Garrett Boulware signs with Reds, makes pro debut at Billings, Montana

Anderson native starts behind the plate, delivered RBI double in Pioneer League opener

Clemson's NCAA Regional Tournament game against Xavier at Vanderbilt University's Hawkins Field  in Nashville - Garrett Boulware

Clemson's NCAA Regional Tournament game against Xavier at Vanderbilt University's Hawkins Field in Nashville - Garrett Boulware

His Clemson career behind him, Garrett Boulware made his professional debut Monday night with the Billings (Montana) Mustangs of the short-season Pioneer League.

Drafted in the 16th round of the Major League draft by the Cincinnati Reds, the Anderson native and T.L. Hanna graduate made his opening game a successful one, as he started behind the plate and delivered a two-out RBI double in Billings' 7-4 loss to Great Falls.

Monday's game was the Pioneer League opener.

Boulware joins several of the Reds' draft picks on the Mustangs' roster, including third-rounder Wyatt Strahan, a pitcher from Southern California, Brian O'Grady, a first baseman from Rutgers who was picked in the eighth round, and 10th-rounder Seth Varner, a pitcher from Miami of Ohio.

After seeing limited action as a Clemson freshman in 2012, Boulware emerged as one of the Tigers' mainstays over the past two seasons.

He led the team in home runs as a sophomore with eight, claimed the Mitchell Award as the Tigers' most valuable player, and earned a spot on the Johnny Bench Award Watch List.

He participated in the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby last July at Omaha, Nebraska, and was named as one of Clemson's co-captains for 2014. He split time behind the plate with freshman Chris Okey, and also played left field.

Boulware is the third Clemson junior to sign with a professional team, joining Daniel Gossett and Jay Baum. The Tigers also lost signees Michael Chavis and Austin DeCarr to the draft.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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