At the time, Nick Ferdinand could not see anything positive from the leg sprain he suffered in the autumn of his freshman year at Bloomsburg University. The strain in his leg, though, helped remove a lot of strain about the future for the former Archbishop Ryan two-sport athlete from Bensalem.
“When I was coming out of Ryan, I really wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do, football or baseball,” Ferdinand said. “Bloomsburg gave me the opportunity to do both. My first couple of months there, I ended up getting hurt and that gave me the opportunity to think about it and I decided I wanted to concentrate on baseball.”
With football out of the picture, Ferdinand finished a strong freshman year playing baseball at Bloomsburg, then looked to transfer to a higher level.
He has now found a home at the University of Delaware, where has posted batting averages of .312 and .313 in his sophomore and junior seasons and is now hitting .384 in a season highlighted by a nine-game hitting streak.
“He’s getting some looks by the (major league) scouts,” said University of Delaware head coach Jim Sherman. “I think he can play on the next level if he puts his mind to it and continues to work. He’s a hard-working, detail-oriented type kid.”
Ferdinand, a first team All-Catholic selection in both baseball and football at Archbishop Ryan, is now batting in the cleanup spot for the Blue Hens. With almost half of the season still remaining, he’s already matched his home run totals for last year and raised his batting average significantly. Ferdinand is currently second on the Blue Hens in hits (38) and RBI (29), and is tied for second with four home runs.
Whether he’s drafted or not, there’s no disputing his numbers.
And that’s good enough for now.
“That’s something out of my control. You never know if you are going to be drafted or where you are going to be drafted, but all you can ask for is a shot and that’s what I want,” Ferdinand said. “I figure I can control the things I can control, like my performance, and all of the other things will fall into place.”
While competing for the Raiders, Ferdinand was used to winning in baseball and that’s continued at Delaware, particularly this year. Despite some dreadful weather, Delaware was 14-8 and 3-3 in the Colonial Athletic Conference.
“It is what it is,” Sherman said. “We’re fortunate enough to be in a baseball league where a lot of the schools, like James Madison and the rest, are south of us so it’s not quite as bad as some of the weather we’ve had for our home games.”
Ferdinand also has played in the summer the past two seasons in the Coastal Plains League for the Martinsville (Va.) team, a league for college all-stars.
“I didn’t do as well as I wanted to do there, but it was a great experience in that it prepares you for the next level,” Ferdinand said. “It’s a grind, 54 games in 60 days, but it’s a good grind because you are doing something that you love. Plus, there are always scouts down there and they make sure that they follow you at the college level.
“Fortunately, I’ve had a decent couple of years here.”
More than decent, according to Sherman.
“He can hit for average and hit with power and he can run,” he said. “Plus, he can field his position. A lot of times you have guys do one or two of those things, but not all of them well.”
At Archbishop Ryan, Ferdinand worked as a stellar shortstop, but at Delaware he plays right field.
“I love it,” he said. “Outfield was always my best position. As a football player, I was a wide receiver so playing right field gives me a chance to use some of the same instincts in going out there and catching the ball. Plus, I have a pretty strong arm and that helps out there, too.”
If being on the field doesn’t work out, Ferdinand can put his experience of working in the stands to good use. When he’s not in baseball season, he works on the events staff at the Bob Carpenter Center, the home to Delaware men’s and women’s basketball.
“It gives me an opportunity to support the men’s and women’s basketball teams,” Ferdinand said. “Because of baseball season, I end up working there from September to January.
“My job consists mainly of ushering — leading people to their seats — and doing things like breaking down tables and setting things up so that everything is ready for the event.”
The experience has given Ferdinand — a history major with a minor in entrepreneurial studies — a peek into the business world.
“It’s got me thinking about maybe getting in a sales position or starting my own business or maybe sports marketing,” he said. “First, though, I’m going to play as hard as I can for an opportunity to play as long as I can.” ••