CARROLLTON, Ga. - For the second-straight summer, a former star on the diamond from the University of West Georgia is fulfilling a lifelong dream to play professional baseball, as Artemis Kadkhodaian has hit the ground running for the Arizona Rookie League AZL Angels after signing a contract to play in the farm system of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Update: Kadkhodaian was promoted to the Single A Burlington Bees this weekend and blasted his first career professional home run on Sunday.
Kadkhodaian, who was a starter at second base for the bulk of his four-year career at West Georgia, signed a free-agent contract with the Angels on June 30, and didn't take long to get going. The Georgia native started both games over the weekend with AZL, going 3-for-7 with a double, a triple, two RBI and a run scored to lead the Angels to a 2-0 weekend. It marks the second-straight year for UWG head coach Skip Fite to have a former standout in the pros, as Caleb Lopes was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 33rd round of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft.
The former UWG standout stepped onto the diamond in his first professional game on Saturday, July 1, as the Angels took on the AZL Cubs in Sloan Stadium, the spring training home for the Chicago Cubs. He went 1-for-3 as the starter at shortstop in that contest, with a double and a walk in a 6-0 victory. Kadkhodaian was 2-for-4 on Sunday against the AZL Rangers with a triple and a pair of RBI in a 5-1 victory at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the spring training home for the Angels. In both games, he was the starter at shortstop and hit sixth in the lineup.
Kadkhodaian started 191 of 194 games for the Wolves in his four-year career at West Georgia. He had a career batting average of .282 with 189 hits, 124 runs scored, 43 doubles and 15 home runs. He started as the Wolves' regular second baseman for the first three years of his collegiate career, then moved to shortstop as a senior in 2016.
Kadkhodaian and the AZL Angels will be off today, but will be back in action on Tuesday against the AZL Mariners, followed by a tilt against the AZL White Sox on Wednesday.
Lopes Update: Caleb Lopes signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and hit .336 in the summer of 2016 for the Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian Rookie League. He has played in seven games this year with the State College Spikes of the New York-Penn League, hitting .304 thus far. Lopes has started all seven games at second base for the Spikes, and will be back in action on Monday evening against Batavia before starting a three-game series against Williamsport on Tuesday.