The night of June 29 was a special one for 2013 Northern graduate Ryan Meisinger, as when he emerged from the bullpen for a customary night of work as a relief pitcher he was jogging in to a big league mound, set to make his Major League Baseball debut at Oriole Park at Camden Yards as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.
Meisinger, who was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of Radford University in the 11th round of the 2015 draft, climbed up the mound to throw his first big league pitches facing a two-on, two-out situation in the top of the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels. The Northern grad got out of the jam, inducing a fly out against Justin Upton to end the inning.
“I actually prefer coming into a game with two runners on,” Meisinger said of the situation. “It forces me to focus and bear down on the hitter. I made a mistake the first pitch to Upton, but luckily he fouled it off. On the next pitch I got him to fly out.”
Coming back out for the next inning, Meisinger surrendered his first hit against future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, who led off the seventh with a double. The Angels eventually had runners on the corners with nobody out after a third strike to Andrelton Simmons skipped away, but Meisinger was able to retire the late Luis Valbuena on a shallow fly ball and then induced an inning-ending double play against Ian Kinsler to put a zero on the board.
“Of course the first batter I face in the seventh is Albert Pujols and he doubles off me, but he’s a great hitter,” Meisinger said. “Then I strike out Simmons but don’t get the out, but those things happen. I was able to get the next batter [Valbuena] to fly out to left, then I get Kinsler to turn over on a slider and Manny [Machado] started that inning-ending double play. That was a great way to end an inning that did not start out well.”
Meisinger allowed a solo home run to Martin Maldonado to open the eighth, and then retired David Fletcher before his debut reached its end. In all, he pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowed two hits and one earned run, struck out one and did not walk a batter.
Recently claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals, the Northern graduate logged 21 innings with the Orioles for the season. He finished with a 2-1 record, struck out 21 batters and had a 6.43 ERA.