Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Two-Way Baseball Star River Ryan drafted by San Diego

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Former Braves two-way star River Ryan PN Photo/ Mahala Treish.

Ryan and Spencer Faulkner celebrate after a great play.
PN Photo/ Mahala Treish.

By: Jacob Husson

UNCP has had one of the better programs in Division 2 College Baseball for some time. This Spring,
we were given more proof of that when Two-Way star, River Ryan was drafted in the 11th round of the MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres.

He compiled a career Batting Average of .343 in college, along with a .417 On-Base Percentage and a .502
Slugging Percentage.

In addition, he ended his college career with 12 career Home Runs and 119 runs batted in. As a Pitcher, he ended his college career with a 7-1 record as a pitcher with a 2.32 Earned Run Average.

The first impression that River Ryan left on UNCP Baseball’s Head Coach Paul O’Neill’s was a lasting one.

“His skill set was exceptional, and his IQ was off the charts,” said O’Neil.

O’Neill also remarked that River is an extraordinary athlete who can learn quickly. His one concern about Ryan is that he is injury prone. Time will tell whether that is a problem that follows him in his pro career. However, O’Neil acknowledged River’s outstanding work ethic.

Keeping with that theme sophomore infielder/outfielder, Spencer Faulkner praised Ryan for his leadership.

“100% River was a leader and mentor who didn’t just care about himself but wanted his teammates to
succeed just as much as he wanted himself to succeed,” said Faulkner.

It is well-known that the jump in difficulty from college to pro baseball is significant.

However, Coach O’Neill believes River Ryan has an outstanding work ethic that will help him succeed at the next level.

As a Two-Way player, it will be interesting to see whether the San Diego Padres keep him on this path, or have him specialize as a pitcher or a hitter.

“The guy could pitch 98mph and brought a confidence to the mound that motivates his teammates to
succeed at the highest level,” added Faulkner.

When asked about River’s personality in the clubhouse, Coach O’Neill stated that he is a great
teammate who is great to have in the locker room. If River brings that same personality to the Minor
Leagues, he has a good chance of lasting in professional baseball. Hopefully, River can stay healthy and excel in the Padres’ organization.

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