Fuller pitches Tigers to World Series, earns ESPN time
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

     Led by a Logan Countian, Campbellsville University will make its first-ever trip to the NAIA Baseball World Series. The Tigers punched their ticket by beating Kansas Wesleyan 4-0 in Missouri Friday.
     Riding the pitching arm of senior hurler Bryan Fuller, who threw 21 consecutive scoreless innings in a 26-hour span, the Tigers won three straight games. The Lewisburg native pitched the last three innings against host Lindenwood University on Thursday afternoon, nine against Kansas Wesleyan Thursday evening in an 11-0 shutout, and nine in the 4-0 win Friday afternoon.
     Fuller threw more than 225 pitches in the two-day span. In the two games against Wesleyan, Fuller gave up no runs on 12 hits. He struck out 15.
     His ironman work was so impressive that Fuller was featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter Sunday. Now the network has announced plans to feature him at 10 p.m. Thursday before the Tigers’ World Series opener at 10:30. a.m. Friday at Lewis and Clark College in Lewiston, Idaho.
     Fuller, who graduated from Campbellsville May 9 with a degree in accounting, was an Academic All-American last year and is expected to repeat in that role this year.
     He is the son of Hope Strode and Tony Fuller of Logan County.
     The following is a press release from the Campbellsville Sports Information office:
      Bryan Fuller used to be a solid bullpen pitcher whose arm the Campbellsville University Tigers could depend on in important games. Today, even though he’s still a dependable force out of the pen, he’s the face of the Tigers, having become a national television, YouTube, blog celebrity after his 21 innings-in-26-hours performance last week in the Super Regional in Lindenwood, Mo.
     But Fuller was taking it all in stride Tuesday as his team gathered for one last home practice before heading to Indianapolis for a flight to Lewiston, Idaho and their first-ever appearance in the Avista NAIA World series.
     But Tuesday he had to prepare himself for an interview with well-know SportsCenter reporter Jeremy Schaap.
     Schapp flew in from New York along with a production crew and watched two hours of fielding and batting practice and then interviewed Fuller and head coach Beauford Sanders.
     The team seemed to be taking it all in stride as well, like an ESPN reporter shows up every day at practice.
     One player joked that Schaap was working on his new movie, The Bryan Fuller Story, with Fuller playing himself and Brad Pitt playing the role of pitching coach Scott Hortness.
     "It's interesting because he pitched so well and now they're going to the World Series," Schaap said.
     When folks at ESPN first heard about Fuller pitching 21 innings in a two-day span they thought the worst. That the coaching staff didn't care about their players' well being.
     "That was our first thought," said Tina Cerbone, an ESPN producer. "We found out different after we talked to them."
     Schaap was looking forward to the piece because he loves the amateur, innocent side of sports.
     "We're dealing with a pure amateur here," Schaap said before the interview, which was conducted along the first-base line at the Tiger baseball field. "It's just a nice story about something we don't hear about that often."
     Cerbone said the piece should air on Thursday during the 10 p.m. SportsCenter broadcast.
     "It's all good," said a smiling Sanders as he watched his players take batting practice.
     When asked if he thought he'd ever see Jeremy Schaap in Campbellsville, he said: "I can honestly say that thought never crossed my mind."
     Campbellsville was to leave to catch its flight at noon, but Schaap's interview spilled over into the noon hour and then Mayor Brenda Allen and Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers showed up, along with several university staff, to proclaimed May 22 "Campbellsville University Tigers Baseball Day."
     Fuller's individual accomplishment could well overshadow the body of work of  an entire team-a  squad that had just won its first region title and berth in the World Series.
But the players were savvy enough to know that what has become good for Bryan Fuller was good for the whole team, the school and the community.
     The ESPN production crew were presented baseball-style caps from Director of Athletics Rusty Hollingsworth and the audio man said he'd be wearing his while working the Indianapolis 500 this weekend.
     You can go out and purchase all kinds of advertising and marketing material, but what Bryan Fuller did in 21 innings was put Campbellsville on a lot of people's maps.
     And the coach said it certainly would help recruiting.

If only they could have talked Schaap into wearing a university T-shirt during the interview. That would have brought it full circle.

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