Former NIACC player, Minnesota native to make major league debut Tuesday for Reds

(ABC 6 News) – A former pitcher for North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) in Mason City is scheduled to make their major league debut Tuesday for the Cincinnati Reds.

Brandon Williamson, 25, from Fairmont, Minn., and who pitched for the NIACC Trojans in 2017-2018, was called up to the Reds from Triple-A Louisville and will be the starting pitcher versus the Colorado Rockies in Denver. The game is scheduled to start at 7:40 p.m. CT.

Williamson will be the first NIACC player to play in the major leagues.

The 6-foot-6 inch lefty has spent the 2023 season with the Triple-A Louisville Bats. He has compiled a 2-4 record with 27 strikeouts and 20 walks in 34 innings pitched this season. He has started eight games for the Bats this season with a 6.62 earned run average.

“After April I looked back and said, wow, my stats suck, but I do feel pretty good,” Williamson was quoted as saying in the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I think that people, coaches around me saw some things moving in the right way even though the results weren’t coming at all.

“Then the last few starts, it all started just gelling together. I feel really confident and really comfortable with being here now.”

The Reds, who are 18-23 and in fourth place in the National League Central, are seeking a starting pitcher in their rotation after Nick Lodolo, Williamson’s college teammate at TCU, went on the 15-day injured list with a calf injury that will sideline him for at least a month.

Williamson, who attended Martin County West High School in Sherburn, Minn., was a 36th round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2018 MLB Draft, but chose to attend TCU.

At TCU in 2019, Williamson was an honorable mention all-Big 12 selection. He was 4-5 with a 4.10 earned run average in 77 1/3 innings pitched with 89 strikeouts and 36 walks.

While at NIACC, Williamson won 12 games and is the school’s career strikeout leader with 151.

“I went to NIACC with no scholarship,” Williamson said in August of 2022. “It was just kind of a chance piece. I owe (former NIACC head coach) Travis Hergert a lot.

“He saw something that could possibly happen and is happening now. It allowed me to work hard and to grow and to be with the right people to help me get me where I am now.”

“He wasn’t a big velo guy, but he threw strikes,” Hergert said. “He was left-handed, he was 6-6 and showed some athleticism.”

And now Tuesday night, the former NIACC walk-on will make his MLB debut.