LOVES PARK, Ill. – Three top members of St. Joseph’s College’s baseball team will be wearing Rockford Rivets jerseys this summer.
The Rivets announced on Thursday that they have signed pitchers Zach Aring and Quinn Snarskis, as well as outfielder Brenden Rivera. Aring and Snarskis have two of the three best earned-run averages on the pitching staff, while Rivera has carried a .300 batting average for most of the season.
Aring, the Pumas’ opening-day starter, is 3-3 with a 1.49 ERA in eight starts. Opposing batters are hitting just .210 against the right-hander, who has struck out 41 and walked 16 in 48 1/3 innings.
“Zach Aring is going to be a nice addition to our starting rotation,” Rivets manager Brian Smith said. “He is throwing the ball really well right now. Zach is one of the most experienced college pitchers on our staff. Division II pitchers always come into the season with a chip on their shoulder, wanting to prove that they deserve to be on the field with some of the best Division I players in the country. If he keeps throwing the ball the way he is now, it's going to be fun handing him the ball every six days.”
Snarskis is 3-3 with a 3.40 ERA in nine starts. The freshman right-hander has been effective pitching to contact. He’s walked just 10 and struck out 33 in 50 1/3 innings. Opposing batters are hitting .242.
“Quinn came highly recommended by the coaches of Gravel Baseball (his former prep travel team),” Smith said. “They loved the way he attacked hitters with three pitches every time he was handed the ball. Quinn throws from a lower three-quarters arm slot, so I am expecting lots of ground balls out of him. He has proven, so far this spring, to be a true top-of-the-line rotation guy. His ability to keep his pitch count down has allowed him to tally up quality start after quality start.”
Rivera, a lefthanded-hitting junior, opened the season with a seven-game hitting streak. He’s hitting .313 with four home runs and 23 RBI. He’s also doubled 12 times. Rivera, a transfer for High Point University, has seven multi-hit games.
“(SJC coach Rick) O'Dette loved what he saw during fall ball enough to comfortably tell me that he was going to be their 3 or 4 hitter during the spring,” Smith said. “OD loved his versatility. The NWL stadiums are built for guys like Brenden. He will get a lot of different looks offensively and defensively this summer. We are excited to have the St. Joes trio with us this summer.”
Rockford is a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2016. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets), Lucas Duda (Mets) and Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website, NorthwoodsLeague.com.