LUBBOCK, Texas (June 24, 2009) - Lubbock Christian University pitcher Rene Garcia has decided to forego his senior year at Lubbock Christian, as he signed a professional contract with the Tucson Toros of the independent Golden Baseball League.
Garcia, who is a native of Tucson, made the decision after going undrafted in last week's Major League Baseball draft. He was drafted twice (2004 and 2005), but he suffered an arm injury and underwent labrum surgery in 2005, which kept him out of baseball for two seasons. Garcia turned 23 earlier in the week and will now hope for a free agent offer while playing with the Toros to get into affiliated baseball.
The right-handed hurler went 11-1 this season with a Sooner Athletic Conference leading 2.77 ERA. In 78 innings pitched, Garcia registered 91 strikeouts and held opponents to a .224 batting average. Garcia was solid at the Avista NAIA World Series, pitching 15 innings without allowing an earned run. The NAIA World Series All-Tournament Team performer pitched a one-hitter through six innings against Lee and helped combine for the shutout, before pitching a complete game against Point Loma Nazarene (5-1) to help force an additional championship game. Garcia racked up 12 strikeouts in the 15 innings in Lewiston, Idaho as the Chaps claimed the NAIA title.
Garcia is the 23rd player in LCU history to sign an independent contract and the second player from the past season's squad. Jakob Cunningham signed with the Shreveport-Bossier Captains last week and has been solid. Cunningham, who earned his first pro win Tuesday night, is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He has not allowed a hit in 6.2 innings pitched (10 strikeouts). Garcia made his pro debut over the weekend and allowed four earned runs in 4.2 innings (7.71 ERA) while striking out five.