TIGER TALK: BASEBALL EDITION
The next Tiger Talk will be Tuesday, June 23rd and focus on Pacific Baseball as we speak with newly named head coach, Chris Rodriguez. Joining him will be three of his student-athletes including juniors, Charles Middleton and Hayden Pearce, along with incoming sophomore transfer, Zach Patterson. Also joining the discussion is former Pacific baseball stand-out, James Free II.
The Tiger Talk will be from 4:00-5:00 via Zoom and be hosted by Zack Bayrouty. To join the conversation, visit https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81639773490.
ABOUT OUR GUESTS
Chris Rodriguez was named the 19th head coach for Pacific Baseball earlier this month after serving as the interim head coach for the Tigers in 2020. Despite the shortened season this past spring, Rodriguez guided the Tigers to an 8-9 overall record, which included a 5-2 start with series wins over California Baptist and South Dakota State.
With 15 years of experience in coaching at the collegiate level, including a head coaching stint at Modesto Junior College, Rodriguez brings a seasoned perspective to the Tigers. Prior to being named interim head coach on January 6, he also spent one year on the bench as an assistant under former head coach Ryan Garko in 2019.
While his first season with the Tigers was cut short, outfielder Charles Middleton emerged as one of the most feared athletes in the conference as he was named one of the top 50 junior hitters in the country by D1 Baseball after tallying team-highs in batting average (.403), home runs (4), RBI (20), doubles (5), slugging percentage (.657), base on balls (12) and total bases (44) in his first 17 games at Pacific.
He spent his first two seasons at Sierra College where he was named the ABCA Pacific Association Division Positional Player of the Year in 2019.
Through the first 17 games of the 2020 season, junior pitcher Hayden Pearce ranked third in the West Coast Conference with an 11.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 0.80 WHIP. He allowed just 0.76 walks per nine innings, second in the WCC and 22nd in Division I. Pearce sported a 2-0 record with team-low 2.28 ERA in four starts and 23.2 innings of work with a team-high 22 strikeouts.
Set to join the Tigers this fall, incoming transfer Zach Patterson comes to Pacific after spending two seasons at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. He guided the Renegades to a 37-12 record his freshman year as both a pitcher and outfielder. Patterson had a .381 batting average with 14 home runs, 53 RBIs, 52 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases.
After his remarkable freshman campaign, Patterson was tabbed the 2019 NorCal All-State/All-North Co-MVP alongside current Tiger outfielder, Charles Middleton. Furthermore, he was also selected as a JUCO All-American, earned a spot on the All-Region and All-State teams, and was named the Conference Player of the Year and JBB Two-Way Player of the Year.
Heading into 2020, Patterson was named a Preseason All-American. Despite the season getting cut short, he continued to dazzle between the lines in his second year at Ohlone, hitting .397 with 3 home runs, 8 doubles and 3 stolen bases before play was suspended.
JAMES FREE II
James Free became the 94th Pacific player in program history to reach the ranks of professional baseball after signing with the Cincinnati Reds organization in June of 2019.
He was named to the All-WCC First Team last season as a junior. As a switch-hitting catcher, he hit .335 with eight home runs, 39 RBIs and 37 runs scored. His batting average was tied for the seventh highest in the WCC. In WCC play, he posted the fifth highest on-base percentage in the league at .431 and was top-10 in hits, RBIs, slugging percentage, doubles, total bases and home runs. As a freshman, he was named to the All-WCC Second Team and All-Freshman team and he was an honorable mention his sophomore season.