20th Gull Makes MLB Debut
NEWPORT, RI- This past weekend the Newport Gulls had their 20th former player make their Major League debut and fourth during the 2019 Season. Right-handed pitcher James Karinchak toed the rubber for the first time in a major league game on Saturday, September 14 for the Cleveland Indians. Karinchak joined the Gulls after his freshman season at Bryant University for the summer of 2015. Karinchak's journey to the majors was a quick one as he was selected just three seasons ago in the ninth round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft.
A product of Walden, NY and Valley Central High School, Karinchak was brought in to record the final out of the eighth inning as the Indians trailed the Minnesota Twins by a score of 9-5. He remained in the game for the ninth inning, keeping the Twins scoreless and recording three strikeouts in front of Cleveland's third sold-out crowd of the year.
As a Gull, Karinchak started all five of his appearances in 2015, hurling a total of 25 innings. The hard-throwing righty struck out 27 batters and won four games while losing one and recording a 0.72 ERA. He becomes the second Bryant Bulldog to reach the MLB ranks and is one of the most dominant pitchers in school history. Karinchak won Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year honors after winning eight games as a freshman in 2015 and returned to Bryant after spending the summer with the Gulls only to be named an All- American in 2016. In his sophomore campaign Karinchak set the school record for strikeouts in a season (112), won 12 games, and held a 2.00 ERA. He was drafted as a junior, forgoing his senior year in Smithfield, RI.
When asked about his debut and the emotions a moment like this drum up, Karinchak stated, "Not nervous. "The ballpark was obviously electric, but it's still baseball. Same mound. I was pitching to a familiar face, Eric Haase , and I pitched to [Kevin] Plawecki at the Texas Rangers earlier in the year at the exhibition game."
His promotion to the Majors comes as no surprise as Karinchak has shined all season between AA Akron and AAA Columbus. He has struck out 74 batters in just 30.1 innings.
Indians Manager Terry Francona said. "It was good to get him in. Obviously, you're trying to win the game. When it looks like that's slipping away, getting a kid some experience, I think, is important. He threw the ball really well. Just getting his feet wet is important."
Karinchak joins Will Smith of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Edman of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Taylor Guilbeau of the Seattle Mariners as the other Gulls to be called up in 2019.
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New England Collegiate Baseball League Stories from September 16, 2019
- 20th Gull Makes MLB Debut - Newport Gulls
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