Trojans making mark in pro leagues

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Sports Columnist

Troy’s Brian Meadows won his sixth game in a row for the Nashville Sound, Pittsburgh’s AAA Farm team.

Meadows, who had spent the last four years as a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues with the Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals, was traded by the Minnesota Twins to the Pirates at the end of spring training and was then sent to Nashville.

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Meadows started slowly with the Sound but has pitched brilliantly in his last six starts. In fact, two weeks ago, he pitched a nine inning shutout against the Pacific Coast League’s top team, New Orleans, giving up only three hits while striking out a career best 13 batters.

Meadows statistics look like this: His record is now 8-6 with a 4.17 earned run average. He’s struck out 85 and walked only 25 in 105. 2 innings pitched. His strike out to walk margin tells me that Brian has his great control back, which has been his trademark. Last season with the Royals he walked more batters than he had in his entire career. He looks now to have a good strike out pitch, something that he has not had since early in his career.

Don’t be surprised if you see him back with the big club in Pittsburgh before the season is over.

Troy State has several former players that are also doing well in the minor leagues.

Michael Rivera, was a catcher for the Trojans a few years ago, is playing for Detroit’s AAA Toledo squad, where he’s knocking the cover off of the ball.

In only 37 games, Rivera is hitting .292 with 13 homers and 29 RBIs.

Remember Jorge Soto, the big strong slugger for the Trojans a couple of years ago? Well, he’s finally avoided the injury bug and is doing what’s expected of him – and that’s hitting home runs. At the halfway point of the season with Visalia, the A’s single A team, Soto has hit 18 homers and knocked in 42 runs in 70 games. I’ve always said that he has the power of a Sammy Sosa or a Mark McGwire, and now he’s starting to show it. Never in this part of the country, including Bo Jackson and Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas, has a baseball player been so powerful.

His 27 home runs in his senior year at TSU is a record that will be hard to break.

A guy that played baseball at Troy State, but did not get the credit he deserved because he played beside Soth, is Kevin Burns. Burns, who played just one year at TSU before opting to go pro, hit 23 home runs for the Trojans in 1999. Burns is having a great season as the left fielder for the Diamondbacks’ AA franchise in El Paso, Tex. Burns is batting .326 with nine doubles, three homers and 26 RBIs in 57 games.

Former TSU catcher Tom Gregorio is playing with the Class AA Arkansas Travelers, an Angels organization. In 40 games, Gregorio is batting .261 with eight doubles, three homers and 13 RBIs to his credit.

Another recent TSU grad, second baseman Ryan Peterson, is playing Class A baseball with the Augusta Red Sox. He’s batting .208 with one home run and 10 RBIs.

Foy Shemwell, who was a graduate assistant coach at Troy State last spring, is batting .248 with one homer and 15 RBIs for Fort Worth (Ind.) Indians.