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Marshall Baseball Players in the Pros

Arik Sikula competing with the Herd in 2010

June 25, 2013

Straily's photo courtesy of Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – When Aaron Blair was inked for a $1.435 million signing bonus with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, he became the 26th player to receive an opportunity to play professional baseball after competing on one of Marshall head coach Jeff Waggoner’s squads. 

Blair is one of 10 current minor league competitors who played for the Thundering Herd.  Details for each are found below:

Aaron Blair – Pitcher – Hillsboro Hops (Short Season Northwest League; Class A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks)

Blair (who was with the Thundering Herd from 2011-2013) joined the Hillsboro Hops on Sunday but is awaiting activation with his new club. 

Isaac Ballou – OF – Auburn Doubledays (Short Season New York-Penn League; Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals)

Ballou (2010-2013) walked and scored in his first professional plate appearance, a pinch-hit at-bat in a road victory over the Batavia Muckdogs on June 17.  In the six games since, Ballou has five hits (all singles) and five more walks.  He’s batting .278 with a .458 on-base percentage, playing mostly in left field for the Doubledays. 

Ballou’s season stats: .278 AVG, 4 R, 2 RBI, 6 BB, 0 K

Joe Church – Relief Pitcher – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Midwest League; Class A affiliate of the San Diego Padres)

Church (2009-2012) made two appearances with the Lake Elsinore Storm (Advanced California League) before being moved to his current team in Fort Wayne, Ind.  With the TinCaps, Church is 1-1 with 11 K’s in 12.2 innings. 

Church’s season stats: 8 G, 1-1, 11.74 ERA, 1 save, 12.2 IP, 20 H, 17 R, 16 ER, 7 BB, 11 K

Mike Mason – Relief Pitcher – Asheville Tourists (South Atlantic League; Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies)

Mason (2009-2012) spent last season in the Rookie Pioneer League with the Grand Junction Rockies and is 2-0 with his new team, the Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League.  Mason’s two decisions came in the last month of the season, with the most recent coming in a three-inning relief effort against the Charleston RiverDogs on June 7.  It was the southpaw’s longest outing of the season and saw him strike out five and walk one while keeping the ‘Dogs to one hit. 

Mason’s season stats: 12 G, 2-0, 2.45 ERA, 18.1 IP, 17 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 6 BB, 16 K

Thor Meeks – Catcher – Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic League; Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals)

Meeks (2009-2012) is currently listed on the disabled list.

Greg Williams – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Advanced California League; Class A affiliate of the Texas Rangers)

Williams (2009-2011) was with the Pelicans for the latter part of the 2012 season and will remain with the club while he undergoes a rehab stint during the 2013 season.  The right-hander, who was 2-0 with a 3.96 ERA in 2012, needed Tommy John surgery in October and will remain in the Rangers’ system at their Arizona complex until his recovery. 

Arik Sikula – Relief Pitcher – Lansing Lugnuts (Midwest League; Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays)

After spending last season with the Vancouver Canadians, Sikula (2008-2011) joined Ian Kadish, his former Marshall teammate of four seasons, with the Lansing Lugnuts in the Great Lakes State capital.  In 24 appearances from the pen, Sikula is 3-0 with eight saves and a 1.97 ERA. 

Sikula’s season stats: 24 G, 3-0, 1.97 ERA, 8 saves, 32.0 IP, 19 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 12 BB, 33 K

Ian Kadish – Relief Pitcher – Lansing Lugnuts (Midwest League; Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays)

Kadish (2008-2011), who spent the latter half of the 2012 season with the Lugnuts, has received four decisions in 25 relief outings so far this season.  He has 20 strikeouts and three walks over 15.1 innings, including punching out nine in his last four innings of work. 

Kadish’s season stats: 25 G, 2-2, 3.03 ERA, 0 saves, 15.1 IP, 16 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 20 K

Kevin Shackelford – Relief Pitcher – Brevard County Manatees (Advanced Florida State League; Class A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers)

Shackelford (2008-2010) has made 22 relief appearances in his first season in the FSL.  Formerly with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the right-hander currently owns a 1-3 record with one save.  His 5.40 ERA comes alongside a 20:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 30 innings.  Shackelford picked up his one winning decision on May 25 when he threw two scoreless innings of relief in a 3-2 victory over Clearwater.

Shackelford’s season stats: 1-3, 5.40 ERA, 1 save, 30.0 IP, 39 H, 18 R, 18 ER, 4 BB, 20 K

Dan Straily – Starting Pitcher – Sacramento River Cats (Pacific Coast League; Triple A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics)

After spending the first two and a half months of the season in the Major Leagues, Straily (2008-2009) was sent back to Triple A Sacramento on June 24.  His first start with the River Cats will likely take place over the upcoming weekend. 

Straily’s season stats with the A’s: 4-2 in 12 starts, 5.00 ERA, 66.2 IP, 61 H, 38 R, 37 ER, 20 BB, 53 K
Straily’s season stats with the River Cats: 3-0 in 3 starts, 0.96 ERA, 18.2 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 20 K