Former St. Thomas pitcher Ryan Zimmerman made his pro debut Saturday evening in Cleburne, Texas, with the St. Paul Saints against the Cleburne Railsplitters.
Zimmerman struck out the first batter he faced. He worked five innings and allowed one earned run, three hits and one walk with no decision. The Saints tied the game 2-2 in the top of the ninth, but St. Paul lost 3-2 in 11 innings.
St. Thomas righthander Ryan Zimmerman has signed a contract with the St. Paul Saints.
A third-team D3Baseball All-Region honoree in 2017, Zimmerman had another strong season in 2018 for the University of St. Thomas.
He went 6-3 in 10 appearances with a 3.36 ERA and 75 strikeouts to just 28 walks in 56 innings. That included a one-hit shutout on the road to beat Concordia-Moorhead. He also pitched nine innings and had a no decision in the conference playoffs -- a game played at CHS Field -- in a 6-5, 10-inning win over Gustavus.
In 43 career pitching appearances, Zimmerman had a 3.04 ERA and a 16-8 record, with one save, eight complete games, 203 strikeouts, 74 walks in 181 innings.
In 2017, he had two postseason complete games, including a 7-2 win over No. 2-ranked UW-Whitewater, with a 2.58 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 116.1 innings.
The Eden Prairie, Minn., native, worked out of the bullpen as a sophomore in 2016. Zimmerman went 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA in 13 appearances, all in relief, with 32 strikeouts in 39 innings.
Zimmerman pitched two seasons in the summer wood-bat Northwoods League. In 2017 he won five games and made 11 starts for Eau Claire, with 59 strikeouts in 57 innings. In 2016, he went 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in eight appearances with the Express, with 33 strikeouts and 18 walks in 38 innings.
Zimmerman is among 16 different St. Thomas baseball alums in the last 23 years to play in a minor-league organization, or sign with the Northern or Independent League. In 11 of the last 13 seasons, at least one Tommie has been on the Saints rosters.
He's the 10th Tommie graduate to pitch for the Saints as he joins Chris Olean (2001); Brian Whinnery (2006, 2007, 2008); Lonnie Robinson (2008, 2009); Brandon Stone (2010); Kris Edwards (2011); Matt Schuld (2012, 2017); Dylan Thomas (2013); Tommy Danczyk (2014); and Eric Veglahn (2016, 2017).