Amherst graduate Ryan Rua made his major league debut Friday night, starting at first base for the Texas Rangers and going 1-for-5 with his first big league hit in a 13-6 win over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Rua, 24, had his contract purchased from Triple-A Round Rock prior to the game, with the Rangers placing infielder Jim Adduci on the seven-day concussion list.
“Being a late-round guy from a D-II college, a lot of those guys don’t get this opportunity,’’ Rua was quoted in a story on the Dallas Morning News website. “This is my lifelong dream. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.
“It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. There have been a lot of good learning experiences. It’s been a fun ride so far.’’
A 17th-round draft pick of Texas in 2011 out of Lake Erie College, Rua was batting .306 with 18 home runs and 74 RBIs in 129 games for Round Rock and Double-A Frisco this season.
“His bat is the big appeal,’’ Rangers manager Ron Washington was quoted in the same story.
The plan is to use the right-handed hitting Rua at first, second and left field.
“Rua’s come here to play,’’ Washington said. “We’ve got to look at him to see what he’s got to offer.’’
Rua, who was born in Amherst and graduated from Amherst High in 2008, became the 59th player used by the last-place Rangers this season, which equals a major league record.
His first hit was a single in the seventh inning.
Rua enjoyed a breakout season last year, hitting 32 home runs and recording 91 RBIs in 127 games for Class A Hickory and Frisco. He hit 29 homers and 82 RBIs in 104 games for Hickory, earning a promotion to the Double-A level.