Versatile Chicago State closer to join Rivets
LOVES PARK, Ill. – The Rockford Rivets have filled a bullpen need and possibly expanded the bench as well.
The Rivets announced Thursday that they have signed Chicago State University pitcher Zach Thomas for the Northwoods League season.
Rivets manager Brian Smith said the junior lefthander came highly recommended by CSU coach Steve Joslyn, previously a longtime assistant at Northern Illinois University, where Smith was a three-time captain.
“Zack is a two-way player at Chicago State and I wouldn't be surprised if we mixed in a few days for Zack to get his at-bats,” Smith said. “It's always good to have left handed relievers who can compete in the strike zone, especially those with late-inning experience. Hopefully Zack can pitch himself into the back end of our bullpen, something I hope to see as a strength again this season."
Thomas gave up two runs on four hits, walked four and struck out four in four innings of work in his only pitching appearance of the season, Feb. 18 against Northern Illinois. He was not involved in the decision, a 7-6 NIU win.
Last season, Thomas was 2-1 with a team-high four saves and a 3.76 ERA in 16 appearances. He struck out 23 and walked 12 in 26 1/3 innings.
As a spot starter in the outfield last season, he hit .259. This year, he is 3-for-19 with two RBI through four games.
The Joliet West High School graduate is a criminal justice major.
The Rivets’ season begins May 30 at Kalamazoo. The home opener is at 6:35 p.m. June 2 against the Wisconsin Woodchucks. The Rivets are offering a $50 four-game pack that includes a replica Rivets jersey, tickets to four select games and all-you-can-eat food (burgers, brats, hot dogs, grilled chicken, popcorn and fountain soda) for the following dates: Friday, June 2; Saturday, June 24; Friday, July 14; Friday, July 28. The four-pack can be purchased only by calling the Rivets at 815.240.4159 or in person at the Rivets Stadium box office. There are a limited number of jerseys available, so don’t wait to order this four-pack.
The Rockford Rivets are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 24th season of summer collegiate baseball in 2017. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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, 160 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals), two-time World Champion Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets) and Lucas Duda (Mets). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website, NorthwoodsLeague.com.