Making his first appearance in professional baseball, Chavez Fernander pitched four scoreless innings, earning the win as the Gulf Coast League Tigers East defeated the Gulf Coast League Pirates 8-0 today at Tigertown in Lakeland, Fla.
A former Polk State Eagle from Grand Bahama, Chavez entered the game in relief to start the fourth inning with the Tigers leading 3-0.
"At first I was a little nervous since it was my first pro game," he said. "But then I realized it's the same game I've always played, so I attacked the hitters."
Fernander retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth innings, allowed a single in the sixth, and finished strong in the seventh inning, striking out the first two hitters and retiring the third on a grounder to third base.
In four shutout innings the right-hander walked none and struck out four.
He left the game with the Tigers leading 8-0.
Teammates congratulate Chavez Fernander after he tossed four scoreless innings in his pro debut with the Gulf Coast League Tigers. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)
The Gulf Coast League Tigers are a Rookie League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, who selected Fernander in the 35thround of the 2018 MLB Draft.
"From day one when I came here they showed nothing but love," he said.
"The coaches and everyone brought me in as one of the family and made me feel really comfortable here in this organization."
Fernander finished his sophomore year at Polk State in May. He went 8-4 with a 3.09 ERA, allowing 18 walks and recording 63 strikeouts in 58 innings.
He was named to the Suncoast Conference Second Team All-Conference.