MAGNOLIA, Ark. – Two other members of the Southern Arkansas baseball team will pursue the opportunity of someday playing in the major league as senior pitchers Kris Marshall (5-10, 170, Sr., L/L, Rockport, Texas/Hill College) and Matt Speake (6-1, 205, Sr., R/R, Tyler, Texas/Texas A&M) have signed free agent contracts with the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Indians, respectively.
Marshall, utilized as a reliever in his two seasons with the Muleriders, actually signed with the Angels two hours following the conclusion of last Wednesday's final day of the MLB amateur draft. He led SAU this year with four saves in 16 appearances, with one start, compiling a 1-1 record and 5.11 ERA. The senior had 30 strikeouts, while allowing 23 hits, 14 earned runs and 10 walks in 24 2/3 innings of work. Over his two seasons he was 1-2 with a 5.18 ERA in 24 appearances, striking out 36 in 33 innings.
Used primarily as the No. 2 starter in his two years at Southern Arkansas, Speake carries an impressive resumé to the Indians, combining for an 18-1 record and 4.52 ERA while with the Muleriders. He made 36 career appearances that included 21 starts, with seven complete games and three shutouts, and had three saves, striking out 138 batters in 165 1/3 innings of work. Speake's two-year 18-1 mark is the school's career record for win percentage (.947). In 2010, he was 9-1 with a 4.77 ERA in 16 appearances, had six complete games and a pair of shutouts and struck out 73 in 88 2/3 innings.
With the Angels, Marshall joins fellow SAU teammate and senior relief pitcher Chad Yinger (Monroe, Mich.), who was drafted in the 48th round by the club. Both Marshall and Speake have already reported to their respective mini-camps in Arizona.
Along with Yinger, the three make a total of six Southern Arkansas players from this past season that have either already signed, or will sign soon with MLB teams. Junior starting pitcher Hayden Simpson (Magnolia) was drafted in the first round with the 16th overall pick by the Chicago Cubs, and senior starting pitcher Cole Lohden (Frisco, Texas) and senior shortstop Andrew Whittington (Texas City, Texas) went in the 33rd round, Lohden to the Kansas City Royals and Whittington to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
(Courtesy: Southern Arkansas Athletics Department)