Retriever Alum Zach Clark Reports to Spring Training with the Baltimore Orioles

Retriever Alum Zach Clark
Retriever Alum Zach Clark

SARASOTA, Fla. – UMBC baseball alum Zach Clark (Newark, Del.) has reported to Spring Training with the Baltimore Orioles, along with the organization's other pitchers and catchers.  The Orioles first workout for pitchers and catchers will take place on Wednesday, Feb 13, at the team's training facility at Ed Smith Stadium.

Clark, a 2006 UMBC graduate, received his invitation to Spring Training after earning a spot on the organization's 40-man roster back in October.  The right-hander split time last year between the Orioles' Double-A affiliate, the Bowie Baysox, and the Triple-A affiliate, the Norfolk Tides.

"Our team couldn't be more excited for Zach to be on the Orioles' 40-man roster and go to his first full camp with the big league club," said second-year head coach and UMBC alum Bob Mumma.  "It's exciting for our program to see a guy who has worked tremendously hard to get the opportunity to pitch at the highest level."

After signing with Baltimore in 2006 as an undrafted free agent, Clark played at nearly every level of minor league ball before breaking out last season.  Starting the 2012 season with Bowie, but also making a few spot starts in Norfolk, Clark won ten of his first 15 decisions while recording a 3.19 ERA, and earning a spot on the Double-A Eastern League All-Star team in early July.  The righty continued his success after the All-Star Game and received a promotion to the Triple-A squad in August.

The Retriever alum's hard work continued to pay off at the next level, as Clark went 5-2 with a 1.75 ERA in seven starts for the Tides.  His last game of the year was also his best game of the year, when he threw a three-hit, complete game shutout of the rival Gwinnett Braves on Aug. 31 at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Va.

Clark is just the third Retriever in UMBC school history to make a major league 40-man roster, following in the footsteps of Jay Witasick (Bel Air, Md.) and Wayne Franklin (Wilmington, Del.).  Witasick pitched for seven different clubs during a 12-year career while Franklin threw for five clubs over a seven-year span.

Clark competed at UMBC from 2002 until 2006, when he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Orioles.  While with the Retrievers, Clark made 41 starts, the third-highest total in school history, while also striking out 171 batters, the sixth-highest total for the Retrievers.  In his senior year, the right-hander went 1-6 while posting a career-best 3.86 ERA.  Following the season, Clark earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from UMBC.

The Orioles' position players will report to Sarasota on Thursday, Feb. 14, with the first full-team workout scheduled for the following day.  Baltimore opens its 2013 Grapefruit League schedule at home at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 23 against the Minnesota Twins.  First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m.