Former Wilmington Shark, Ryne Harper, made his Major League debut March 31 for the Minnesota Twins. Harper entered in the ninth inning of the Twins 9-3 win over the Cleveland Indians, not allowing a run and striking out one to finish off the game in his one inning of work.
Harper was drafted in the 37th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves out of Austin Peay State Univeristy, becoming only the seventh player all-time from Austin Peay to make it to the majors. A journeyman of sorts, Harper spent time in the Braves and Seattle Mariners organizations before finding a home with the Twins in last season where he posted a 3.60 ERA with 86 strikeouts across 65 innings pitched, playing at both the AA and AAA level. This effort earned him a spring training invite in 2019 where he made the most of the opportunity to be named to the team's Opening Day active roster, and eventually notching his first big league strikeout to close out the game for Minnesota on Sunday.
This is Ryne Harper— Jimmy Knutson (@JimmyKnutson) March 31, 2019
A 30 year old rookie with his first strike out in his first major league game to win the game for the @Twins
Just awesome ���� welcome to the big leagues pic.twitter.com/R9LPrqe4Bo
The right-hander spent his 2009 summer with the Wilmington Sharks, finishing with a 3.69 ERA over 46 1/3 innings pitched to go along with 34 strikeouts. Harper marks the first former CPL player to make their major league debut in 2019, and the 118th all-time. His debut also pushes Wilmington's major league alumni total to 11 all-time.
About Coastal Plain League:
The Coastal Plain League is the nation's premier summer collegiate baseball league. Heading into its 23rd season in 2019, the CPL features 16 franchises playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. To date, the CPL has had over 1,450 alumni drafted and 119 alums – including 2017 ALCS MVP, 2017 World Series champion, 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander, as well as 2017 NLCS MVP Chris Taylor – make their Major League debut. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @CPLBaseball.