baseball

Stan State alumnus earns spot on U.S. Olympic baseball team

Former Stanislaus State pitcher and current Tampa Bay Rays prospect Joe Ryan was recently named to USA Baseball’s 24-man roster and will compete in the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

Baseball is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 2008 and Ryan will be part of the team’s starting rotation. The 12th-ranked prospect in the Rays system, Ryan currently pitches in the minor leagues for the Durham Bulls. He was a member of the qualifying roster for Team USA and helped them go 4-0 in the qualifying games last month.

During the qualifying round, Ryan struck out 10 batters over 4.2 innings of work against the Dominican Republic. In nine outings (eight starts) with the Bulls this year, Ryan has posted a 3-3 record and 3.73 ERA, complete with a team-best 54 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .181 batting average.

Ryan, 25, told the Tampa Bay Times he expected to be chosen for the final roster after his performance during the qualifying tournament.

“It’s an honor anytime you get to put that jersey on,” he said. “Just excited to go over there and represent the country.”

Ryan became the highest draft pick in Stanislaus State baseball program’s history in 2018 when he was selected in the seventh round by the Rays. Following his 2018 season at Stanislaus State, Ryan finished with an 8-1 record and 1.65 ERA in 14 starts with 127 strikeouts. According to the university’s newspaper, The Signal, Ryan is the first school alumni to compete as an athlete in any Olympic games.

Team USA’s first Olympic game will take place at 3 a.m. PST July 30 against Israel.

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