Carolina notes: Wilson dreams big

Well-rounded Keys hurler has aspirations beyond baseball

By Jeff Seidel / Special to | August 15, 2012 6:31 AM ET

Tyler Wilson's big dream is to become a Major League pitcher. But if that doesn't work out, or when his career ends, the Frederick Keys right-hander has a few other options.

The Orioles drafted Wilson in the 10th-round of the 2011 Draft out of the University of Virginia, and his professional career is off to a good start. He's 6-5 with a 3.43 ERA for the Keys this season and has taken off lately, striking out 24 without walking a batter in his last four starts.

Wilson earned a degree in biology at UVa with hopes of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. But Wilson's giving pro ball a shot first.

"When I dream, I dream big," Wilson said. "I knew I wanted to pursue both of those options."

The 22-year-old's teammates know about his medical goals -- his nickname is Doc -- but his pitching was quite good in 2011 as well. He had a 1.91 ERA in eight starts at two levels.

This year, Wilson started with Delmarva in Class A ball and went 3-3 with 5.06 ERA before moving up to Frederick and making some needed adjustments that helped him find success at a higher level.

"The game stays the game, but your personal game needs to improve at each level," Wilson said. "I take it day by day. It's a long season. As of right now, I feel like I'm hitting my stride, knock on wood. Most importantly, it's just to be able to throw strikes and command the zone."

He did that throughout his career at Virginia, where Wilson shined in the starting rotation, out of the bullpen and in the classroom. Wilson pitched for four years and earned spots in the school's top 10 for victories and strikeouts. He played a big role during his senior year when the Cavaliers won 56 games and earned a spot in the College World Series.

In addition, Wilson won the 2011 Lowe's Senior Class Award. The award is given each year to the most outstanding student-athlete in NCAA Division I baseball, based on a vote of head coaches, national media and fans.

Even though making the Majors is Wilson's first goal, it's not the only thing in his life right now. He still lives in Charlottesville in the offseason, training there in the morning and often going to work as a substitute teacher with special-needs children in the afternoon.

"He's one of those players that you don't have an opportunity to coach very often," said Virginia coach Brian O'Connor. "He's got high goals for not only baseball but his life after baseball. ... He's got everything in perspective."

In brief

Walk-off squeeze: Lynchburg's Nick Ahmed laid down a perfect squeeze bunt in the 11th inning Monday, scoring Matt Weaver with the winning run and giving the Hillcats a 6-5 victory over Myrtle Beach. It was the second time this season the Hillcats have won on a walk-off squeeze play.

Close to cycling: Winston-Salem's Michael Earley nearly hit for the cycle in Sunday's 7-0 win over Potomac. He collected two singles, a double and a triple in a 4-for-4 performance that also included two runs scored and an RBI.

Dash gem: Scott Snodgress combined with two relievers on a one-hitter as Winston-Salem whitewashed Potomac, 6-0, on Friday. Snodgress, who gave up a leadoff double in the second, struck out five and walked one over six innings. Terance Marin and Taylor Thompson completed the gem, combining to fan five P-Nats batters without yielding a hit or walk over the final three frames.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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