By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– South Salem-grad Noah Ferguson definitely put pen to paper, finishing his bachelor’s degree in Finance with a minor in Economics in a mere three years. All while playing baseball at Pacific Lutheran University over that span.
A remarkable feat considering he steadily picked up innings along the way the past two years with the Lutes on the hill pitching. Defining to a ‘T’ the term ‘Student-Athlete’.
“It’s definitely a big thing for me, being able to complete my undergraduate degree in three years. Not only did it help give me this opportunity to graduate transfer to OSU (Oregon State University), it also shows the hard work and effort I put into things off the field,” Ferguson said. “It was definitely a lot of work between school and everything I wanted to do athletically. Being able to manage my time was the biggest thing in order to get home done on time, get to practice early, work on things in the weight room and make sure I was still eating and hydrating properly.
“People think athletes’ lives are a cake walk compared to other students on campus, but playing sports full-time along with everything needed for school that’s definitely not the case.”
His hard work in his preparation for baseball in the weight room, diet and his eventual performance on the diamond transformed the former skinny Saxon pitcher into a Division-III pitcher that pitched 34 innings, striking out 51 and went 4-1 with four saves in 17 games this past season for PLU. By season’s end, Ferguson received second-team All-Northwest Conference (NWC) honors in the process as a junior.
In three years Ferguson pitched in 35 total games with six starts, pitching 87-and-a-third-innings with 103 strikeouts with six saves and a 6-7 overall record as a Lute.
“Weight room was definitely a big key in helping me get better as a pitcher. Getting stronger helped me to be able to increase my velocity and different weight room movements played a huge role in me refining my mechanics over the last few years,” Ferguson starts pointing towards the mental and physical aspects of the workouts. “This last season was definitely important for me, not only in helping me be able to transfer to OSU which has been the goal since I graduated from South and went to PLY, but also to build that confidence. Believing in the process which I have been going through and trusting that process when things may not go as planned during an outing or during a bullpen. Since I will be undergoing Tommy John surgery next week, this process focused minstead is important in order to see the end goal of being able to pitch and compete on the bump again.”
While in his second outing with the Portland Pickles, Ferguson over gripped on a slider in a wet game that resulted in the elbow injury, sidelining Ferguson until next October as the target date for his return. Though he’s medically redshirting this upcoming season with the Beavers, the experience with the Pickles and the Bellingham Bells last season has also helped prepare him for the dream opportunity for when he’s cleared.
“Playing for the Bells last Summer and the Pickles at the beginning of this Summer definitely helped build confidence for me,” Ferguson said. “Playing against guys who compete at teh Division-1 and Pac-12 level and being able to compete and have success against those guys definitely helps my confidence level as a pitcher.”
Ferguson in the meantime will work towards his Master’s Program in Business Analytics as a student at Oregon State University where former Saxon teammate Ryan Brown is also a pitcher with the Beavers. OSU went 48-18 this past season where they reached the NCAA National Tournament Super Regional Round before falling to Auburn in the Best-Of-3 series.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald