CINCINNATI — Xavier University baseball coach Billy O'Conner couldn't wait to send a congratulatory text message to Rylan Bannon Thursday afternoon.
Bannon, the Baltimore infielder and former Xavier University star, hit a single as part of a 1-4 Major League Baseball debut Thursday afternoon as the visiting Orioles defeated St. Louis 3-2.
The Illinois-native played collegiate ball at Xavier from 2015 to 2017. Bannon hit .235 in 29 games for Triple-A Norfolk before getting called up Thursday.
“He was the first kid I recruited at Xavier, he is special to me,” said O'Conner, who was an assistant during Bannon’s time with the Musketeers. “I texted him today to tell him how proud I was of him.”
Bannon played in 172 games and had a career batting average of .276 for the Musketeers during his three seasons at Xavier. The Musketeers won back-to-back Big East tournament titles in 2016 and 2017 as Bannon was named the Big East Player of the Year in 2017.
He hopes to have a homecoming of sorts when the Orioles are scheduled to be at Great American Ball Park for a weekend series against the Reds from July 29-31.
Bannon was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft. In 2018, the Dodgers traded Bannon and four other players for third baseman Manny Machado.
O'Conner and the XU baseball program will continue to watch Bannon's time in the majors. Meanwhile, O'Conner is also proud of his current team.
The Musketeers are 9-6 in the Big East with two more weekend series before the Big East Tournament starting May 26 at Prasco Park in Mason. Xavier is seeking its first Big East title since 2017.