Former QU ace Spraker earns victory out of bullpen for Great Britain in World Baseball Classic

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Former Quincy University right-hander Graham Spraker is pitching for Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic. Spraker retired eight batters in a row Monday and earned the victory in relief as Great Britain beat Colombia 7-5 at Chase Field in Phoenix. | Photo courtesy Phrake Photography

QUINCY — The Fox Sports 2 broadcast team handling the play-by-play of Monday’s World Baseball Classic matchup between Colombia and Great Britain pointed out multiple times the number of professional scouts in attendance.

If any are looking for a right-handed reliever, Graham Spraker may have piqued their interest.

The former Quincy University ace came out of the bullpen for Great Britain and retired eight of the nine batters he faced over 2 ⅔ innings while earning the victory in a 7-5 win at Chase Field in Phoenix that was the first for Great Britain in its first-ever appearance in the international competition. Great Britain had lost its first two games in pool play.

Colombia led 1-0 in the fourth inning and had the bases loaded after three consecutive one-out walks by Great Britain starter Tyler Viza, which forced Great Britain manager Drew Spencer to call on the bullpen.

Enter Spraker.

He allowed a two-run single to Colombia’s Dayan Frias before a strikeout and a groundout ended the inning. He retired the next six batters in order, striking out Oscar Mercado to end the sixth inning. With Great Britain leading 5-3 on the strength of Jaden Rudd’s two-run double in the fifth, Spraker became the pitcher of record.

He earned the victory when Colombia failed to rally in the final three innings as Great Britain’s Ian Gibaut got a groundout and a strikeout with a runner on second base to end the game.

Spraker threw 41 pitches with 23 for strikes in his first WBC appearance.

A 31st round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017, Spraker spent his entire professional career in the Blue Jays organization, reaching Triple-A Buffalo last season. He was released by the Bisons in August, and on February 4, he signed a free-agent minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays and was assigned to the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits.

This spring, Spraker received a non-roster invitation to the Rays’ training camp and made two relief appearances lasting two total innings with three strikeouts before leaving camp for the World Baseball Classic. He will rejoin the Rays once the World Baseball Classic ends.

Spraker, who won 22 games during his QU career that lasted from 2014-17, was eligible to pitch for Great Britain because his mother, Mae, was born in Hong Kong when it was under British rule. Because his mother had the documentation needed, he was able to qualify to play for Great Britain under the WBC’s lineage rules.

Former Quincy University hurler Graham Spraker is pitching in the World Baseball Classic for Great Britain. | Photo courtesy Phrake Photography

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