Where Are They Now?
By Ned Colegrove
Aidan Francis, a former GSU fireballer originally from Newcastle, Australia, is back Down Under and off to a strong start in his professional career with the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League.
In his 10 appearances during the 45-game season, Francis had 42 strikeouts and just nine walks over 54.1 innings. For his efforts, he was named the League's Rookie of the year. He also was named the ABL's Pitcher of the Week Nov. 29 after picking up back-to-back wins.
The left-hander earned the honor after blanking the Adelaide Bite with eight strikeouts over eight shutout innings on Nov. 26 to earn his first professional victory, a 5-0 Sydney triumph.
"I remember growing up, I would go to games in the old professional league, so being part of developing the new ABL is somewhat surreal and is a great privilege," Francis said.
The original ABL folded in 1999 but was resurrected in 2009 with help from Major League Baseball. The league is now the country's premier baseball organization.
Francis compiled a 16-6 record at GSU from 2009-11, the fifth-best winning percentage (.727) in school history. He stands in the top 10 of four different GSU career categories, including eighth in strikeouts with 178. His 16 wins are the fourth-most all-time at GSU.
Francis earned third-team all-Colonial Athletic Association honors in 2009 and 2010.
His former head coach is thrilled to see Francis continue his career.
"Getting the chance to play a high level of baseball in his home country is very special," said Panthers head coach Greg Frady. "It took something extra for him to come play here for us and we sincerely appreciated his effort at GSU."