Former Centurion makes MLB debut  

Jacob Lopez (33) of College of the Canyons throws a pitch during a game against Antelope Valley College on Thursday, April 5, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Former Saugus Centurion and College of the Canyons Cougar Jacob Lopez got his first taste of action in the majors Monday night.  

Lopez was called up to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday after 13 games with the Durham Bulls. The left-handed pitcher was sent to the mound the very same day and was tasked with finishing off the San Francisco Giants, the team that drafted him in the 26th round of the 2018 MLB draft. 

The Rays pitcher tossed three innings in his debut, allowing one run, three hits and no walks with two strikeouts. He started strong after forcing back-to-back outs but got into a bases-loaded jam. The former Cougar kept his cool and struck out Wade Meckler to end the inning.  

Lopez came out hot in the eighth and again retired his first two opponents. He surrendered his first MLB run to Michael Conforto off an RBI double from Thairo Estrada. Lopez then finished off his next four opponents and threw a perfect ninth inning. 

The former Centurion replaced a former Hart Indian on the mound, as the American League’s Pitcher of the Month for July, Tyler Glasnow, made the start for the Rays. Glasnow notched his sixth win of the year with a six-inning, three-hit and seven-strikeout performance.  

Lopez had spent several years in the minors before Monday’s callup. The lefty had bounced around a handful of teams and levels after being drafted out of COC in 2018. 

At Saugus, Lopez finished 4-4 in 11 starts in his senior year. The ace racked up 74 strikeouts while bolstering an ERA of 1.50.  

Lopez now joins the Rays (72-49) at the perfect time. Tampa Bay ranks second in the American League with a +147 run differential but sits three games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the race for the AL East division crown. 

The former Centurion now joins the ranks of local pitchers shining in the majors alongside Glasnow, Jake Bird and Scott Barlow. 

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