Former Forsyth Central pitcher Andrew Gist will transfer from Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tenn., to the University of Georgia, starting this fall.
“I’d be crazy not to take this opportunity,” Gist said. “They gave me a really reasonable offer and it’s close to home. It’s where I want to be. It definitely feels like the right fit.”
Gist spent two seasons at Walters State, taking the junior college rout over local Division II schools for the program’s winning reputation. In 2015, Walters State went to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s JUCO World Series, finishing in third place.
In 2014-15, Gist started 16 games, finishing with an 8-2 record and an ERA of 3.45 in 88 2/3 innings pitched. He had 92 strikeouts against 24 walks and was named to the NJCAA first-team.
“Now that I look back, I couldn’t have picked a better place and program to be at. It was great to me the last few years,” Gist said.
Now that he’s heading to the Southeastern Conference, which includes College World Series competitors from the last few weeks in Vanderbilt—the 2014 national champions—and LSU, Gist took some time to reflect on his former competition.
“I knew going the JUCO route would have some difficulties,” Gist said. “You don’t really get a lot of the perks of being at a big-time program, but (Walters State) has a great program for what it is. It’s known for getting people where they want to go in baseball. Financially it helped because it was so cheap. It really seemed like the best option, and now I’m taking the next step.”
Gist will look to replenish Georgia’s pitching staff with the departure of a few top arms, as well as build toward a pro career.
“Georgia was really honest with me and my recruitment,” Gist said. “Coach (Scott) Stricklin was honest. What they told me they’d do with me is what they’ve done to this point, and coach (Fred) Corral has gotten a lot of pitchers to the next level.”
Georgia had five pitchers selected in the Major League Baseball Draft two weeks ago, including Ryan Lawlor and Sean McLaughlin by the Atlanta Braves.
When asked of being drafted was part of his plan, Gist simply stated “absolutely.”
Georgia’s baseball program went 26-28 in 2015 with an SEC mark of 10-19.
Gist, a left-handed thrower, says his location control will help out the Bulldogs on the mound.
“My biggest thing is location,” he said. “Most pitches I throw, I throw exactly where I want them. I need to improve my velocity and get better with my off-speed pitches.”