CEDAR CITY, Utah - Former Southern Utah University Thunderbird Keli'i Zablan has signed a minor league contract to play for Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners.

Zablan, a former infielder turned pitcher, was picked up by the Mariners after recently impressing Seattle scouts at an Invite-Only tryout held at the Mariners spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz.

"We are always excited to see a T-Bird get a chance to play at the next level," SUU head coach David Eldredge said. "Keli'i is even more special because he was a very accomplished position player and now he gets a chance to go the next level as a pitcher. We are very proud and happy for Keli'i and wish him the best as he continues his professional career."

Zablan spent last summer pitching for the River City Rascals, an Independent League team out of the St. Louis area that plays in the Frontier League. The right-hander was named the Frontier League's Rookie of the Year after posting a 2-1 record with a 3.15 ERA in his 28 appearances for the Rascals. He finished 14 games and struck out 29 in 40 innings all out of the bullpen. Zablan helped the Rascals to a Frontier League Championship Series title after he pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief in his three appearances during the playoffs.

The Ewa Beach, Hawaii native was a three-time All-Conference infielder for the Thunderbirds from 2006-09. He pitched out of the bullpen in his final two seasons for SUU, appearing in eight games, posting a 1-0 record and made two saves as a junior before posting a 3-1 record in 11 appearances out of the pen his senior season.

Zablan will find out where he will report for 2011 spring training in the coming weeks.