USC Gamecocks Baseball

Ripken not returning next year

Ryan Ripken
Ryan Ripken

Ryan Ripken will not return to the South Carolina baseball program.

Ripken, the son of MLB Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., did not make the 35-man roster in the spring as a freshman first baseman and sat out as a redshirt. It’s likely he would have faced a similar challenge in making the team for 2014.

A school official confirmed that Ripken, a Baltimore native who was drafted by the Orioles out of high school in 2012, has decided to transfer. Ripken’s decision comes on the heels of a couple of other roster developments.

Freshman third baseman George Iskenderian left the program after the season ended. Iskenderian, who compiled a .257 average with six RBIs in 15 games, decided to transfer.

The Gamecocks, however, expect to get designated hitter Brison Celek back for his senior season. Celek was drafted in the 31st round by the Toronto Blue Jays and had planned to sign. Those plans changed after he arrived in Dunedin, Fla., the spring training home of the Blue Jays, where an issue with his physical caused Toronto to pull back its offer.

Celek played sparingly in his first three years at USC — which included a redshirt season in 2011 — before he worked his way into the lineup this season as the team’s primary designated hitter. He batted once in the NCAA tournament and finished with a .307 average, one homer and 18 RBIs in 88 at-bats.