TWO MEMBERS OF last year’s Pomona-Pitzer baseball team are now making their way in the world of professional baseball. Sagehen slugger and second baseman Tanner Nishioka ’17 was picked by the Boston Red Sox in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball draft—the highest draft pick in Sagehen history—while pitcher David Gerics ’17, though undrafted, signed a contract with the Minnesota Twins.
“It’s a huge honor to have two Sagehen baseball players signed by MLB teams in the same year.” says Sagehen Head Baseball Coach Frank Pericolosi.
Nishioka is the first Sagehen drafted to the MLB since David Colvin was selected by the Mariners in the 27th round of the 2011 draft. During Nishioka’s senior season, the neuroscience major from Honolulu led the nation for Division III with 18 home runs and a .888 slugging percentage, and he racked up a slew of honors, including selection for First Team All-American, Academic All-American, West Region Player of the Year and SCIAC Player of the Year.
“I just wanted to play baseball for as long as I could,” Nishioka told the Los Angeles Times. “I wouldn’t say I thought I would get drafted in the top 10 rounds at all. I still can’t believe it.”
Nishioka completed his college career in the top six in Sagehen history in hits (254), home runs (36), batting average (.395), runs (189), and RBI (166). Nishioka also ranks seventh in single-season batting average (.441) and is tied for third in home runs in a single season (18).
Gerics ended his senior year with a career-high of 86 strikeouts. He also earned All-West Region honors during his junior season, as he finished the year with a perfect 7–0 record and a 2.31 ERA with only 16 earned runs surrendered in 62.1 innings pitched.
After graduating in May with a B.A. in economics, Gerics tried out with the Mets, the Angels and the Twins. He was on his way to Gary, Ind., with plans to play baseball for the non-MLB affiliate, the Gary Southshore Railcats, when the Twins gave him his long-awaited callback.
“Two hours before I arrived, I got the call that my wildest dreams were becoming a reality,” says Gerics. “I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t believe it. It was pure elation.”