PAINESVILLE, Ohio—Former Lake Erie College baseball standout Ryan Rua made his MLB debut this weekend with the Texas Rangers, becoming the first Lake Erie graduate to make it to the majors.
"I found out from his father Randy at midnight the day before the news broke," said Storm baseball Head Coach Brian McGee. "That alone made me feel special that Ryan and his family wanted me to be one of the first to know. Words can't really explain the feeling you have when one of your own accomplishes their boyhood dream. I texted briefly with Ryan the next day, and the response I got back will sit with me forever- "couldn't have done it without you."
"It is always said that coaches have a great impact on their player's lives but what my players may not understand is how much they impact my life," continued McGee. "That text brought tears to my eyes and it will be a long time before that text is erased."
Rua ended the three-game weekend series against the Houston Astros with three hits, an RBI and a run.
In his debut on Friday (August 29), Rua went 1-5 in the Rangers 13-6 win over the Astros, batting fifth in the line-up and playing first base. In the top of the seventh, Rua recorded his first career hit, a single to right field. Three batters later, Rua scored on a Rougned Odor homerun.
On Saturday (August 30), Rua went 1-3 in the Rangers 2-0 loss. On Sunday (August 31), Rua went 1-4 at the plate. In the top of the first, Rua singled to centerfield, bringing home Alex Rios for his first career RBI.
"I am not one of those coaches who pretend to know what scouts are thinking, let alone what the organization's plans are for an individual," said McGee. "In the case with Rua, however, I knew in my heart that it was going to happen for him. I have always stayed out of his business and supported him from a distance, and he knows I care about him as well as all of his former teammates. I do my best to keep up with all my guys from time to time but I always felt that Ryan had enough on his plate to deal with and did not need his college coach bugging him for information."
Before the weekend series, Rua was playing with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express. He batted .312 with eight homeruns while driving in 36 runs in 71 games after getting promoted to the team on June 25.
Earlier in the season with the Rangers' Double-A affiliate, the Frisco Roughriders, Rua was voted into the Texas League All-Star game, where he won the Homerun Derby as part of the All-Star Game Festivities.
Rua played for the Storm from 2009-11. He batted .400 twice (2010-11) and posted double-digit home run totals twice, including in his freshman season. After batting .374 (176-of-470), with 39 doubles, five triples, 27 home runs and 131 RBIs in 139 games at Lake Erie, he was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 17th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft.