GARY, IN. 1-4-2011 – The Gary SouthShore RailCats today announced the signing of pitcher Nolan Nicholson to a 2011 contract for the RailCats inaugural season as members of the American Association.
Nicholson, 23, joined the RailCats in late June 2010 after spending most of Spring Training with the team. Initially brought on for what was supposed to be only a couple of appearances as the ‘Cats battled injuries, Nicholson stuck around long enough to impress manager Greg Tagert and spent the rest of the season as a member of the RailCats starting rotation, finishing the year with a 5-6 record to go along with a 4.87 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 85.0 innings pitched.
Despite struggling at the beginning and end of the regular season, the Fullerton, Calif. native was especially strong in the middle portion. Over the course of eight starts from July 17 to August 17, Nicholson allowed three runs or less in every outing and no more than seven hits while posting a sparkling 2.49 ERA. This impressive stretch included an eight-inning, one run, three-hit performance on July 25 in a victory over Lake County at U. S. Steel Yard. Despite running into difficultly at the end of the season, Nicholson got the start in Game Two of the Northern League Semifinals and rebounded to throw a very solid game. Although the ‘Cats ended up dropping the game to eventual Northern League Champion Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Nicholson gave the RailCats a chance to win with 5.2 strong innings allowing just four hits and two earned runs while striking out five in a 4-3 defeat.
Prior to 2010, Nicholson brought limited professional experience to the RailCats having made one previous start in the fledgling Continental League in 2009 and pitching in just six independent games over the course of 2008 and 2009. After leaving RailCats camp, Nicholson signed in early June with the Can-Am League’s Quebec Les Capitales and pitched twice in relief, firing two perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts.
A standout college player at Division III University of Redlands in California, Nicholson was a two-time All-West Region and three-time All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection for the Bulldogs. In four seasons at Redlands, Nicholson amassed a 3.41 cumulative ERA and piled up 151 strikeouts. As a junior in 2008, Nicholson set the program’s single-season wins record by notching 12 victories.
The signing of Nicholson gives the RailCats six players under contract for the 2011 season joining infielders Chris Carrara and Brian Kolb and outfielders Adam Klein, Mike Massaro and Cody McMorris. All six will be part of an at least 28-man squad when the RailCats open Spring Training on April 30 at U. S. Steel Yard.
Fan Fest 2011 is only a month away and with February 5 approaching fast, the RailCats staff is working hard to make sure this year’s convention will be the best yet. Discount tickets to this unrivaled minor league event are available now by visiting www.railcatsbaseball.com or calling the ‘Cats at 219.882.2255.