Former Pioneers shine in pro season baseball openers

Former Pioneers shine in pro season baseball openers

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- A pair of Tusculum University baseball alums made their season debuts on Thursday at opposite sides of the country.

Former Tusculum pitcher Tim Hardy made his first appearance with the Staten Island Yankees in the New York-Penn League while 2019 TU ace Charles Hall made his professional debut with the Oakland A's Gold Team in the Arizona League.

Hardy, who is in his third year of professional baseball, struck out the only two batters he would face for the Yankees as they took on the Connecticut Tigers.

Hall, who was drafted in the 33rd round by Oakland, struck out the side in his pro debut in the AZL Gold's 21-3 win over the AZL Cubs.

Hardy, who played for the Pioneers from 2016-2017, was originally drafted by the Houston Astros, was traded to the Yankees organization during the off-season.  He pitched for the Greeneville Astros in 2017 and split time between the Tri-City ValleyCats and the Quad Cities River Bandits in 2018.  In his minor league career, Hardy has pitched in 32 games with three starts while posting a 3-5 record with a 3.15 earned run average with six saves and 83 strikeouts in 65.2 innings.

During his two seasons at Tusculum, Hardy finished with a 10-4 record with a 3.82 ERA.  In his 32 mound appearances, he made 13 starts, including three complete games, one shutout and two combined shutouts.  He pitched in 96.2 innings where he recorded 111 strikeouts against just 27 walks and limited the opposition to a .265 batting average.  He went 9-3 with a 3.91 ERA in his final season with TU in 2017 where he earned All-South Atlantic Conference second team honors.

Hall was two-time All-Southeast Region selection in his two campaigns (2018-2019) with the Pioneers and was a consensus All-Region pick this past season.  He posted a 6-3 record and led the nation in strikeouts with 148.  The 2019 South Atlantic Conference Pitcher of the Year finished the season with a 2.31 earned run average which was the third lowest in the league and 30th in NCAA Division II.

Hall tossed 89.2 innings with two complete games and notched a 14.86 strikeouts per nine innings pitched which is the fourth-best average in the country.  He established a new NCAA II national record with his 22 strikeouts against Queens University of Charlotte on Mar, 15, 2019.  For his efforts, he was named the NCBWA Division II National Pitcher of the Week.  In his 13 starts, he posted 10 or more strikeouts on 10 occasions and was tabbed SAC and Region Pitcher of the Week, twice each.

In his two years at Tusculum, Hall posted a 10-6 record with two saves and a 3.26 ERA which is ninth in the TU record book.  His 219 career strikeouts are fourth in school history while pitching in 163 career innings.