Pioneers in the pros: Blaski thriving

The Marietta College Pioneers are represented very well in the minor leagues this season as no less than four former members of the Etta Express are working their way up through various farm systems of major league baseball teams.

Leading the way is 2012 first team All- American pitcher Austin Blaski who is currently pitching for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Single A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Blaski leads all starting pitchers in the Brewers farm system with a quite impressive 1.67 earned run average in his first 10 appearances including six starts.

The Pandora, Ohio native owns a 2-1 record in 43 innings pitched and has limited his opponents to just a .184 batting average against him while surrendering just one long ball.

Blaski began the season in the bullpen for the Timber Rattlers before moving into the starting rotation at the end of April.

Returning to the rotation has suited the right-hander just fine as he has recorded four consecutive quality starts, allowing just six earned runs in just shy of 25 innings pitched.

Blaski’s former Pioneer teammate Mark Williams is also a member of the Brewers farm system as he is currently toiling for the Double A Huntsville Stars.

Williams, a 2011 graduate of Marietta College, began the season with the Single A Brevard County Manatees before earning a promotion by posting a 2.61 ERA in his first five games.

Double A has not been quite as kind to Williams, a Cincinnati native, as he currently possesses a 5.79 ERA in eight games pitched for the Stars.

Wildness has hampered Williams as he has walked 12 hitters while fanning eight in his 14 innings pitched.

Mike DeMark, a member of the 2006 Pioneer national championship team, is also pitching in Double A this season as the right hander is a member of the Midland Rock Hounds, an affiliate of the Oakland A’s.

The 30-year old DeMark sports an 0-1 record with an solid 2.93 ERA in 15 innings pitched for the Rock Hounds.

The Greensburg, Pa. native has also recorded a pair of saves for Midland.

Two-time All American Tim Saunders is currently playing for the Daytona Cubs, the high Single A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.

Saunders may be going through a sophomore slump so far this year as after hitting .381 in his first 49 games in the minor leagues last season, Saunders is hitting just .177 in 35 games this year.

The former Etta Express shortstop has collected just 23 base hits in 130 at bats this season while homering once and knocking in nine runs.

The Alliance native has swiped 14 bases in 16 attempts for the Cubs.