Creath puts aside engineering for baseball

Batavia Muckdogs pitcher Brandon Creath has an unusual background for a professional ballplayer.

A list of notable alumni from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University includes astronauts and distinguished, high-ranking military officials.

Baseball players? Not as much.

As a 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-handed pitcher from the baseball farm known as the state of California, Batavia Muckdogs' pitcher Brandon Creath attended Embry-Riddle to study aerospace engineering.

Embry-Riddle is nation's leader in aviation and aerospace engineering and competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Sure, it's not the Southeastern Conference or the Pac-12, but Embry-Riddle allowed Creath the opportunity to pursue both of his passions: baseball and aerospace engineering.

"I always enjoyed technical things when I was growing up, and I was always decent at math," he said. "So I figured I would give it a shot."

A native of Santa Maria, Calif., Creath always wanted a career playing professional baseball. Starting out at Allan Hancock Community College, the now-23-year-old decided to weigh academic interests along with his baseball aspirations. As a junior reliever, he put up a 3.15 ERA in 13 appearances while striking out 37 in 40 innings.

Creath studied everything from differential equations to physics to statics at Embry-Riddle, but he didn't finish his degree. Instead, he jumped at the chance to play professional baseball. He was drafted by the Cardinals in the 44th round in 2011.

Aerospace engineering is a fallback plan for Creath, as the sport is his primary career focus.

"To be honest, I'm going to go as far as I can with baseball," he said. "I definitely want to play baseball for as long as I can and keep going no matter what happens."

Creath started his career in rookie ball in 2011 putting up a 2.05 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. In 2012, he began in Quad Cities but scuffled, allowing nine earned runs in 18 1/3 innings.

He was subsequently sent to extended spring training from Quad Cities – something he calls a "blessing" because it allowed him to work on important aspects of his pitching.

Now in Batavia, he hasn't allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings with 15 strikeouts.

With rocket science in the background – baseball is Creath's present, despite any existing uncertainty.

"I'm not really worried about going back and getting a bachelor's degree at this point because all I want to do is be on the field and play," he said. "There's always speculation about what can and can't happen.

"But I love this game. This is absolutely what I want to do."

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