The USCB baseball program is still waiting for its first alumnus to reach the majors, but the Sand Sharks recently added another former standout to the professional ranks.
Former USCB right-hander Zac Burke signed last week with the New York Bucks of the Empire Professional Baseball League, and his pro career is off to an impressive start. In just his second outing with the Bucks, Burke struck out eight in a two-hit shutout of the Aguada Explorers to earn his first professional win and help New York remain in first place in the league standings. The Bucks are on track to claim the top seed in the league playoffs, which begin Aug. 10.
“We’re excited for Burke,” USCB coach Jeremy Christian said. “He continued working hard and put up great numbers this summer and ultimately earned his opportunity in professional baseball. He had a great career here and we look forward to watching him climb the professional ladder. He’s a great ambassador for Sand Shark baseball and we couldn’t be happier for him.”
In his two seasons with USCB, Burke racked up 123 strikeouts in 122.0 innings pitched while going 9-8 with a 4.72 ERA and four saves.
The Empire League, a Independent Professional Baseball Organization, operates with teams from New York, Maine, and even Puerto Rico. The league serves as the next level for athletes out of college or who have some professional experience. Since its inception in 2015, the EPBL has promoted more 40 percent of all of its players to higher levels of professional baseball.