NSU graduates in many different fields have proved that they are able to make their dreams come true. This list recognizes some famous alumni that flourished from NSU’s baseball field, golf courses and the tennis court.
J.D. Martinez: MLB All-star
Julio Daniel “J. D.” Martinez, former baseball Shark, is now a Major League Baseball right fielder for the Detroit Tigers. Martinez previously played in the MLB for the Houston Astros, where he hit his first home run ever. What many people don’t know is that Martinez was drafted out of Flanagan High School in 2006 by the Minnesota Twins, but he ended up going to college and attending NSU, where he was a two-time All-Sunshine State Conference baseball player from 2007 to 2009. Martinez was inducted into NSU’s hall of fame last year for becoming the first player drafted out of NSU to debut in major league baseball. Playing for the Tigers, Martinez became the first Tiger to hit three home runs and have six runs batted in after Carlos Peña in 2003. The former NSU baseball standout was named an American League All-Star and the AL Player of the Week last July.
Mike Fiers: Astros starting pitcher
Michael Bruce Fiers, another former baseball Shark, is now a professional pitcher for the Houston Astros. Before attending NSU, Fiers attended the University of Cumberlands for one year after transferring out of Broward College. Fiers previously played in the MLB for the Milwaukee Brewers and was selected by them in the 2009 MLB draft. Last July, Fiers was traded by the Brewers to the Astros. In his third start for the Astros last month, Fiers pitched a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Astro’s 11th no-hitter in history. This game became twice as important for Fiers because it was also his first complete game as a major league pitcher.
Miles Mikolas: Yomiuri Giants pitcher
Miles Tice Mikolas, the “Lizard King” and former Shark pitcher, is now a professional pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants of Japan. Mikolas became the “Lizard King” after he ate a lizard and posted the video on YouTube. Mikolas played in the MLB for the San Diego Padres after they obtained him in the 2009 draft, and then he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 2013 season. During the 2013 offseason, Mikolas went to the Rangers in a trade with the Pirates. In Japan, Mikolas is married to Lauren Mikolas, who has become very popular in Japan for her fashion and support of her husband.
Carlos Asuaje: Boston Red Sox top-25 prospect
Carlos Asuaje, Venezuelan infielder for the Boston Red Sox is yet another former baseball Shark. Asuaje was selected by the Red Sox in the 2013 MLB draft out of NSU and plays for the minor league baseball affiliated with the Boston Red Sox. As a Shark, Asuaje was named Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year in 2011 and Co-Player of the Year in 2012. Asuaje was the only player in the Sox minors system to collect 100 or more RBIs and was fourth in home runs. Asuaje currently plays as the Red Sox’s number 24 prospect.
Sandra Changkija: LPGA golfer
Sandra Changkija, a former Shark golfer, enjoyed a successful collegiate golfing career in which she was a four-time NGCAA Division II Player of the Year and was the 2011 Sunshine State Conference Female Athlete of the Year with a total of 16 wins. Chanhkija turned professional in 2011 and qualified for the LPGA Tour on her first attempt. That same year, she competed in the Symetra Tour, where she tied for fifth at the South Shore Championship and the Vidalia Championship. In 2013, Changkija recorded a career-best tie for ninth finish at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola.
Taylor Collins: Winner of Big Break Mexico
Taylor Collins, another former Shark golfer, was an individual medalist at the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship and a five-time winner at NSU. Collins turned professional immediately following graduation and participated in the Symetra Tour for the 2012 season. In her third event in 2012, she finished in fourth place. Collins became a Big Break Mexico Champion in 2014, making her the first female on the Golf Channel’s reality TV program to defeat a male in an 18-hole final.