Millikin’s Iron Horse: Big Blue Baseball’s Tommy Shaw completes record-breaking career in NCAA DIII National Tournament

Shaw is the Big Blue’s all-time leader in hits, games played, and at-bats.

Millikin baseball

DECATUR, Ill. – Over the past four seasons, there has been one constant for the Millikin University Baseball team: Tommy Shaw at second base. 

The senior Environmental Studies major has started every game of his college career - never missing one due to injury or illness – at second base and has set new all-time school records in total hits, games played, and at-bats. 

But before his final season concludes, Tommy gets to compete in the NCAA DIII National Tournament following the Big Blue’s (29-14) championship in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) Tournament on Sunday. The team now moves on to play face Rowan College (27-13) on Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET at Dennison University in Granville, Ohio, in the regional round of the NCAA tournament. 

Millikin Baseball
The Millikin Baseball team won its second CCIW Tournament crown in the last four seasons. Photo by 

“I am very proud of myself, I'll say that. The guys who came before me showed me how to work and what to do every day to help me have this,” Tommy said. “I would say I'm more of a consistent player, and I try to show up every day. The power numbers aren't crazy, and I'm not doing crazy stuff. I show up every day and do what I need to do to be the best teammate, best player, and win some games.”

Tommy showed his power in a standout game in the CCIW Tournament championship against Augustana, hitting two home runs and driving in five runs as Millikin went on to win 9-8.

This season, he was joined on the CCIW All-Conference First Team by senior catcher Ryan Jenssen, graduate student pitcher and CCIW Pitcher of the Year Caleb Buehrle, senior pitcher Drew Detmers, and junior third baseman Kyle Gibson. 

Millikin Baseball first team

Tommy is the Blue’s leader in hits (210), games played (176), and at-bats (664) in a Millikin career. He is also approaching two single-season records as he needs six hits to tie the season record at 67 (he has 61) and nine at-bats to tie the season record of 180 (he has 171). 

His steady production and performance have helped lead his class to become the most successful group in Big Blue Baseball history. The team won a share of its first CCIW regular-season championship since 1975 this season and added its second CCIW Tournament crown in the last four seasons. Over the past four seasons, the team has a 113-63 record. 

Tommy Shaw
Millikin's Tommy Shaw is the record holder in total hits, games played, and at-bats for the Baseball team. Photo by Aubrey Staton.

Originally from Elburn, Ill., Shaw puts the credit for building the successful program on Head Coach Brandon Townsend, who was named the Co-Coach of the Year in the CCIW this season. 

Tommy Shaw
Tommy Shaw

“Coach Townsend is a great leader. He's built this program up to a top-tier program. There's a lot of work involved, and my teammates are awesome. I think we're the winningest class in our four years,” Tommy said. “Coach Townsend took this program, found the right guys, and the right training. We've gotten close for these four years and spending every day with each other makes a big difference. If you had told me we would accomplish all this, I would not have believed you.”

Tommy’s class was also the first to take full advantage of the new Workman Family Baseball Field, and it drove him to decide to continue his baseball career at Millikin after high school. 

“The stadium has been awesome, and it was one of the main factors that made me come here. When you come here, it's the locker room, the baseball field, it's everything. It's one of the best facilities I've ever seen,” Tommy said. 

With graduation approaching on Sunday, May 19, Tommy has mixed feelings about his baseball career coming to a close but is also excited to start his next chapter. He plans to work for Comed in the Chicago area as an electrician. 

Tommy Shaw
Millikin's Tommy Shaw hasn't missed a game in his career, starting them all at second base.

“With graduation, it’s a love/hate thing because it's all coming to an end. I spent the last four years here, met a ton of people, and I’ve done a ton of things. It has been so quick, and then one day it's done,” he said. “The baseball program is awesome. The guys on the team are awesome. Everybody that showed me how to do it is awesome. We’ve got a great group of guys, and I'm thankful to have some records and have something to show for the time I've been here. I'm very happy with how far we have come. I love Millikin.”