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Boys of Summer: Former Golden Eagles off to hot starts to 2013


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Six former Tennessee Tech baseball players made the most of their chances during the 2012 season and have gotten off to hot starts in the 2013 campaign. Many of the former Golden Eagles earned offseason promotions and some even spent time in big league camps.

With nearly the entire 2013 season still ahead, it will be exciting to see how well these young men represent Tennessee Tech University and Golden Eagle baseball over the year. We'll be rolling out updates on these guys throughout the season, so be sure to check every once in a while to see how the former Tech players are progressing in their young careers.

Take a look at the 2013 season so far for six former TTU Golden Eagles baseball players: 


Ryan Dennick – P – #15
Current Club:
Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Double-A Southern League)
MLB Parent Club:
Cincinnati Reds
Born: Jan. 10, 1987
Birthplace: North Olmsted, Ohio
Height: 6-0
Weight: 185
Bats: L
Throws: L

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
PNS SOU 1 0 3.60 1 1 0 0 0 5.0 4 2 2 0 2 1 .211
 Minors  Totals 1
0
3.60
1
1
0
0
0
5.0
4
2
2
0
2
1
.211

Ryan Dennick was picked up by the Cincinnati Reds by way of the Rule 5 Draft this offseason. Since then, the lefty has put together a solid start to the 2013 season, earning a win in his debut in the Reds' system. Dennick went five solid innings, allowing just four hits and two earned runs to grab the W is his only action of this young season.

A member of the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Dennick's team is currently 3-3 on the year and tied for second in the Southern League South.

The next step for Dennick would be a call-up to the Triple-A Louisville Bats of the International League.

To view his profile click here


A.J. Kirby-Jones – 1B – #21
Current Club:
San Antonio Missions (Double-A Texas League)
MLB Parent Club:
San Diego Padres
Born: October 2, 1988
Birthplace: Knoxville, Tenn.
Height: 5-10
Weight: 215
Bats: R
Throws: R

Team League AVG G
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
TB
BB
SO
SB
CS
OBP
SLG
OPS
SA TEX
.000 5
3
0
0
0
0 0 0 0 1
3
0
1
.250 .000
.250
 Minors  Totals .000 5
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
3
0
1
.250
.000
.250

A.J. Kirby-Jones found himself traded in the offseason, leaving the Oakland Athletics organization for a job in the San Diego Padres organization. The former Tech slugger earned a call-up to the Double-A squad after spending the offseason at the Advanced-A level. The first baseman has played sparingly so far this season, collecting just three at-bats in five games. Kirby-Jones was one of four former Golden Eagles to get time at spring camp with his big league team, grabbing an at-bat with the Padres.

A member of the San Antonio Missions, Kirby-Jones' team is currently 5-2 on the year and in third place in the Texas League South.

The next step for Kirby-Jones would be a call-up to the Triple-A Tucson Padres of the Pacific Coast League.

 To view his profile click here


Stephen Pryor – P - #46
Current Club:
Seattle Mariners (MLB)
Born: July 23, 1989
Birthplace: Donelson, Tenn.
Height: 6-4
Weight: 250
Bats: R
Throws: R

 

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO HD SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
SEA ALW
0
0 0.00
5
0
0 0 1 0 4.2
1
0
0
0 0
4
0.21
 Majors  Totals 0
0
0.00
5
0
0
0
1 0
4.2
1
0
0
0
0
4
0.21

Stephen Pryor wrapped up the 2012 season earning a solid 3-1 record while posting a 3.91 ERA in 26 games played. He struck out an impressive 27 batters in just 23.0 innings pitched while allowing just 10 earned runs and surrendering only 13 walks. Opponenets managed just a .253 average against the right hander. In only his fourth MLB appearance, Pryor combined with five other Mariners for a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 8. Pryor struck out a batter and earned the victory for his first career win. His 2012 performance earned him a spot on the big league squad for 2013 in what will be his rookie season.

Pryor has made a speedy climb through the Mariners' organization, jumping from Double-A to Triple-A to the Majors. He now ranks as Seattle's sixth best prospect according to MLB.com's 2013 Prospect Watch. Many experts have tabbed Pryor as the Mariner's closer-in-waiting this season.

So far this season, Pryor has made five appearances, tossing 4.2 innings of one-hit ball while striking out four. The Mariners, which have fought injuries all spring, are currently 4-7 on the year, good enough for third place in the American League West.

In only his fourth MLB appearance, Pryor combined with five other Mariners for a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 8. Pryor struck out a batter and earned the victory for his first career win.

To view his profile click here.

Adam Liberatore – P – #32
Current Club:
Durham Bulls (Triple-A International League)
MLB Parent Club:
Tampa Bay Rays
Born: May 12, 1987
Birthplace: Bellflower, Calif.
Height: 6-3
Weight: 225
Bats: L
Throws: L

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
MTG SOU
0
0 0.00
1 0
0 0 1
2.0
1
0
0
0 0
3
.143
DUR
INT
0 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 0
3.0 0
0 0 0 1
1
.000
 Minors  Totals 0
0
0.00
3
0
0
0
1
5.0
1
0
0
0
1
4
.063

Adam Liberatore has had an interesting spring thus far. The lefty tore up Triple-A hitting after a mid-July call-up last season. He allowed just three earned runs in 16 appearances spanning 21.0 innings. His 1.29 ERA as a Durham Bull was fantastic, as were the 21 strikeouts to only eight walks. He allowed just a .225 average by batters and really finished the season on a stellar streak.

Despite his strong performance to wrap up 2012, Liberatore found himself starting 2013 at the Double-A level. He pitched one game, earning a save after two innings and three strikeouts. It proved more than enough as Liberatore received a call back up the Triple-A club. Since his call-up, he has pitched twice, tossing three innings of hitless ball with a walk and a strikeout.

Liberatore did get some time in big league camp this spring, tossing over three innings and allowing just one run.

A member of the Durham Bulls, Liberatore's team is currently 7-1 on the year and in first place in the International League South.

The next step for Kirby-Jones would be a call-up to the big league level as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

 To view his profile click here.


Chad Oberacker – CF – #5
Current Club:
Midland RockHounds (Double-A Texas League)
MLB Parent Club:
Oakland Athletics
Born: January 14, 1989
Birthplace: Erie, Pa.
Height: 5-11
Weight: 195
Bats: L
Throws: L
 
Team League AVG G
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
TB
BB
SO
SB
CS
OBP
SLG
OPS
MID TEX
.233 7
30
4
7
1
2
0 8
12
2
5
3
0
.294 .400
.694
 Minors  Totals .233 7
30
4
7
1
2
0
8
12
2
5
3
0
.294
.400
.694

Chad Oberacker has made the most of his hits this season, collecting eight RBI on seven hits in 2013. In seven games, the former Tech standout has already shown off his speed, racking up two triples and three stolen bases. Oberacker has cooled a tad over his past two games, gathering just one hit in eight at-bats.

The center fielder earned a call-up in the offseason from the Advanced A Stockton Ports to Double-A ball. Oberacker spent some time this spring at big league camp, earning five at-bats for the Oakland Athletics.

A member of the Midland RockHounds, Oberacker's team is currently 5-2 and in second place in the Texas League South

The next step for Oberacker will be to earn a call-up to the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats of the Pacific Coast League.

To view his profile click here.


Matthew Shepherd – P – #31
Current Club: Fort Wayne TinCaps (Class A Midwest League)
MLB Parent Club:
San Diego Padres
Born: May 2, 1990
Birthplace: Bluff City, Tenn.
Height: 6-3
Weight: 185
Bats: R
Throws: R

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
FW MID
0
0 0.00
3
0
0 0 0 5.1 1
0
0
0 4
5
.059
 Minors  Totals 0
0
0.00
3
0
0
0
0
5.1
1
0
0
0
4
5
.059

Matthew Shepherd did well in his first season of pro-ball, putting up solid numbers. His 2.70 ERA earned him a 4-2 record in 2012. He pitched 40.0 innings, striking out 42 while walking just 17 batters. He allowed his opponents to hit only .239 against him, helping him earn a promotion to the Class A level.

In three games this season, Shepherd has pitched 5.1 innings of one-hit ball, striking out five batters without allowing a run to score.

A member of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, Shepherd's team is currently 4-3 and in fourth place in the Midwest League East.

The next step for Shepherd will be to earn a call-up to the Advanced A Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League.

To view his profile click here.