Brooklyn infielder Nick Sergakis made his pro debut playing on the losing end of a Cyclone’s no-hitter — not that it bothers him.
“There’s hundreds of thousands of guys that would trade anything to make that professional debut and get no-hit,” he said. “So it’s a pretty awesome experience that’s been a long time coming.”
He was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat, which isn’t exactly a grand opening, but did remind him of Jason Kendall, the former Pirates catcher who is fifth on the all-time list for being hit by pitches.
“Jason Kendall was a warrior to me, and that’s how I’ve always been, just been a gladiator on the ball field, giving up my body for the team,” Sergakis said.
In his senior year at Ohio State, he was hit by 17 pitches, the second-most in the Big 10.
Sergakis, a 23rd round draft pick, wants to be a spark plug to the Cyclones in the image of Red Sox second baseman and most-valuable player winner Dustin Pedroia.
“I play the game like him, just a total dirtbag,” he said. “There’s no bigger compliment to me than when I hear somebody call me a dirtbag on the ball field. I think that’s awesome.”
His game is like Pedroia’s, but his favorite player growing up was not similar at all.
“This shaped the player I am now and also hurt my career, but I was a huge Mark McGwire fan,” Sergakis said of the slugger who crushed 583 career home runs. “I was a left-handed hitter, and when I was nine, 10 years old, I wanted to be like Mark, so I switched to the right side, thinking that I was going to grow up and be a big dude, big masher. Little did I know I was going to be a 5-foot-8 infielder.”
Sergakis played at second base for the Clones, but coach Tom Gamboa has options with the versatile Buckeye. Baseball America listed him as the best Big 10 defensive third baseman.
In Sunday’s 2–1 win over Tri-City, Sergakis fielded the final out and threw the ball to Darryl Knight at first for Brooklyn’s first win in nine months. And it happened in front of the home fans at MCU Park.
“This is probably the coolest park that I have ever had the pleasure of playing in,” Sergakis said. “Just everything going on. I’ve played in some good ballparks just as far as surface and how it’s kept — I played in TD Ameritrade this spring — but there’s nothing like having a coaster going on in the background, music playing all the time, beach, fireworks during the game. It’s just an awesome experience, and I’m so happy that this is where I get to play ball, especially since the fans are so good here.”