GARY, IND. — The Gary SouthShore RailCats signed left-handed pitch Seth Hougesen to his first professional baseball contract and re-signed Michigan City, Ind., native Robbie Coursel before Sunday’s series finale vs. the Kansas City T-Bones. In order to make room for Hougesen and Coursel on the 23-man active roster, the RailCats traded infielder Chase Dawson to the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League, and placed right-handed pitcher Kaleb Fontenot on irrevocable waivers.
Hougesen started for Gary in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Kansas City and tossed four scoreless innings in his pro debut. The left-hander yielded just two walks and a hit and struck out one in a no-decision. Coursel also appeared in Sunday’s contest, allowing one run on three hits and a walk while striking two over 2.2 innings of relief.
Hougesen recently completed his senior season at Delta State University and went 9-0 with three complete games (one shutout) in 14 appearances (10 starts). In 59 innings pitched, the southpaw allowed 20 runs (16 earned) on 51 hits and 14 walks while striking out 55.
A native of Indianapolis, Ind., Hougesen transferred to Delta State as a junior in 2018, and went 2-1 with a 5.60 ERA in 12 games (eight starts). In 35.1 innings, Hougesen allowed 26 runs (22 earned) on 40 hits and 22 walks while striking out 39.
In 2017, Hougesen was named National Junior College (NJCAA) National Pitcher of the Year at Dyersburg State Community College after going 14-1 with a 1.49 ERA. In 92.1 innings pitched, the southpaw struck out 107 batters and allowed just 74 hits and 35 walks.
Prior to attending Dyersburg State Community College, Hougesen attended Concordia University—Wisconsin for his freshman year in 2016. Hougesen was named to the Honorable Mention All-Northern Athletics Conference Team and the NACC All-Freshman Team after going 3-3 with one complete game and a 3.35 ERA in nine games (eight starts). In 40. 1 innings pitched, the left-hander allowed 19 runs (15 earned) on 42 hits and nine walks while striking out 38.
Coursel began the season with Gary and was 2-2 with an 8.69 ERA in his eight games (three starts). In 19.2 innings, Coursel allowed 21 runs (19 earned) on 25 hits and 11 walks while striking out 12 batters.
Coursel threw 2.2 scoreless innings of relief in the RailCats home opener back on May 21st vs. Sioux City and recorded his first professional win on May 25th vs. Sioux Falls after allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks while striking out three over three innings out of the bullpen. Coursel recorded his second straight win in his first professional start on May 31st against Kansas City. The right-hander tossed a career-high five scoreless innings and yielded just two hits and a walk while striking out five.
Coursel began his Independent Professional Baseball (IPBF) career with Gary in 2018 after signing with the ‘Cats on August 13th. In five relief appearances, Coursel went 0-0 with one hold and a 9.45 ERA.
Prior to playing with Gary in 2018 and 2019, Coursel was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 26th round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Florida Atlantic University. Coursel was assigned to the Bristol Pirates of the Appalachian League (Rookie Affiliate) and finished the year 0-3 with a 4.26 ERA in 15 relief outings.
Dawson slashed .237/.375/.395/.770 with three runs, nine hits, two doubles, two triples, 10 RBIs a hit by pitch and a stolen base in 13 games with Gary. A native of Chesterton, Ind., Dawson signed his first professional baseball contract with Gary on June 11th following his senior season at Valparaiso University and went 1-for-2 with two walks, an RBI, and a double that night vs. Winnipeg in his pro debut. Dawson had his best pro game the very next day, going 3-for-3 with five RBIs, two triples, two runs and a walk.
Dawson was named Second Team All-Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) in 2019 as a senior after leading the Crusaders with a team-high .324 batting average, 39 runs and five triples. Dawson also finished tied for the team lead with 55 hits and posted a .390 on-base percentage, .506 slugging percentage, nine doubles, four home runs, 28 RBIs, six stolen bases and a .959 fielding percentage.
Dawson attended Andrean High School and won back-to-back Indiana High School State Championships in baseball in 2013 and 2014. Dawson also lettered in both soccer and football and recorded the second-most hits in a single-season at Andrean.
Fontenot went 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 games (three starts) with Gary. In 24 innings pitched, Fontenot allowed 17 runs (12 earned) on 24 hits and six walks on 18 strikeouts. Fontenot had his best performance in his last start against Milwaukee on Wednesday. The right-handed tossed a career-high 5.1 shutout innings, yielding just two hits and a walk while striking out five in his first IPBF win. Fontenot signed his first IPBF contract with Gary on April 29th and recorded a hold in his American Association debut on May 19th against Chicago.
Gary is idle on Monday before beginning their second of two 10-game road trips on Tuesday in the Lone Star State against the Texas AirHogs at 7:05 p.m. RailCats left-hander Trevor Lubking (4-3, 3.90) makes his team-high 11th start in the series opener while the AirHogs have yet to announce their starter.
Gary returns home to U.S. Steel Yard for the start of their season-long 10-game homestand on Friday, July 12th at 7:10 p.m. vs. the Cleburne Railroaders. Friday’s game is Kevin “Bacon” Night, and includes bacon themed concession specials throughout the stadium. Friday’s game is also Nurses Appreciation Night and another Fifth Third Bank Postgame Fireworks Friday.
Ticket packages for the 2019 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.