Clemson’s Okey likely to move on, passing torch to Beer (copy)

Former Clemson catcher Chris Okey is having a solid season in the minors after being drafted in the second round of the 2018 MLB draft by Cincinnati. File/AP

He’s probably seen and heard every possible pun associated with his name, long before turning pro or playing baseball at Clemson.

But with a name like “Chris Okey,” the minor league catcher has to expect some cheesy play on words every time he does something noteworthy on the baseball field.

Enter Thursday’s game for the Chattanooga Lookouts (Speaking of quirky names), the double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds

Okey-dokey times three

The star catcher stepped to the plate batting .265 for Chattanooga with zero home runs. That all changed in his next three at-bats.

In back-to-back plate appearances, Okey drilled a pair of two-run homers. In the sixth inning he completed the trifecta with another long ball that drove in three runs.

He finished the night with seven of his team’s eight RBIs, and boosted his batting average from .265 to .316.

“It was just one of those nights where everything just worked for you,” he told MiLB.com.

Life as a Tiger

Okey had plenty of those days at Clemson, where he spent three years. In 2016 he helped the Tigers clinch an ACC conference title. In 2015, he had 12 homers and 57 RBIs en route to a first-team All-American selection.

Because of his success in orange and purple, the Reds snagged Okey with their second pick in the Major League Baseball draft.

He struggled earlier this season in triple-A and the franchise sent him back to Chattanooga. But the catcher seems to have hit a groove.

Clemson brethren

Fellow former Tigers are also off to the races this season, including guys who played alongside Okey during his college days.

Seth Beer – After batting .328 with nine homers and 34 RBIs through 35 games, the Houston Astros recently promoted Beer to their double-A squad, the Corpus Christi Hooks. Beer, a 2018 first-round pick, has already homered in his new digs.

On the season, the 22-year-old is batting .325 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs.

Alex Eubanks – Snagged in 2017 by the Texas Rangers, Eubanks is playing well coming out of the bullpen for Texas’ Class A-Advanced affiliate, the Down East Wood Ducks (Again, speaking of quirky names). He’s posted a 3-1 record with 14 strikeouts through 26.1 innings of work.

Ryley Gilliam – A 2018 fifth rounder by the New York Mets, Gilliam has also played well in a relief role. In 20 innings of work, the right-hander has posted a 2-0 record with 34 strikeouts and a 2.18 ERA.

Reach Derrek Asberry at 843-937-5517. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry

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