UTICA, Mich. – The Utica Unicorns of the United Shore Professional Baseball League announced Tuesday afternoon that the organization has added Greg Jones to its 2017 roster. The C-N alumnus joins the club two days prior to its next scheduled game coming June 22 at 7:05 p.m.
"Playing professional baseball is a great honor and a privilege," Jones said. "I am very grateful to have that privilege to play. Although I am very blessed with this opportunity this is just the first step into being a part of a major league organization. Every opportunity I get, I will work diligently to impact the team, the town or city and the organization as a whole."
Carson-Newman saw three players ink deals with the Frontier League in 2016 and Jones makes it consecutive seasons in which former athletes will play pro ball. The Unicorns are currently in first place with an 11-7 record.
The Maryville, Tenn. native was named second-team All-South Atlantic Conference following his senior season. He became the seventh catcher to earn a spot on an all-conference team for the Eagles and first since Wes Ward was a second-team pick in 2003.
The senior ranked fourth in the league with 13 home runs, thirds in runs batted in and 37th nationally with 58 RBIs and sixth in the conference in slugging percentage at .656. His 107 total bases were good for 11th in the SAC in 2017.
The catcher tallied 16 multi-hit games in 2017 and led the team with 17 multi-RBI efforts. As a backstop, Jones threw out 52 percent of would-be base stealers and led the team with five pick-offs.
Jones led the team when batting with runners in scoring position posting a .455 average, 25-for-55, and posted a .377 batting average, 20-for-53, against left-handed pitching.
The 2017 SAC All-Tournament team selection led all players in the field with 20 total bases going 13-for-25, .520, with two home runs and seven runs driven in and five runs scored. After having just one game with more than two hits during his senior year, the Maryville, Tenn. native notched two three-hit games and a four-hit afternoon in the final three contests of his career. The catcher went 4-for-5 with a home run against third-seeded Newberry and came back late Sunday night to go 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored against 15th-ranked and top-seeded Catawba.
The USPBL launched in 2016 and has four teams playing a 75-game schedule at Jimmy John's Field located 30 minutes north of downtown Detroit. The focus of the league according to its website is to bring in the best undrafted talent from around the country to prepare for a chance to sign with an affiliated organizations. Nine players from 2016 inked a contract with a Major League Baseball team.
- CN -