Paradise Product: Edarian Williams

0
103
Edarian Williams celebrating after hitting a triple during UNLV's game against Cal Poly. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

From attending UNLV baseball games as a young fan to showing up to the games in the scarlet and gray as a starting infielder for the Rebels, Edarian Williams grew up in Las Vegas falling in love with the sport. 

“I’ve been coming to games here since I was probably nine or 10 years old. So to now be able to represent this university and team is pretty cool,” Williams said. “The coolest part about it is getting to represent my city and play in front of my favorite friends and family,” 

Williams was only 4 years old when he picked up a baseball bat. He grew up as a Yankees fan, watching Derek Jeter and overall that’s what got him into liking baseball and eventually playing. 

A 2018 graduate of Rancho High School, Williams lettered all four years in baseball while helping the Rams to 29 wins his senior year along with the team finishing as a runner-up in the Sunrise Region playoffs. 

Williams earned the 2018 First Team All-State and All-Sunrise Region honors after hitting .451 with 12 doubles and nine home runs with 38 RBI. 

“It sucked because we didn’t get to go as far as we wanted to,” Williams said. “We had a really good team that year. Joey [Walls Jr] can attest to that too- we played together in high school. The personal achievements were cool, but it sucked because we didn’t get to go as far as we wanted to at least.” 

In his junior year as a Ram, the team had 25 wins and a third-place finish in the NIAA 4A Baseball Championship. Williams was named to the 2017 All-State Honorable Mention list and Second Team All-Sunrise Region. 

Williams finished his high school career ranked as the No. 5 prospect in Nevada, before joining the Rebels in the fall of 2018. He played with both Walls and Jimmy Gamboa in high school, two teammates that he got to carry over into UNLV with him. 

“It’s cool just to have a sense of comfortability,” Williams said. “I guess with these two- I’ve been playing with them since I was 10 years old. So I mean, it makes it easier and makes everything more comfortable.”

Williams’ first year in the scarlet and gray, he led the Rebels in at-bats (234) and hits (80), and ranked second in batting average (.342), and RBI (36) and total bases (98). 

He started 56-of-57 contests with 46 starts at second base, nine as the designated hitter, and one at first base. 

Even with an amazing start to his college career, he was still new to the team and needed a guide for the transition. Junior Bryson Stott helped to teach Williams the ropes at UNLV. 

After the season, Stott got drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Williams was named to Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman All-America Team and earned Mountain West (MW) Co-Freshman of the Year honors. He had 15 extra-base hits with 13 doubles, one triple and one home run with a .419 slugging percentage and a .399 on-base percentage. 

After the games, the Hustlin’ Rebels signed autographs for the young fans on the sidelines and Williams was honored to be able to finally be on the other side for once. 

“It’s humbling to think that I was there at one point as a fan,” Williams said, “and now I’m the one who is signing autographs. It’s pretty cool, but it’s definitely humbling.”

Even with his sophomore year getting cut short in 2020 due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with 38 games canceled, Williams managed to be ranked in the top 100 of two NCAA statistical categories: 10th in triples (three) and 22nd in triples per game (.19). 

Williams led the Rebels in runs (14) and triples (three) while starting in all 17 contests played with all 17 starts at second base. He batted .279 with 19 hits, six of which went for extra bases (three doubles and three triples) while knocking in 10 RBI. 

In 2021, Williams held an average of .360 in 30 starts and 125 at-bats for 26 runs and 45 hits. This season had his best slugging percentage of .552 and a .961 field percentage. 

After Stott left UNLV, Williams grew close with Jack-Thomas Wold who continued to help Williams grow on the team into the player that he is today. Wold was also drafted to the MLB last summer by the New York Mets. 

“[Stott and Wold] were both two influential parts of my early years here at UNLV,” Williams said.

Heading into his fourth year as a Rebel, Williams continues his streak of high performance on the team as he has started in all 27 games for UNLV. 

So far for the new season, Williams holds a .364 average with 39 hits, four of which were home runs. He has had 107 at-bats with 21 runs and 29 RBI. 

Edarian Williams and the rest of the Hustlin’ Rebels return home on April 5 with a 2:05 first pitch against UC Riverside.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here