RICHMOND, Ky. – Four former Eastern Kentucky University baseball players are playing professional baseball this summer.
Mandy Alvarez is in his third season of pro baseball and his first with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. Alvarez went 4-for-5 against the Rochester Red Wings on April 26, including a double and two runs. The Red Wings would fall victim to another solid night at the plate from Alvarez on May 2 when he notched three doubles and a pair of RBIs while finishing 3-for-5.
For the season, he’s hitting .262 with 14 runs and 13 RBIs.
Alvarez was named to the Double-A All Star team last season when he played for the Trenton Thunder. He was also named an MILB.com Organization All-Star for the Yankees.
Alex Holderbach is entering his first full season of minor league play in the Houston Astros organization. After playing last summer with the Tri-City Valley Cats in the Class-A short season New York-Penn League, Holderbach was assigned to the Quad Cities River Bandits in March. On April 26, the catcher hit a two-run, walk-off home run in the 12th inning to lift the River Bandits over the Clinton LumberKings. He went 2-for-3 against Fort Wayne on May 3. He has two or more hits in three of his last five games.
Holderbach lifted the Tri-City to the New York-Penn League championship last season with a two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning. He was an All-American an Academic All-American as a Colonel. He was also one of three finalists from across the nation for the 2018 Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the top NCAA Division I catcher. Holderbach hit .352 with 12 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 55 runs scored and 79 RBIs last season before being picked in the 16th round of the 2018 MLB Draft.
Christian Friedrich has started two games this season for the New Britain Bees, his first appearances in pro baseball since 2017. Friedrich toed the rubber for EKU from 2006 to 2008. He still holds program records for lowest career ERA (1.84) and most career strikeouts (327). After earning first team All-America honors in 2008, he was drafted with the 25th pick in the first round by the Colorado Rockies.
Bryan Quillens was recently named the opening day starter for the Westside Wooly Mammoths in the United Shore Professional baseball league. Westside will open its season against the Utica Unicorns this Saturday.
A 6-foot-4 right-hander from Austell, Georgia, Quillens played two seasons at EKU. As a senior in 2018 he appeared in 20 games and started five times. He went 2-1 with 22 strikeouts in over 31 innings of work.