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The Gary SouthShore RailCats announced the claiming of left-handed pitcher Ryan Thurston off waivers from the Chicago Dogs before Sunday’s rubber game vs. the Sioux Falls Canaries. In order to make room for Thurston on the 23-man active roster, the ‘Cats placed utility man Morgan Blatnik on irrevocable waivers.

Thurston opened the season on the 7-Day Disabled List with Chicago before getting activated on May 21st. In two appearances with the Dogs, the Madison, Ind., native went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. In three innings pitched, Thurston yielded just two hits and a walk while striking out one.

Thurston signed his first professional baseball contract with the Toronto Blue Jays as an undrafted free agent on June 7, 2018, following his redshirt-senior season at Western Kentucky University. Thurston appeared in 13 games between the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays (Rookie Affiliate) and the Bluefield Blue Jays (Rookie Affiliate) of the Appalachian League, going 1-2 with a 0.87 ERA. In 31 innings pitched, Thurston allowed seven runs (three earned) on 15 hits, eight walks and one hit batsman while striking out 37 batters.

Over five seasons at Western Kentucky University, Thurston currently ranks second in program history with 299 strikeouts, third with 52 starts and fifth with 306.2 innings pitched. As a redshirt-senior in 2018, Thurston went 4-6 with a 4.24 ERA and a career-high 80.2 innings pitched in 15 games (14 starts).

As a redshirt-junior in 2017, Thurston went 4-6 with a 6.28 ERA in 14 starts. In a team-high 77.1 innings pitched, Thurston allowed 61 runs (54 earned) on 82 hits and 42 walks while striking out a career-best 93 batters. As a redshirt-sophomore in 2016, Thurston went 3-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 15 games (14 starts). In 79 innings, the southpaw allowed 40 runs (37 earned) on 75 hits and 47 walks while striking out 79 batters.

Thurston went 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in nine games (three starts) as a sophomore in 2015 before receiving a medical redshirt after the season. In 36 innings, Thurston allowed 27 runs (24 earned) on 39 hits and 19 walks while striking out 19 batters. As a true freshman in 2014, Thurston went 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 13 games (four starts). In 33 innings, the left-hander allowed eight runs on 20 hits and 20 walks while striking out 21 batters.

Thurston attended Madison High School before attending WKU and played both baseball basketball. Thurston was a three-time All-Conference selection and named to the All-State Honorable Mention Team as a senior in baseball.

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