AMERICUS - Georgia Southwestern pitchers Gray Carden and Trent Franzago, along with shortstop John Duran kicked off their respective collegiate summer league baseball seasons this past weekend. Carden and Franzago are playing for the North Adams (Mass.) SteepleCats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League and Duran is representing GSW on the Stark County (Ohio) Terriers of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball League.
Carden, who just completed his junior season for the Hurricanes, has seen plenty of action already for the SteepleCats, having appeared in two of their first three games. Carden retired the only batter he faced in the eighth inning to get North Adams out of a bases loaded jam on Sunday against the North Shore Navigators, then pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save and help the Steeplecats pick up their first win of the season. Carden was called upon again on Monday and pitched two scoreless innings at Holyoke before surrendering the deciding run to the Blue Sox in the 11th inning, taking the loss.
To give an idea of the quality of players invited to participate in the NECBL, Carden has retired batters from NCAA Division I programs Kentucky, Notre Dame, UNC-Greensboro, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
You can track Carden's progress this summer by clicking here: http://necbl.bbstats.pointstreak.com/player.html?playerid=130582
Franzago was the Opening Night starter for the SteepleCats on Friday evening and exited after the fifth inning with a 4-3 lead. Franzago, who also completed his junior season for GSW in the spring, struck out six and held the Vermont Mountaineers to three hits in front of a franchise-record 1908 home fans. Unfortunately, Franzago did not factor into the decision as the Mountaineers rallied to defeat North Adams, 9-4.
Continuing on the list above of D-I schools providing competition in the league, Franzago retired batters from Louisville, Rutgers and Rhode Island.
You can track Franzago's progress this summer by clicking here: http://necbl.bbstats.pointstreak.com/player.html?playerid=94985
Duran, who just completed his sophomore season for the Hurricanes, opened summer league play on Sunday in a doubleheader at the Lima Locos. Duran played in Game 1 against the Locos and went 0-for-4 with a run scored. Duran and the Terriers resume play on Wednesday with their home opener against the Licking County Settlers.
You can track Duran's progress this summer by clicking here: http://www.pointstreak.com/baseball/player.html?playerid=130077
Both the NECBL and the Great Lakes League play 42-game regular
season schedules. All players in the league must have NCAA
eligibility remaining in order to participate. Players are not paid
(this preserves their NCAA eligibility).
Each team is operated similar to a professional minor league team, providing players an opportunity to play under the same conditions using wooden bats, minor league specification baseballs, experiencing overnight road trips, and playing nightly before fans in a stadium.