The Daily Gamecock

Former Gamecock Jonah Bride makes MLB debut, collects first hit

<p>Former South Carolina third baseman Jonah Bride makes a throw across the diamond to first base. Bride made his MLB debut for the Oakland Athletics on June 15, 2022.&nbsp;</p>
Former South Carolina third baseman Jonah Bride makes a throw across the diamond to first base. Bride made his MLB debut for the Oakland Athletics on June 15, 2022. 

Former Gamecock Jonah Bride made his long-awaited MLB debut with the Oakland Athletics on June 14, 2022, against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. 

Bride played third base for South Carolina for three seasons from 2016-2018. During his time, Bride had a .289 batting average and a .395 on-base percentage. 

Bride was drafted in the 23rd round by the Athletics in June 2018. 

Due to him being drafted late, Bride was not a top-ranked prospect for most of his minor league career. However, at the beginning of this season, he found himself sitting as the 26th-ranked prospect in the Athletics’ system. All the more impressive when considering the MLB draft now only lasts 20 rounds.

Bride's athleticism and versatility allowed him to play multiple different positions including third base, first base, second base and left field. He even learned how to play catcher to help his chances of reaching the majors. This showcased versatility across the diamond and earned Bride the description of "super utility" by MLB.

In his journey to the major leagues, Bride found immense success at the plate. For his minor league career, he had a .283 BA with a .388 OBP. 

After getting drafted in 2018, Bride was named to the Athletics Organization All-Stars as a third baseman. 

Ed Sprague, director of player development, said, “He's driving balls all around the yard, playing outstanding defense” in a November 2018 interview.

In 2022, he played only 33 games at the minor league level — 19 at AA and 14 at AAA. In AA, Bride had a .315 BA and a .402 OBP. Perhaps more impressively, he had a .392 BA and a .500 OBP in AAA. This recent success at the AA and AAA levels propelled a struggling Athletics team to call up Bride to play his college position of third base. 

Bride was hitless in his first game, but wasted no time collecting his first MLB knock the next day. He lined a sharp ground ball through the Red Sox infield to fellow Gamecock Jackie Bradley Jr for a single.

“It’s great to get that out of the way, a huge accomplishment for sure,” Bride said in a post-game interview with MLB reporter Molly Burkhardt. 

Athletics manager Mark Kotsay said, “It was great to see him get his first Major League hit. Big moment for Jonah, happy for him,” in an interview with Burkhardt.

In the following days during a series against the Kansas City Royals in Oakland, Bride showed everybody what he could do defensively. During an afternoon game, Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi attempted to lay down a bunt that resulted in a weak pop fly behind the pitcher, Cole Irvin. Bride immediately raced towards the ball and laid out to make an impressive diving catch to end the fifth inning. 

Bride's first RBI came against Royals pitcher Brad Keller. Bride squared up a 95 mph fastball that Keller left over the middle of the plate and smacked it through the infield into center field, scoring the second baseman Nick Allen. Bride's RBI served as a bit of a cushion for the Athletics as they went on to win the game 9-7. 

Jonah Bride’s MLB debut makes him the eighth South Carolina alum currently in the majors, joining Jackie Bradley Jr., Whit Merrifield, Wil Crowe, Jordan Montgomery, Clarke Schmidt, Christian Walker and Max Schrock.