Swift Current's Ethan Murdoch is staying south of the 49th parallel this summer to continue his baseball career.

The Marshall Thundering Herd outfielder will play for the Harrisonburg Turks of the Valley Baseball League in a 40-game season.

His decision to not return home to play for the WCBL's Swift Current 57's was difficult to make but one he hopes can give him a better shot to one day make the sport his day job.  

"It wasn't about what I had at home lacked, it was more about what this league can do for me," he said. 

His current coaching staff played a significant role in the decision-making process and we're able to place him in a league they're familiar with and can keep a close eye on his development.

The Turks program this summer will feature players from high-profile NCAA schools: Florida State University, James Madison University, North Carolina State University, and Georgetown University.

"Those are some really good baseball programs," he said. "It's a great opportunity to play with really good players and against some with other teams similar in our league. It's going to be a lot of guys from school that we would play in our conference and other schools geographically around us that are all good."

Murdoch, in his junior season with the Herd, has made his way into a third of his team's games to this point suiting up for 13 games, starting seven of them. The Swift Current Minor Baseball alumni has found himself on the lineup card in five consecutive games hitting in the seven-hole following his first NCAA home run.

With the limited amount of reps, 25 plate appearances to date, and his batting average at .120, he's not expecting a pro offer or to be an MLB draft pick within the calendar year. He's hoping to turn that fortune around with Marshall this spring and then with Harrisonburg in the summer.

"I would have hoped going into this year I could have done some more but the way this season has worked out it hasn't come up as a possibility," he said. "There's still a lot of the season left and I'm still figuring things out at this level. It's going to have to be something I'm going to keep working towards, obviously, it's something I want to do."

Harrisonburg has seen 49 of its alumni make it to the MLB including 1995 AL MVP and three-time all-star Mo Vaughn, two-time all-star and World Series Champion David Eckstein, two-time all-star Steve Finley, all-star pitcher Jamie Moyer, and ex-Toronto Blue Jay Frank Menechino.

"This league has a long history of a lot of pro players playing there and a ton of draft picks have played there," he said. "Everybody that plays college baseball wants to play pro eventually myself included. I'd love to be able to play pro at some point. To do that, it's a great place to get some looks and exposure."

Marshall will conclude their regular season schedule on May 18 against Coastal Carolina. If their record is good enough, they'll move on to the conference tournament the following weekend with more chances to continue extending their season.

The report date for Murdoch with the Turks is May 26 leaving him a short turnaround to travel nearly five hours and settle into a billet home. Their summer season begins on May 31 against the Waynesboro Generals.

Academically, he's shifted from health biology to health sciences due to the Herd's time commitments.

"It's a similar path," he said. "I ran out of the biology courses I could take without having a schedule full of lab classes. That wasn't really doable for me with our schedule and travel."

Murdoch will return for his senior year at Marshall in the fall unless he's met with a pro offer that entices him.