By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletics Director, Strategic Communications
Dayton, Oh. – In early July, CSUN head men's basketball coach Reggie Theus and assistant coach Jay Morris made the long trek from Southern California to Dayton, Ohio, to see Amir Garrett, a rare two-sport athlete who plays basketball for CSUN, and also pitches professionally in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Garrett pitches for the Dayton Dragons, a Class A affiliate of the Reds in the Midwest League.
"It was great to see Amir, to watch two wins for Dayton over Ft. Wayne, and to let Amir know that we support him," said Theus. "We went to dinner with him, and we enjoyed talking with this outstanding young man. He is a part of the CSUN family as well as the Cincinnati Reds family."
Garrett was scheduled to pitch one of the two games last week against Ft. Wayne that both CSUN coaches attended. However, a pitching change prevented Garrett from playing in either game. However, the chance to see Garrett and wish him good fortune was well worth the trip for the two CSUN coaches from Los Angeles to Dayton.
"Amir loves baseball," said Theus. "What a tremendous advantage for him. He understands what it takes to be a high level athlete. He knows what it takes to succeed. He is special to be a two-sport athlete. What a great way to spend your life."
Matador fans enjoyed the opportunity to see Garrett pitch on Thursday night. The "Minor League Game of the Week" was televised on the CBS Sports Network. The game featured the Dayton Dragons vs the first place South Bend Silver Hawks.
Garrett received no help from his teammates. Dayton was beaten, 7-1. In fact, the South Bend pitcher hurled a no-hitter.
Garrett pitched five solid innings. The junior-to-be at CSUN in the Fall gave up only two runs, two hits along with six strikeouts.
"Amir has a good live arm," said Doug Flynn, the CBS broadcaster who played in the major leagues for the Cincinnati Reds for several seasons, including being a member of the 1990 World Series champion Reds team. "Dayton is just 58 miles north of Cincinnati so the major league club has a lot of opportunities to take a good look at their good prospects like Amir. There are a lot of good things about Amir's pitching talents."
Not only did Garrett pitch before a live nationally-televised audience, a sellout crowd of more than 8,500 fans filled Fifth Third Stadium. It was the 1,026 consecutive sellout at the Dayton ballpark, a record for any professional sport in the United States.
Garrett, a 6-foot-6, 210-pounder, redshirted last year on the CSUN basketball team after transferring from St. John's University in New York. He played two seasons (2011-12, 2012-13) at St. John's. During the 2012-13 campaign, Garrett helped the team to the second round of the NIT (National Invitation Tournament).
Garrett hails from Los Angeles where he played as a junior at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale. Garrett then transferred to Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nv) for his senior season where he averaged 12.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game on a team that went 28-4 and a Top-20 national ranking.
Garrett is one of the top minor league prospects for the Cincinnati Reds. The left-handed pitcher has a fastball that has been clocked at 96-miles per hour. He also mixes up his pitches with a breaking ball and a changeup.
In June, 2011, Garrett was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, and eventually signed a contract in August (2011) along with a one million dollar bonus. The contract allowed him to play collegiate basketball.
Garrett started his professional career with Billings (Mt) in the Pioneer League in the summer of 2012. He also played for Billings in 2013, and was later promoted to Dayton in the Midwest League.
Last month, Garrett posted a record of 2-0 with a 2.70 earned run average in five starts. In 26.2 innings, Garrett allowed 19 hits with four walks with 24 strikeouts. For his efforts, Garrett was named the Dayton Dragons Pitcher of the Month.
For the season, Garrett has pitched in 18 games (all as a starter) with a 3-5 record and a 3.98 era.
Previous to last night's game, Garrett had chalked up a 3-1 record with a 2.91 era in his last ten games. That included a three-hit shutout against Bowling Green on June 11.
The Dayton season will end on Sept. 1. He will then return to the CSUN campus to begin preparations for the 2014-15 basketball season.
"Amir is a good leader, a high level athlete and a good student in the classroom," said Theus. "We expect good things from him this year. We expect him to be a force in the Big West Conference."
Matador Memo/Dayton Data …
Amir Garrett wears uniform #22 as both a baseball and basketball player … Garrett has worn that number since he started playing sports as a youth … Magic Johnson (Hall of Famer) and Archie Griffin (former Heisman Trophy winner from the Ohio State) are part owners of the Dragons.