TCU

TCU's former star closer was hunting ducks when he got spring training invite

TCU's Riley Ferrell pitches in the ninth inning of a first-round game against Baylor in the Big 12 conference NCAA college baseball tournament in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 21, 2014.
TCU's Riley Ferrell pitches in the ninth inning of a first-round game against Baylor in the Big 12 conference NCAA college baseball tournament in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. The Associated Press

Riley Ferrell was a little busy when he received his invite to spring training with the Houston Astros.

Once the star closer during TCU baseball's consecutive trips to Omaha in 2014 and 2015, Ferrell learned he was heading to big league camp for the first time in his pro career this year while hunting ducks in Lubbock, Texas.

Former TCU reliever Riley Ferrell received an invite to spring training with the Houston Astros this year - while he was hunting ducks. The third-round pick recounts growing up an Astros fan and the experience of getting his invite.

"About 3:30 p.m., birds [were] about to start coming in, [and] I was excited for that," Ferrell recalled to MLB.com Friday. "I get this text message, and I'm like, 'I don't know who this is.' Looked at it, and I was like 'Oh, I got invited to big league camp. That's pretty cool.'

"No longer was I worried about birds."

Ferrell, who racked up 162 strikeouts and 32 saves during three seasons with the Frogs, was drafted by the Astros in the third round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He pitched in 36 games for the Astros' double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi last season.

The 24-year-old from College Station, Texas, also gave high praise to TCU pitching coach Kirk Saarloos, who coincidentally played for the Astros in the early 2000s.

"He's the best pitching coach in the country," Ferrell told reporters.

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