The MLB Draft might have wrapped up on Tuesday, but the Sam Houston Bearkats weren’t done sending players to the professional ranks yet.
Kyle Backhus, a five-year fixture on Sam Houston’s pitching staff, signed a free agent deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
Backhus’ signing comes just days after two of his teammates — Colton Cowser and Jack Rogers — watched their own professional baseball dreams come to fruition. Cowser was selected No. 5 overall by the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, while Rogers went to the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth round the following day.
A New Waverly native that starred at Willis High School, Backhus posted a 4-2 record this season with a 3.49 ERA, two complete games and 60 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings pitched. He saved perhaps his best for last, delivering a performance for the ages in a 2-1 loss to McNeese in the Southland Conference title game earlier this year.
Pitching on just one day's rest, Backhus went the distance for Sam Houston, striking out six with no walks, three hits and one earned run allowed in a career-high eight innings. After giving up a home run in the first inning, he proceeded to retire the next 15 batters he faced, before getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.
Backus joins former Bearkat ace and Huntsville native Caleb Smith in the Diamondbacks’ organization.