CLAREMORE — As the final name was called in the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Rogers State pitcher Brandon Bargas’ name wasn’t among those called over the three-day affair.
The five-foot-nine, southpaw pitcher left quite a mark on the Hillcat baseball program as he compiled 207 strikeouts over his two year career, just six shy of Grant Cosby’s four-year total of 213. Bargas helped the Hillcats to the program’s first-ever NAIA World Series appearance as a junior and in his senior season led the Cats back to Lewiston, Idaho as he compiled a 9-5 record with a 2.44 ERA.
It was on that grand stage of the NAIA World Series that Bargas left his biggest mark in the minds of Diamond Cat fans. As a junior he toppled No. 1-ranked LSU-Shreveport 2-1 as he fanned a single-game school record 18 batters. This season, in an elimination showdown versus six-seed York (Neb.), the Owasso, Okla. native struck out a season-high 10 batters as the Cats continued its World Series run another game with a 4-1 victory.
Bargas’ performance versus LSU-Shreveport in 2012 left a mark in the minds of management for the Grand Prairie AirHogs of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.
As the Hillcats’ season came to a close at the World Series, Bargas and the AirHogs initiated discussions prior to the MLB Draft. When the Owasso, Okla. native wasn’t announced among the 1,216 players drafted he inked a contract with the AirHogs.
On June 11 he joined the team and one-day later started his first professional game earning his first professional victory over the Laredo Lemurs, 5-2. Bargas fanned four batters, allowed three hits and gave up one earned run in 7.2 innings of action.
Despite the great start to his professional career the former Hillcat was humbled by the experience.