WORCESTER, Mass. – Recent Quinnipiac graduate and baseball stand-out Kyle Nisson (Wallingford, Conn.) has signed with the Worcester (Mass.) Tornadoes of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, otherwise known as the CanAm League. Nisson made his professional debut on Thursday, July 12 in a 2-1 win against the Gary (Ind.) SouthShore RailCats, recording a RBI in the Tornadoes' win.
"Signing my first pro contract was a pretty crazy feeling," Nisson said. "I've been playing baseball for 16, 17 years and all the work I have put into this game was to sign a pro contract. It's an amazing feeling."
The Worcester Tornadoes are most recognized for their currently-inactive designated hitter and former Major League Baseball player, Jose Canseco. Canseco's locker currently sits beside the Tornadoes' active designated hitter, Nisson, in the locker room at Worcester's Fitton Field.
"Last night was pretty overwhelming," Nisson said. "I walked into the dugout and there were people actually asking for my autograph. It was a pretty cool feeling. Then, to get an RBI in the same game was just made itan overall great day."
Nisson was an all Northeast Conference selection in 2011 and the College Sports Madness All NEC Second Team in 2012 after leading NCAA Division I college baseball in the "Toughest To Strike Out" Category. Nisson struck-out five times in 171 at-bats, or roughly once every 34.2 at-bats, to lead the nation in the category.
"I called my dad right after i signed and he stopped me for a second and said, 'Kyle , you're a pro now.' That right there, made it real for me. He's my biggest fan."
Nisson finished his senior year tied for the team lead in hits (54), while leading the team in doubles (8), runs scored (26), on-base percentage (.377). An All-NEC Second Team selection by the conference as a junior, Nisson batted .316 (54-171) while also driving in 17 runs. He also finished the year as the second hardest batter in NCAA Division I baseball to strike out.
Behind the plate, Nisson was third among all NEC catchers as he threw out 12 runners for the year. Nisson also collected a team-high 18 multiple-hit games, including four with three or more and was one of two players in the NEC this season to put together a five-hit game. In that game, a 17-3 win against Mount St. Mary's that also stood as Head Coach Dan Gooley's 500th career victory, Nisson was 5-for-6 with a double, four RBI and five runs scored. Nisson was also named to College Sports Madness' Preseason All-NEC Team.
"My goals are to play well for the remainder of this season and help our team win as many games as possible," Nisson explained. "Also, to play well enough to catch the eye of teams and sign an affiliated contract at the end of the season."
Nisson is the latest in professional signings for the Quinnipiac baseball team. In June, former Quinnipiac stand-out Joe Poletsky signed with the Atlantic League's Bridgeport (Conn.) Bluefish. Nisson and Poletsky join former Quinnipiac baseball players Pat Egan '07 and Chris Gloor '10 as former Bobcats in the professional ranks. Egan is currently pitching for the Eastern League's Bowie (Md.) Baysox, the Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Gloor is also pitching in the Eastern League, for the Richmond (Va.) Flying Squirrels, the affiliate of the San Francisco Giants organization. In addition to Egan, Gloor and now Poletsky, Quinnipiac has produced more than 20 professional baseball players since 1968, including former Major League Baseball reliever Turk Wendell. In addition to Wendell, Egan, Gloor and now Poletsky, Randy Gress '07, Wilson Matos '07, Tim Binkoski '07, Kevin MacIlvane '06, Bryan Sabatella '05, Ari Kafka '05, Buddy Bengel '04, Jeff Carlson '98, Tim Belcher '97, Steve Kulpa '93, Doug Bond '88, Dominick Rovasio '88, Brian Landy '88, Frank Trasacco '84, Bob Bruzik '83, Greg Burtt '79, William Martin '79, Ralph Russo '74 and Dan Ford '68 all played professionally.
Contact: Ken Sweeten (KFSweeten@quinnipiac.edu)