ORU Alumni Wrap Up Successful Pro Seasons
The highlight of the season came from Jeremy Hefner, who made his MLB debut with the New York Mets on April 23 with a relief appearance against the San Francisco Giants. Hefner went on to appear 26 times for the Mets, including 13 starting assignments. The 2007 ORU alum went 4-7 on the season, with a 5.09 ERA.
Hefner’s best outing came on Wednesday, in New York’s season-ending victory over the Miami Marlins. The former Golden Eagle tossed 7.2 innings, allowing just two runs while striking out seven in a 4-2 Mets victory.
Doug Bernier spent the 2012 season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees. Bernier battled through injuries to make 58 appearances for the Yankees, tallying a .201 batting average with 10 RBI.
Mike Hollimon played in 59 games for the Rochester Red Wings, the AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The 2005 Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Year batted .223 on the season, with five home runs and 14 RBI.
Steve Holm, the 2000 Mid-Con Player of the Year, played 13 games with the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs of the Miami Marlins organization. Holm batted .135 over his stretch with New Orleans, belting one home run and driving in two runs.
Tim Torres spent the season in a familiar location, plying his trade with the Tulsa Drillers, the AA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Torres helped the Drillers to a Texas League North Division 1st Half Championship and an appearance in the Texas League Championship Series, where they were beaten in five games by the Springfield Cardinals. For the season, Torres batted .226 in 101 games, with three home runs and 23 RBI.
2010 Summit League Player of the Year Tyler Saladino established himself as one of the most promising prospects in the Chicago White Sox organization. The shortstop spent most of the season with the AA Birmingham Barons, where he batted .237 in 112 games, with four home runs and 39 RBI. His 38 stolen bases ranked 3rd in the Southern League.
Saladino also logged time with Chicago’s AAA affiliate, with Charlotte Knights. In 15 games with the Knights, Saladino batted .224 with six RBI. The former Golden Eagle entered the 2012 season as one of the 10 best prospects in the White Sox organization according to Baseball America, and he should remain at the perch heading into 2013.
Brian Van Kirk, the 2008 Mid-Con Player of the Year, enjoyed a solid season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the AA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Van Kirk batted .273 for New Hampshire, with seven home runs and 44 RBI in 115 games. He added 12 stolen bases.
2009 Summit League Pitcher of the Year Mark Serrano excelled in a variety of roles for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the AA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Serrano made 41 pitching appearances for Pensacola, including nine starts, and he posted a 7-4 record with a 3.95 ERA. Serrano was especially good in a starting role, where he posted a 2-1 record with a 2.58 ERA.
Dallas Beeler spent his first full season at the AA level, making 27 starts for the Tennessee Smokies of the Chicago Cubs organization. Beeler posted a 6-7 record for the Smokies, with a 4.24 ERA.
Jerry Sullivan spent the season with the Lake Elsinore Storm, a High-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Pitching mostly in middle relief, Sullivan went 4-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 49 appearances, including three starts. He recorded two saves on the season and struck out 82 batters in just 81.1 innings of action.
Chris Elder recovered from an early-season injury and spent time at three different stops in the Kansas City Royals organization, advancing to the High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks. For the season, Elder played in 48 total games and batted .250 with two home runs and 22 RBI.
Two-time All-Summit League selection Nick Baligod opened the season with the Vancouver Canadians, a short-season Rookie affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Baligod batted .259 with 11 extra-base hits and 25 RBI in 42 games for Vancouver, showing marked improvement over his 2011 season with the club. The stellar play earned Baligod a promotion to the A-level Lansing Lugnuts, where he hit .291 with three home runs and seven RBI in 29 games.
Three members of ORU’s 2012 Summit League title-winning club made their professional debuts in 2012. Catcher Bennett Pickar, an 11th round pick of the Detroit Tigers, played 52 games for the short-season Connecticut Tigers and batted .205 with a home run and eight RBI. Pickar also spent the last week of the season on the roster of the AAA Toledo Mud Hens, although he did not appear in a game.
Cam Schiller was picked in the 11th round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers, and he played 52 games for the short-season Spokane Indians. Schiller was strong at the plate, batting .281 with three home runs and 22 RBI.
2012 Summit League Player of the Year Jared Schlehuber signed a free agent deal with the Royals organization and was assigned to their short-season club, the Idaho Falls Chukars. Schlehuber was very productive in his 37 games with Idaho Falls, batting .286 with five home runs and 19 RBI. He ended the season on a high note, homering in his final two games of the season.
Last but not least, Andre Lamontagne recovered from injury to make his first appearances for the Milwaukee Brewers organization since 2010. Lamontagne pitched in three late-season games for Milwaukee’s Arizona League club, going 0-1 with an ERA of 11.25.
ORU posted a 38-25 record in 2012 and won their 15th consecutive Summit League Championship. First-year Head Coach Ryan Folmar leads the Golden Eagles into their first season as Southland Conference members beginning in February of 2013.