For the first time since 2017, multiple former BYU baseball players have debuted in MLB in the same year.

Onetime Cougar teammates Justin Sterner and Daniel Schneemann arrived in the big leagues this past weekend just two days apart, and each of their introductions turned out to be quite memorable.

Sterner got his first taste of action out of the bullpen Saturday night, pitching the final two innings of a 3-1 Tampa Bay Rays loss to Baltimore.

Despite the final score, Sterner proved solid on the mound, holding the slugging Orioles scoreless in his appearance while striking out two batters, including league MVP candidate Gunnar Henderson.

“I thought Justin kept his composure really well,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told MLB.com. “I was glad that his family got in to see it. That’s a big moment for him. He should be really happy with himself.”

Sterner’s unique journey to his MLB debut, which included a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Samoa, was a major point of discussion on the Tampa Bay television broadcast.

“I’m so glad I did it,” Sterner said of his mission.

“To this day, even if I didn’t get to this point, if someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey, those two years stopped you from getting to the big leagues,’” he said, “I would have said, ‘OK, that’s great. That’s fine with me.’ Those experiences, I’ll carry with me forever.”

As for Schneemann, the former 33rd round draft selection started at second base for the Cleveland Guardians in their Sunday matchup with Washington.

In his first at bat, Schneemann smoked the first pitch he saw into right field for a two RBI double — the only two runs Cleveland would score all game — earning a loud ovation from the home crowd.

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“That was cool,” Schneemann told MLB.com of the fans’ cheering. “I wasn’t really expecting that. Running in, I got the chills.”

Much of Schneemann’s family was in attendance for his debut, as the Guardians “booked our travel ... and paid for everything,” according to Schneemann’s father, Patrick.

Following the game, he was able to spend some time on the field with his loved ones and really take in the whole experience together.

“It’s definitely a day I won’t forget,” Schneemann said of his debut. “It’s a day I’ve been thinking about for a long time. ... If you have a goal, I think if you just work hard enough, you can achieve it.”

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