|In his 26 years coaching baseball for Tennessee’s Austin Peay State University, Gary McClure was honored to meet some of the sport’s future superstars. Tyler Rogers is one of those players. Here, we speak with the now-retired McClure about his former team member.
Oceans2003: Welcome, and thank you for taking time to visit with us today.
Gary McClure: It’s my pleasure. He’s an easy guy to talk about because he was a great young man who accomplished amazing things as a pitcher at Austin Peay.
Oceans2003: We understand you’re quite the expert when it comes to college baseball, and specifically when it comes to APSU players.
Gary McClure: I coached for Austin Peay State University’s baseball team for 26 seasons and played ball in college myself.
Oceans2003: That sounds like an amazing and rewarding career.
Gary McClure: It definitely was.
Oceans2003: We would actually like to talk about a specific player today. Do you recall Tyler Rogers?
Gary McClure: Absolutely! He was one of just five finalists for the 2013 NCBWA Stopper of the Year award. He was also a submarine style pitcher. Normally those guys don’t throw with great velocity, but Tyler could run it up the 90 mph. He was also a guy that rarely showed emotion which was perfect for the role he filled on our team as the closer. I also might add he was a very funny guy even though he had a dry sense of humor.
Oceans2003: Can you tell us about Tyler’s final year at Austin Peay?
Gary McClure: Tyler was always a strong player, but 2013 was particularly exceptional for this young man. The entire season, he allowed just nine earned runs. Truthfully, all we had to do was get a lead and give the ball to Tyler in the late innings and it was automatic. As a coach that’s a great feeling, believe me! Tyler was extremely special!
Oceans2003: He was recognized by the Ohio Valley Conference that year, as well, correct?
Gary McClure: Yes, Tyler was named 2013 OVC Pitcher of the Year. He was a reliever, so that really says something because normally this award only goes to starting pitchers.
Oceans2003: We’re all pretty familiar with the OVC. But what is the NCBWA?
Gary McClure: That’s the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. It’s a group of men and women who are committed to the advancement of college baseball. Its members are inclusive of broadcasters, writers, and publicists of the sport.
Oceans2003: So, essentially a group of baseball experts?
Gary McClure: Yes, exactly – and that’s why recognition from this organization is so notable.
Oceans2003: You mentioned that Tyler was one of five finalists. How many players were included in the selection process?
Gary McClure: 90 of the nation’s top collegiate relief pitchers.
Oceans2003: Who were the other four finalists?
Gary McClure: David Berg, UCLA; Jonathan Holder, Mississippi State; Michael Lorenzen, Cal State Fullerton; and Jimmie Sherfy, Oregon. Tyler actually broke the NCAA saves record during the 2013 season. However Berg of UCLA tied it and broke that record because UCLA made it to the World Series which gave him some extra opportunities that Tyler didn’t have.
Oceans2003: What has Tyler been up to since graduation?
Gary McClure: Shortly after receiving the Stopper of the Year award, he was actually signed by big leagues.the San Francisco Giants (MiLB). He has done exceptionally well and i believe it won’t be long before he’s in the
Oceans2003: Is he still with them?
Gary McClure: As with most players in the Minors, he’s been shuffled around a bit. He was with the Salem-Kaiser Volcanoes, the Augusta GreenJackets, and the Richmond Flying Squirrels through much of 2014. In 2015, he was posted to the San Francisco Giants Futures while finishing out a stint with Flying Squirrels. He was also selected to pitch in the prestigious Arizona Fall League which is the top prospects in minor league baseball.
Oceans2003: It sounds like he’s been busy.
Gary McClure: I certainly hope so.
Oceans2003: We understand that Tyler has a pretty exceptional physical stature…
Gary McClure: He is 6” 5’, I would say he gets noticed. He’s certainly not a big thick guy, he is actually tall and lanky. He is all arms and legs when he comes at you while making a pitch. As he gets older, he does continue to fell out.
Oceans2003: Is he a righty or a lefty?
Gary McClure: He is a righty .
Oceans2003: Where is he from?
Gary McClure: Tyler was born in Littleton, Colorado. which is basically Denver. He has lived there his entire life.
Oceans2003: And he has a brother involved in sports, too, right?
Gary McClure: Yes, an identical twin, actually. Taylor Rogers is a left-handed pitcher currently with the Minnesota Twins (MiLB). He played his college baseball at Kentucky and is also a very good prospect. He not far from making it to the big leagues either.
Oceans2003: Sounds like a love of the game runs in the family.
Gary McClure: I would say that’s a pretty accurate statement. It’s very evident when you watch him on the field that he plays the way he does because he has a true passion for the game.