Cougars, Warriors in the pros

·5 min read

Jun. 16—There are three Washington State Cougars on Triple-A rosters and a handful of young talent shooting up the ranks.

Two former Lewis-Clark State baseball players are on big league rosters and several others are finding success in the independent leagues.

Here's a look at what they have done this season:

Washington State

Ian Hamilton (Minnesota/St. Paul AAA): Hamilton has made one appearance with the Minnesota Twins this season going 2 2/3 innings and giving up two runs on June 4. The rest of his time has been spent in St. Paul, where he has thrown 15 innings with a 0.60 ERA while striking out 19. Hamilton is a three-time All-Pac-12 pick from Vancouver, Wash., and is having his strongest season in the minors to date.

Damon Jones (Philadelphia/Lehigh Valley AAA): The lefty reliever from Twin Falls has battled injuries since May 2. The former Cougar has had three IL stints in the past month and a half. Jones has made four appearances for the Phillies and struggled with a 9.64 ERA. The former AFL Rising Star with the Peoria Javelinas has pitched one inning since April 28.

Nick Tanielu (Texas/Round Rock AAA): The third baseman was moved up to Triple-A on April 7. Tanielu was drafted in 2014 by the Astros and continues to work his way through the minor league system. This season the Federal Way, Wash., native is batting .241 with four home runs and 18 RBI.

Ian Sagdal (Independent/Winnipeg-American Association): After six seasons in the minor leagues Sagdal is now in independent ball playing for the Goldeyes. The first baseman from Wenatchee is batting .267 with 16 RBI.

Shane Matheny (San Francisco/Richmond AA): The 23rd-rounder is in his second year with the Flying Squirrels. The second baseman has improved in all categories in his second full season in Double-A. Matheny is batting .306 with six home runs and 22 RBI in just 39 games played.

Scott Sunitsch (Milwaukee/Biloxi Double-A): Sunitsch has not pitched in the minors since 2019, but was moved up to the Brewers' Double-A affiliate on April 8. Sunitsch, an 85-game starter at Wazzu (2015-18) is 16-11 in his minor league career.

Ryan Walker (San Francisco/Richmond Double-A): Drafted in the 31st round in the 2018 draft, Walker has moved up to the Double-A level this season. The four-year pitcher for the Cougars is 6-1 in 19 appearances with two saves.

Andres Alvarez (Pittsburgh/Altoona Double-A): The two-time All-Pac-12 selection continues to move up the ranks in the minors. Alvarez joined the Curve on April 7 and has put up solid numbers. The shortstop is batting .262 with 10 home runs and eight stolen bases with 27 RBI in 38 games.

Kyle Manzardo (Tampa Bay/Bowling Green High Single-A): Drafted in the second round last season by the Rays, Manzardo is off to a hot start with the Hot Rods. The Couer d'Alene native has eight home runs and 23 RBI with a .304 average.

Zane Mills (St. Louis/Peoria High-A): Mills moved from the Palm Beach Cardinals to the Peoria Chiefs on May 23. The fourth-round pick last year is 2-5 with a 3.92 ERA this season.

Tristan Peterson (Independent/Billings-Pioneer League): Peterson is struggling with the Mustangs hitting just .081 going 3-for-37 this season.

Lewis-Clark State

Connor Brogdon (Philadelphia/MLB): The third-year pro has made 16 appearances and has given up a run in just three of them. Brogdon sits with a record of 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA. The former 10th-round pick in 2017 by the Phillies has recorded two holds in the month of June and is settling into a set-up role in the Philadelphia bullpen. The former Warrior ace struggled out of the gate and was demoted to the Phillies' Triple A affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Brogdon has come back strong and his five appearances in June lead a Phillies team that's back over .500 after parting with former manager Joe Girardi.

Seth Brown (Oakland/MLB): The team leader in home runs (8), stolen bases (6) and RBI (31), Brown has been the most productive bat in a rebuilding franchise. The 19th-round draft pick in the 2015 MLB June amateur draft hit a home run in three straight games against the Guardians on June 10-12. His average is not the best, sitting at .213, but it is up 55 points since a month ago. The product of Medford, Ore., hit successfully in five straight games in June, his longest streak of the season, before going 0-for-4 on Tuesday against the Red Sox. The one-year Warrior has played all three positions in the outfield, but has spent most of his time at first base.

Blaine Hardy (Independent/Sioux City-American Association): Hardy signed with the Sioux City Explorers on April 14. The former Tiger and Brewer has made eight appearances for the Explorers and holds a 5.03 ERA. He carries a 1-2 record in 19 2/3 innings, walking nine while striking out 22. Since being drafted by the Royals in 2008, Hardy made 234 appearances in seven seasons in the top league in baseball going 14-11 with a 3.78 ERA.

Tyler Burch (Baltimore/Bowie AA): The former NAIA West Pitcher of the Year has struggled in his new home this season. Burch joined the Bowie Baysox, Double-A affiliate of the Orioles on April 1. He has made 14 appearances and has a rough 0-5 record with a 9.39 ERA.

Joe Riley (Independent/Evansville-American Association): The former Warrior closer has found a home with the Otters. In his first full season with the club, Riley has pitched 10 innings with a 3-1 record and a 0.90 ERA while striking out 18.

Brock Ephan (Independent/Tucson-Pecos League): The former NAIA All-American joined the Saguaros in 2022 and started with a bang. In the season opener on June 2, Ephan went 3-for-3 with a home run. Tucson is 8-2 on the season and Ephan is the only player on the team to hit multiple home runs this season.

Isbelle may be contacted at sportse@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2268.