CHICAGO – Former Lipscomb standout pitcher Josh Smith is set to become the fourth Bison in school history to make his Major League Baseball debut after being called up by the Cincinnati Reds from the Louisville Bats (AAA) on Monday.
It is unknown when Smith will make his first appearance in the majors, but the former Bison will make his way to the “Windy City” as the Reds are in town to face the Chicago Cubs for a three-game series.
"Josh is one of the finest young men I have had the privilege of coaching," Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. "He is what you want your son to be. I am proud that he gets the chance to represent Lipscomb and our baseball program."
The right-hander was a 21st-round selection by the Reds in the 2010 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft after finishing fourth in the nation with 124 strikeouts during his senior season in Nashville. Smith struck out more than 100 batters in each of his final two seasons at Lipscomb and currently stands fifth all-time on the A-Sun career charts with 350 strikeouts.
He set the Lipscomb NCAA-era record with 15 punch outs in a win over ETSU in 2010. He tied that record a week later against Illinois State.
The Margate, Florida native was an All-Atlantic Sun Conference first-team selection in 2010 after going 8-4 with a 4.66 ERA and four complete games, including three straight.
Smith will be the third pitcher in the history of the Lipscomb program to take the rubber on a major-league mound. He joins Caleb Joseph (’08), Rex Brothers (’11) and Bo McLaughlin (’75) as the only Lipscomb players to make it to the majors.
Smith has consistently delivered at every level during his five-year career in the minors. After making 19 relief appearances on the mound in 2010 between Rookie and A ball, Smith became a full-time starter for the Class-A Dayton Dragons in 2011, where he earned a Midwest League All-Star selection and finished the season 14-7. He led all Class A pitchers in wins and strikeouts (166), while his 2.97 ERA ranked among the top 15 pitchers at the level.
He spent 2012 in Class-A Advanced with the Bakersfield Blaze where he finished 9-8 with a 3.80 ERA. His 140 strikeouts were fourth most in the California League.
A year later Smith moved to Double-A Pensacola where he continued his dominance by leading the Southern League in strikeouts (139). His 11 wins were second most.
In 2014 he made 24 starts for the Triple-A Louisville Bats where he posted a 10-7 record. His 123 fanned batters were the sixth most in the International League.
Overall Smith has tossed 642 innings in the minors, boasting a 46-34 record and a 3.62 ERA through 128 games. He amassed 611 career strikeouts and averaged 8.6 punch outs per nine innings pitched.
During four seasons at Lipscomb, Smith appeared in 62 games, making 50 starts. He owned a 21-17 record with a 4.69 ERA in the Purple and Gold. He threw 337.5 innings, striking out 350 and walking 170. Opponents batted .250 against the righty.