MARION, Ill. – For just the third time in program history, Carson-Newman baseball has three players from one class sign a professional contract in the same summer. Former right-handed pitcher Dustin Batson signed with the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League Friday afternoon.
"I thank the Lord to have blessed me with this opportunity," Batson said. "I am very thankful to have had the type of coaches and teammates that I had at Carson-Newman. I can't thank them enough."
"I am excited that we are all in the same league," Batson said. "This is the dream that we have all had and we have finally been given the opportunity to pursue it."
The other two occurrences of a trio of Eagles signing in the same summer came in 2005 and 2010. The 2005 class saw T.J. Graves, Brian Chapman and Chad Gillis sign in the Frontier League. In 2010, D.J. Ferguson spent time in the Baltimore Orioles organization, Mills Rogers play for the Washington Nationals and Chase Boruff play with the Kansas City Royals organization.
Batson, a native of Pisgah Forest, N.C., was named to the South Atlantic Conference's All-Tournament Team following his performance at Smokies Stadium. In 10 innings pitched, the Pisgah Forest native went 1-0 with a save while striking out 11 and allowing just two earned runs. Batson entered in the ninth inning of C-N's first game against Newberry on April 29 and induced a pop out and a 6-4-3 double play to seal a 3-0 win for the Eagles. On Sunday, the right-hander worked a complete game for the fourth time in 2016 in a 10-2 win over Tusculum. Batson scattered 11 hits and two walks while throwing 153 pitches and striking out 11. Over the final eight days of the season, the hurler threw 434 pitches over four games. With his performance, he moved into 10th-place on the school's strikeout list with 79 on the season.
Overall in 2016, the hurler appeared in 17 games with 11 starts going 6-4 with a 4.04 ERA and 79 strikeouts. He hurled his first complete game working nine innings in an 8-1 win over McKendree on Feb. 27 with seven strikeouts. Batson tossed a Division II high 11 innings while striking out a career-high 14 batters v. Catawba on April 15. To wrap up the 2016 regular season, the righty picked up a pair of wins at Tusculum during the final week of the regular season becoming the first pitcher to win two games in a SAC series since Daniel Sharp won twice on Feb. 7-8, 2014 against Brevard.
Southern Illinois currently owns the best record in the league by seven games sporting a 39-17 mark to lead the West Division after winning back-to-back league titles in 2014 and 2015. To follow along with Batson's career, fans are encouraged to follow @SIMiners on Twitter and using the team's official website that can be found here.
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