Well into his third season in professional baseball, former Crowder pitcher Zach Matson earned his first pro win, for the Single-A Short Season Aberdeen IronBirds (Baltimore) in their recent game against the Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets).
Matson struck out one during his one inning of work in his 46th pro appearance.
On Monday night, Matson struck out three and gave up one hit and no earned runs during one inning of work against the Staten Island Yankees (New York).
On the season, after 14 appearances between Aberdeen and Single-A Advanced Frederick, Matson owned a 1-1 record and a 2.45 ERA with one save and 25 strikeouts and 12 walks over 18 1/3 innings. Matson recorded a 1.42 ERA in four appearances with Frederick.
After his first 47 pro appearances, Matson stood at 1-6 overall with a 3.22 ERA and 80 strikeouts and 35 walks over 72 2/3 innings. All 47 appearances have been in relief.
The Orioles picked Matson in the 24th round of the 2016 draft, not long after Matson completed his sophomore campaign at Crowder.
Matson is not the only former Crowder player currently in the New York-Penn League.
There were three at the start of the season, but former Neosho High standout Trey Turner was sent to rookie ball, leaving Matson and Brooklyn pitcher Kyle Wilson.
Matson spent time with both Frederick and Delmarva this season before July 13.
Matson and Wilson have been reunited over recent Aberdeen and Brooklyn games.
Wilson last pitched July 27 and he earned his only win of the season in that outing, allowing no earned runs over seven innings with eight strikeouts and one walk.
Wilson owns a 1-3 record with a 3.86 ERA and 35 strikeouts and 11 walks over 35 innings. All seven of his appearances have been starts.
Wilson played at Crowder in 2016 and 2017, redshirted in the former and a part of the JUCO World Series team in the latter.
— Double-A Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado) outfielder Sam Hilliard moved his average to .270 for the season with a hit Wednesday against the Harrisburg Senators (Washington).
Hilliard had a pair of hits in the series opener Tuesday against Harrisburg.
On the season, in addition to his .270 average, Hilliard owned 48 runs scored, 95 hits, 20 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 32 RBI, 35 walks and 125 strikeouts, and 21 stolen bases in 31 attempts plus three assists from right field. Hilliard had 13 assists last season and 12 two seasons ago, mostly from right.
Hilliard has earned three straight midseason all-star game appearances, including this season in Double-A, which featured several distinguished players like former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow and multiple sons of former MLB players.
Over his career, Hilliard owns a .285 average (447-1571) with 259 runs scored, 79 doubles, 22 triples, 52 homers, 249 RBI, and 100 stolen bases in 143 attempts.
The Rockies made the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Hilliard a 15th round selection in the 2015 draft.
— Aaron Ashby was recently featured in the USA Today Network-Wisconsin, with a story focusing on his debut with the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee).
In his July 29 debut, Ashby scattered six hits over six scoreless innings with six strikeouts and, most importantly, no walks.
In the article, both Ashby and Timber Rattlers manager Matt Erickson touched on Ashby’s control.
“He threw strikes,” Erickson said. “Six innings, scattered six hits, no walks, which he was attacking the strike zone. Showed that he could spin the breaking ball a little bit. Created a little angle to his fastball. Won a lot of counts. He was in positive counts most of the six innings he was out there. The only little blip on the deal was throwing air on a pick-off throw to first base. Looked good, competed, good tempo. Hopefully, we get more of it.”
“You spend a lot of time here,” Ashby said, “and you still have to make time for things back home and everything like that, but as far as on the field stuff goes with pitching, just working on fastball command and keeping the ball down in the zone and just really commanding the zone with all four of my pitches.”
Ashby parlayed a sophomore season at Crowder when he led NJCAA Division I in strikeouts into a fourth round selection in the draft in June by the Brewers. Ashby was the 125th overall pick.
In his first two outings with the Timber Rattlers, Ashby earned a 1-0 record and a 1.69 ERA with eight strikeouts and one walk over 10 2/3 innings.
In six outings with rookie ball Helena, Ashby went 1-2 with a 6.20 ERA and 19 strikeouts and eight walks over 20 1/3 innings. Keep in mind that Ashby’s ERA ballooned to 54.00 after his debut.
Ashby is the nephew of former Crowder and former MLB player Andy Ashby — his MiLB profile page now lists the correct relationship, since for a while Aaron was listed as Andy’s son.
In the article, Ashby said that he keeps in touch with his uncle at least twice a week.
— After surrendering three earned runs in his previous two outings, Single-A Advanced Tampa Tarpons (New York Yankees) reliever Andrew Schwaab pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings Tuesday night against the Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia).
Schwaab allowed one hit during his time on the mound with three strikeouts and one walk.
On the season, Schwaab owns a 3-7 record with a 5.28 ERA and 47 strikeouts and 28 walks over 44 1/3 innings. He’s earned a pair of saves, one each, in stints with Tampa and Double-A Trenton, for whom he began the season and pitched in 13 games. Schwaab has made 21 appearances for Tampa this season, for whom he earned Florida State League midseason all-star honors last season.
Schwaab signed with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and he’s earned a 15-11 record and a 3.37 ERA with 36 saves in 45 opportunities and 193 strikeouts and 75 walks over 179 innings. He’s earned midseason all-star honors twice during his four-season career.
Schwaab finished his collegiate career at Missouri after plying his trade first at Crowder.
— Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes (Miami) pitcher Mike Kickham has been on the disabled list since July 27, retroactive to July 25.
A veteran of professional baseball since 2010, Kickham has a 1-1 record and a 4.25 ERA in 17 games this season with New Orleans and Double-A Jacksonville. Kickham appeared in two games for the Jumbo Shrimp.
Kickham, a starter most of his pro career, earned his first pro save July 15 against Colorado Springs (Chicago White Sox) with three innings of work.
Kickham owns a 41-49 overall record in the minors with a 4.07 ERA and 637 strikeouts and 297 walks over 743 innings.
San Francisco picked Kickham in the sixth round in 2010 and the 6-foot-4, 220-pound southpaw made his MLB debut May 28, 2013.
Kickham recorded a 0-3 record and a 10.98 ERA in 14 outings for the Giants over the course of the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Kickham played collegiately at Missouri State after Crowder. His twin brother Dan also pitched for Crowder and Missouri State before he was drafted in the 33rd round in 2011 by the Detroit Tigers.