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Sam Clay Makes Big League Debut against Braves

WASHINGTON – Former Georgia Tech baseball standout and fourth-round MLB pick LHP Sam Clay made his Major League Baseball debut on Wednesday afternoon with the Washington Nationals.

The Buford, Ga. native, Clay turned in an inning of work against the Atlanta Braves, allowing just one hit before striking out Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna to retire the side. The Braves would wind up hanging on to win 7-6 over Washington.

Selected by Minnesota in 2014, Clay signed a Major League contract in November 2020 after seven seasons with the Twins organization.

In 2019, Clay led all Minor League Baseball in groundball rate (71.3 percent), going 4-4 with 10 saves and a 3.25 ERA in 45 games between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Rochester. He struck out 72 batters in 69.1 innings. His 45 appearances were tied for the most among Twins Minor League pitchers, while his 10 saves were tied for third-most in the organization. The portsider did not allow a home run in 2019 and surrendered just one home run in 188.2 innings pitched (122 games) since the start of the 2017 season.

In six minor league seasons, he was 24-24 with 20 saves and a 3.97 ERA.

A draft-eligible sophomore in 2014, Clay was sensational en route to Georgia Tech’s ninth ACC Championship, posting the then-second-lowest ERA in school history at 1.26 over 57.1 innings (now third all-time) and a team-best 31 appearances. He finished 4-1 on the mound and led the Jackets with eight saves, not allowing a run over his final six appearances – including all four postseason outings. His eight runs allowed that year ranks tied for fewest allowed in a single season in program history (min. 50 IP).

With Clay’s appearance on Wednesday, he becomes the Yellow Jackets’ 72nd Major Leaguer overall and the 30th player to make the Big Leagues under head coach Danny Hall.

Sam Clay at Georgia Tech

2013-2014

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Support The Swarm Fund, which helps Georgia Tech athletics offset the significant financial challenges associated with Covid-19, and the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.   

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