TSU baseball alumni succeeding beyond college careers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 15, 2001

After successful careers on the Troy State University baseball team, a handful of former Trojans are continuing that success in the minor leagues.

Michael Rivera, a Troy State catcher in 1996, is hitting .299 with 32 home runs and 95 runs batted in for the Double-A Erie Sea Wolves.

He ranks first in the league in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage (.618) and eighth in average.

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Not only is his team leading the Eastern League, but he was also selected for the World team in the Major League’s Futures game in July.

Rivera also made his motion picture debut when he appeared in last year’s movie For Love of the Game with Kevin Costner.

Aaron Kirkland, a pitcher from 00-01, is having an outstanding year as the closer for the Arizona League White Sox.

He is 0-1 with a 0.00 ERA and leads the league with 12 saves.

His team is in third place in the division.

Casey Smith, a infielder from 00-01, is hitting .313 with 42 runs and 24 runs batted in for the Single-A Provo Angels.

He also has six stolen bases and has settled in as the team’s starting shortstop.

Ryan Peterson, another infielder in 2001, is hitting .317 with one home run and 13 runs batted in for the Gulf Coast Red Sox.

He is first on the team in average and second in doubles (7).

His team sits atop the Gulf Coast League.

Kevan Burns, an outfielder in 1999, is hitting .357 with 10 home runs and 38 runs batted in for the Single-A Lancaster Jethawks.

Burns is second on the team in triples (6) and fifth in home runs.

The Jethawks are currently in third place in the California League.

Other Troy State alumni in the minor leagues include: pitcher Willie Wright (Montgomery Wings) with a 3-2 record and a 1.82 ERA; pitcher Jason Bernard (Batavia Muckdogs with a 2-5 record and a 3.70 ERA; catcher Tom Gregorio (Arkansas Travlers) batting .173 with 1 HR and 17 RBI; infielder Foy Shemwell (Albany Alligators) batting .299 with 2 HR and 36 RBI; and infielder Jorge Soto (Modesto Athletics) batting .200 with 3 HR and 12 RBI.