MACON, Ga. – Mercer junior right-handed pitcher Sawyer Gipson-Long as selected by the Minnesota Twins organization in the sixth round of the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday afternoon.
Gipson-Long was the 179th overall pick in the draft, making him the sixth-highest selection in program history. Mercer has had 24 draft selections during head coach Craig Gibson's tenure, dating back to 2004. Gipson-Long is the third Bear in the last two years to be selected inside the first 10 rounds, joining former teammates Austin Cox (fifth round) and Robert Broom (10th round).
"We're extremely proud of Sawyer for what he's accomplished to this point in his playing career and in the classroom," Gibson said. "He represented our program and Mercer University in the best possible way during his three years here. The Minnesota Twins are getting a great competitor and tremendous young man."
The Woodstock, Ga., native threw a team-leading 83.0 innings over 23 appearances and 14 starts as a junior, helping Mercer win the Southern Conference Tournament title and clinch a berth to the NCAA Athens Regional. He was 8-4 with a 5.20 earned run average and ranked among national leaders in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.50) with 99 strikeouts and just 18 walks. Gipson-Long pitched in 53 career games at Mercer, logging 140 innings on the mound.
SECAUCUS, N.J. – VMI junior right-hander Zak Kent was selected in the ninth round of the 2019 MLB draft Tuesday by the Texas Rangers organization and was the 265th pick overall.
Kent is the fourth-highest draft pick in VMI baseball history, trailing just Andy Beasley (4th, 1990), Ryan Glynn (4th, 1995) and Josh Winder (7th, 2018). VMI had three student-athletes drafted last year, Winder (Twins), Matt Pita (12th round, Yankees) and Nathan Eaton (21st – Royals).
Kent earned second-team All-Southern Conference honors in May, as selected by the league’s Sports Media Association. He finished the 2019 season with a 4.64 ERA and a 5-5 record with one save in 15 games and 14 starts. The right-hander led the Southern Conference and ranks seventh in the nation with 132 strikeouts on the year - also a school record. Opponents’ hit just .229 against him and Kent allowed only 30 walks in 97 innings.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNC Greensboro baseball senior pitcher Chad Sykes was selected in the 10th round (pick No. 301) of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels. This is the second-straight year in which a Spartan has been selected by the Angels, as Sykes joins Andrew Wantz who was selected in the seventh round of the 2018 MLB Draft.
During his senior season, Sykes (0.96) led all NCAA Division I pitchers in ERA as he was named SoCon Pitcher of the Year and was selected as a third-team All-American selection by Collegiate Baseball. Additionally, Sykes was a first-team All-SoCon selection as he extended his streak of at least one strikeout in 65 straight appearances.
For his career, Sykes earned 22 saves – most in program history – along with 13 wins.