Former Panther signs with Astros

Lamar University press release

Former Lufkin Panther and Lamar University pitcher Blake Ford has signed with the Houston Astros on the same day he was drafted by the team.

Ford spent the season as the Cardinals' ace, finishing with a 6-4 record and 3.42 ERA en route to being named third-team All-SLC. The 6-foot-5 right hander from Lufkin worked 102.2 innings for the Cardinals with 78 strikeouts, four complete games and one shutout. reported Thursday that Ford signed a contract with the Astros before their game against St. Louis Wednesday night.

Ford, who was named SLC Pitcher of the Week on Apr. 11, gave the Cards an outstanding opportunity to open the SLC Tournament with a win over SFA. He allowed just two runs on seven hits over 6.2 innings of work before being pulled. Unfortunately, the Cardinals lost a 3-2 heartbreaker to the Lumberjacks.

Ford's best outing came at home in a 1-0 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as he held the Islanders to just six hits over nine innings of work. He struck out nine and walked only one in the contest.

Ford's father Rusty played professionally in the San Diego Padres' organization, including a stop with the Double-A Beaumont Golden Gators back in the early 1980s.

"It's in the genes with Blake because of his father," Gilligan said. "It seems like it was just five years ago that Rusty was playing in Beaumont and I was working with the Gators, but now it's his son who is graduating from our program."