Sandlin, Reynolds picked in MLB Draft

By FROM SOUTHERN MISS,

HATTIESBURG – Southern Miss right-handed pitcher Nick Sandlin capped his excellent junior season Monday night by being selected in the second round of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft with the 67th overall selection by the Cleveland Indians.

Sandlin, the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year and a semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes and Dick Howser Awards for top collegiate baseball player, posted a 10-0 record this spring as he was converted into the team’s top starter from its closer role.

The Evans, Ga., native posted the lowest earned run average in the nation in 2018 with a 1.06, while he fanned 144 and walked just 18 over 102 1/3 innings to have one of the lowest WHIPs in collegiate baseball.

The only Golden Eagle to ever win and save over 20 games each in his career helped the program to a 44-18 record this season that included a Conference USA regular-season and tournament championship – the first time the school had achieved that feat since 2003.

Sandlin is the third Golden Eagle to ever be taken as high as the second round with Frank Baker going in the 1967 June secondary phase to the New York Yankees, while Brandon Parker went in the 1997 second round with the 55th selection by Seattle Mariners.

It is the second-straight draft that the Indians have chosen a player from Southern Miss with Kirk McCarty getting taken in the seventh round last season. It also marked the third Golden Eagle overall to be picked by the Indians as Shea Douglas was picked in the 32nd round in the 2002 draft.

This is the third consecutive year Southern Miss has had at least one player taken in the Top 10 rounds.

Redshirt-junior third baseman Luke Reynolds became the second Southern Miss player taken in the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Tuesday, when the Chicago Cubs selected the Forest, Miss., native in the 10th round with the No. 308 overall pick.

It marked the second-straight year, and fourth time overall, that the Golden Eagles have had two players from its program selected in the Top 10 rounds. Nick Sandlin went in the second round to Cleveland on Monday night.

Reynolds, the 2018 Conference USA Player and Newcomer of the Year, finished his first season with the Golden Eagles with a .389 batting average to go along with 20 doubles, 15 home runs and 61 runs batted in.

His on-base percentage for the year ended at .551, while his slugging percentage was at .699. After the NCAA Regionals, he ranked second nationally in walks (65) and walks per game (1.05), second in on-base percentage, ninth in runs scored (70) and ninth in slugging percentage.

Reynolds helped the Golden Eagles to a 44-18 overall record and a C-USA regular season and tournament titles – the first time the school has accomplished that feat since 2003.

The Golden Eagle is only the second Southern Miss player ever taken by the Cubs with Kevin Bentley being the other - chosen in 1995.

The final day of the MLB First-Year Player Draft takes place, Wednesday, with Rounds 11-40 to complete the three-day event.