Two WCL Alums Earn Rings in Rookie Seasons for SF

Former Corvallis Knights infielder Matt Duffy and catcher Andrew Susac helped the San Francisco Giants capture their third World Series title in five years. Both rookies contributed late in the season and during the playoffs.

During the World Series, Duffy was featured in a New York Times article titled “A Giants Rookie’s Rise, Just a Bit Cartoonish”. Matt played for the Corvallis Knights following his freshman season at Long Beach State in 2010. Duffy hit .256 over 129 WCL at bats with 6 doubles, a homer and 8 RBIs; earning the slick-fielding shortstop second-team all-WCL honors.

Susac starred at Oregon State and was named the West Coast League’s top prospect in 2009 by Baseball America. He caught for the Corvallis Knights club that posted the league’s best regular-season mark at 38-10. Andrew made his major league debut vs. Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers on May 22 and hit .273 with 3 HRs and 19 RBIs in his rookie season.

In game two of the NLCS, Susac delivered a clutch ninth-inning pinch-hit single to start a rally that Duffy finished as Susac’s pinch-runner, as Matt scored from second base with two outs on a wild pitch that tied the game at 4-4. His exploit was featured on MLB.com’s Statcast: Duffy’s dash home adds to LCS intrigue.

Matt also delivered a big pinch-hit single in game four of the World Series, and scored on Buster Posey’s two-out single to cut the Royals’ lead to 4-2 to start San Francisco’s comeback at AT&T Park. The Giants would win game four 11-4 to even the series, and game seven 3-2 at KC to win its 8th championship in team history, and third in five years.

Duffy described his teammates as “gritty” and attributed his club’s success to “well-played never say die baseball, a clinic on how to play the game.”

When asked to note his favorite post-season moments, Matt said, “every celebration was a huge highlight, but Ishikawa’s walk-off home run to send us to the World Series was my personal favorite.”

Matt, nicknamed the “Duffman”, made his big league debut at Citi Field in New York vs. the Mets on August 1st. He hit .267 for the season as a rookie.

The Long Beach native said his most memorable regular-season moment was during the pennant race versus Arizona at Chase Field on September 17th when he delivered a game-winning two-run pinch-hit single in the 9th-inning.

“It was great to be on a winning team, but being able to contribute made it so much sweeter,” said Duffy about his big hit against the Diamondbacks.

Duffy grew tremendously during his freshman and sophomore summer college seasons with the Knights and in the Cape Cod League. He excelled against top competition and with wood bats.

“My summers in college really allowed me to familiarize myself with wood bats; and also showed me how much talent was out there because up to that point I hadn’t played out of California for any extended period, and it made me realize how hard I would have to work to get to where I wanted to go, which was professional baseball and ultimately the major leagues,” said Duffy.

“My summer with the Knights was my first experience with playing every day, and learning to cope with the grueling travel and an inconsistent sleep and eating schedule that comes with professional baseball.”