One week after wrapping up an historic season, three Louisiana Tech Baseball pitchers capped off the 2016 campaign by being selected on the final day of the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft Saturday afternoon.
Adam Atkins was the first name off the board for LA Tech after the senior closer was drafted in the 18th round by the New York Mets as the 550th overall pick. A pair of junior pitchers in Braden Bristo (698th overall) and Phillip Diehl (818th overall) followed closely behind when the two were drafted by the New York Yankees in the 23rd and 27th rounds, respectively.
Three players is the most LA Tech has had selected in a single draft since the 2013 season, while it marks the eighth time in program history at least three Bulldogs were drafted.
“I am incredibly proud of our players and what these young men have accomplished in their time LA Tech,” head coach Greg Goff said. “These guys have helped change the culture of this baseball program and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to coach players who have worked so hard to get to this point. Our goal every year is to give all of our players the chance to continue their careers and it was awesome to hear those three names called today.”
Atkins closed out his senior season ranked first on the Bulldogs’ pitching staff with a 1.20 ERA and nine saves in 24 relief appearances on the mound, while the right-hander also ranked fourth in Conference USA in saves. He posted a 6-1 record as LA Tech’s closer with three wins coming in C-USA games and ranked third in the league with 19 games finished for the Bulldogs. The right-hander’s nine saves is tied for second all-time in a single season at LA Tech, while his 16 career saves in two years gives him sole possession of third place all-time in program history.
In three seasons, Bristo appeared in a total of 51 games while the hard-throwing right-hander started 25 games on the mound for the Bulldogs. The Monroe native struck out 115 batters in 143.0 innings pitched in his time at LA Tech while earning 10 wins on the mound. This past season, Bristo started 14 games for the Bulldogs and 16 total appearances, while the Ouachita Christian product picked up a personal-best five wins in 2016. He totaled the third most strikeouts on the team this season behind Diehl and Nate Harris with 62 in 55.1 innings pitched.
LA Tech’s final selection of the day was Diehl when the Yankee’s drafted the left-hander in the 27th round. Diehl posted a 5-5 record this season with a 4.39 ERA while making 15 starts in 18 total appearances on the mound. The lefty led LA Tech’s pitching staff with 90 strikeouts on the season, while also ranking third in Conference USA. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, issued just 27 walks in 80 innings pitched in 2016. Last week, Diehl was named to the Starkville Regional All-Tournament team for his performance against No. 21 Cal State Fullerton in last week’s regional.
All three Bulldogs drafted Saturday helped lead LA Tech to an impressive 42-20 overall record and the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1987. The three pitchers also played a part in the Bulldogs’ pitching staff breaking the school record for strikeouts in a season with 496 on the year.
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Article courtesy of LA Tech: http://www.latechsports.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/061116aaa.html.