fairfield University for his entire collegiate career, starting in 2020. “I chose Fairfield because of the beautiful atmosphere and winning culture within the baseball program,” Hibbard reflected.

Off the diamond, he is pursuing his Master’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering. “I’ve always wanted to be an engineer. Building legos and little robots growing up made me fall in love with creating something out of nothing,” Hibbard enthused. “I chose to come back to Fairfield for my MS in ECE because I feel like my professors have always supported me and care about my success.” 

When prompted to share a little about managing the demands of his master’s program, Hibbard credited the close-knit community of the School of Engineering. “I’ve been in the same classes as a few of my close friends and we get through the hard times in class together!”

Support for Hibbard reaches far beyond the classroom. As a team, the Stags have shown nothing short of resilience after a 0-10 start to the season. “This season didn’t start well for us, we wanted more from our early southern trips,” Hibbard mused. He went on to reflect on the more recent parts of the season, “We turned it around and now the vibes are as high as ever in the Stag dugout! We are gunning for the MAAC championship!”

Hibbard kept it simple when describing the emotions of both winning and losing. “Winning is fun! Getting together with the guys and enjoying ourselves as a group is the best way to celebrate a series win! Losing sucks, learning from mistakes and building on positives is the best way to bounce back,” he noted. 

The Stags’ bounce-back is no small feat, and Hibbard hopes to garner more support from the Fairfield community as the season goes on. “I think more people on campus should have their eyes on the baseball team.” He then circled back to the winning culture that brought him to Stag country in the first place, “We’ve had success the past few years and we’re looking to finish the job this year!” 

The Stags are in search of their fourth-straight MAAC regular season championship with 18 conference games left to play. In true leader fashion, Hibbard left a promotion for the team at the end of his interview, “Everyone should come to support the team this upcoming weekend against St. Peter’s!” 

About The Author

- Freshman | Assistant Sports Editor | Political Science Major -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.