NEW ORLEANS - 23 Sun Belt Conference baseball student-athletes heard their names called during the 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft. 2010 marks the fourth consecutive year the SBC has seen 20 or more baseball student-athletes drafted.

This year's draft was highlighted by Middle Tennessee's Bryce Brentz who was drafted 36th overall by the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox took Brentz with their pick in Round Comp A which was the fourth selection in the round.

Brentz, a Knoxville, Tenn., native, is the second highest pick in Middle Tennessee history. Former Blue Raider Dewon Brazelton was selected as the third overall pick by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 2001 MLB Amateur Player Draft and is the highest draft pick ever for the Blue Raiders.

“It feels good. To be called to play for the Red Sox, they are a great organization and obviously have a great general manager,” Brentz said.

Brentz missed 12 starts due to an injury but did not let that stop him as he ended his junior campaign batting .348 with 15 home runs, 49 RBI and posted a slugging percentage of .636. Brentz received First Team All-Sun Belt honors this season as well. As a sophomore, Brentz received consensus All-America honors after being the NCAA Statistical Leader in batting average, home runs, hits, runs, total bases and slugging percentage.

In addition to Brentz's selection on day one, 12 other All-Sun Belt performers from this season led by Louisiana's Zach Osborne. Osborne was selected in the 9th round by the Texas Rangers. Osborne's selection is the highest for a Cajun since Jonathan Lucroy was selected in the third round by Milwaukee in 2007.

He posted a 9-4 record on the mound in the 2010 season finishing with a 2.37 ERA and 112 strikeouts over 121 2/3 innings pitched. He crafted 14 quality starts (of 16 total) and tossed five complete games (two shutouts).

Middle Tennessee led all SBC teams with seven student-athletes selected in the draft followed by WKU with five and Louisiana with three. Ten SBC pitchers were selected during the three-day event.

The seven selections from the Blue Raiders is the most student-athletes drafted after a single season in school history. In 2001 and 2004, Middle Tennessee had four players drafted which were the most after a single season until 2010.

Round 1 Compensation A – 36th overall pick
Boston Red Sox select Bryce Brentz, Middle Tennessee
Brentz, a Knoxville, Tenn., native, is the second highest pick in Middle Tennessee history. Former Blue Raider Dewon Brazelton was selected as the third overall pick by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 2001 MLB Amateur Player Draft and is the highest draft pick ever for the Blue Raiders. Brentz set single-season records for batting average (.465), home runs (28), hits (107), runs (79), total bases (214) and slugging percentage (.930) during his impressive run. He played for the USA National Team in the summer batting .366 with 26 hits, eight for extra bases, 18 RBI, scored 14 runs and posted a .563 slugging percentage.

Round 9 – 286th overall pick
Texas Rangers select Zach Osborne, Louisiana

Osborne, the ULL staff ace in 2010, is only days removed from tossing just the second complete game shutout by a Cajuns pitcher in NCAA Tournament history, doing so against No. 25 Rice in the Austin Regional opener on June 4. Osborne's selection is the highest for a Cajun since Jonathan Lucroy was selected in the third round by Milwaukee in 2007. It's the highest selection for a Cajuns pitcher since Patrick Green was taken in the seventh round in 2004 (Kansas City). A 2010 All-Sun Belt First Team selection, posted a 9-4 record on the mound in the 2010 season finishing with a 2.37 ERA and 112 strikeouts over 121 2/3 innings pitched. He crafted 14 quality starts (of 16 total) and tossed five complete games (two shutouts). He went the entire season with an ERA below 3.00 - highest mark was 2.65 - and held opponents to a .222 batting average. He issued only 21 walks and surrendered just 32 earned runs over 121 1/3 innings.

Round 11 – 329th overall pick
Kansas City Royals select Alex McClure, Middle Tennessee
McClure did not play in 2010 due to the NCAA transfer rule after transferring from Vanderbilt to join the Blue Raiders.

Round 14 – 426th overall pick
Toronto Blue Jays select Dayton Marze, Louisiana

Marze enjoyed a breakout season in 2010 as one of Louisiana's top relievers as he made three times as many appearances from his freshman season and logged 50 1/3 innings. Marze has two years of eligibility remaining with the Cajuns. Marze made 18 appearances in 2010, posting a 5-4 mark and 3.22 ERA. He led all Ragin' Cajuns relievers with five victories and allowed only 12 extra base hits over 50 1/3 innings pitched.

Round 15 – 475th overall pick
New York Yankees select Chase Whitley, Troy
A threat at the plate and a force on the mound, Whitley was a star for the Trojans in 2010. He hit a team-leading .364 while coming out of the bullpen to win seven games and save seven others with a 3.68 ERA.

Round 17 – 513th overall pick
Houston Astros select Tyler Burnett, Middle Tennessee
Burnett performed well in a number of different positions in the line-up this season beginning the year as the lead-off and then moving to the clean-up spot for a while. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native ended the 2010 season batting .351 with 12 home runs, 46 RBI and scored 56 runs.

Round 18 – 536th overall pick
Washington Nationals select Justin Miller, Middle Tennessee
Miller stepped into the starting second base position this season and with his offensive production never looked back. Miller led the team in RBI with 74 which were 22 more than any other player on the team. He also had 20 home runs on the season to lead the Blue Raiders.

Round 20 – 620th overall pick
Colorado Rockies select Blake McDade, Middle Tennessee
McDade led the Blue Raiders at the plate most of the season rounding out his senior campaign batting .399 with 89 hits, 19 doubles, 47 RBI and scored 63 runs.

Round 22 – 662nd overall pick
New York Mets select Brandon Brown, South Alabama
Brown, a senior from Cantonment, Fla., was taken in the 22nd round by the New York Mets with the 662nd overall pick. He batted .265 with 12 doubles, three home runs, 30 RBI and 31 runs scored this season. Brown recorded 13 multiple-hit and eight multiple-RBI games, while helping the Jaguar defense to a school-record tying .972 fielding percentage. As a senior at J.M. Tate High School in Cantonment, Brown was selected in the 47th round of the 2006 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Round 23 – 699th overall pick
Milwaukee Brewers select Ryan Bernal, Florida Atlantic
Bernal was the 699th overall pick by the Brewers and had a breakout senior year as a set-up man in the FAU bullpen. The right-hander went 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA and led the Owls with 30 appearances, all out of the bullpen.

Round 24 – 723rd overall pick
Houston Astros select Adam Champion, UALR
A 2010 Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection, Champion went 7-4 with a 3.11 earned run average this past season to lead UALR to its highest-win total since 2003. Champion was a twice drafted during his UALR career, as the Evansville, Ind.-native was also picked by the San Francisco Giants in the 23rd Round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He ended the 2010 regular season ranked fourth in the Sun Belt Conference with a 3.11 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .253 batting average. He made 14 starts for the Trojans as a senior, leading the team in innings pitched (98.1) and strikeouts (74).

Round 25 – 770th overall pick
Colorado Rockies select Kenneth Roberts, Middle Tennessee
Roberts struggled this season after posting an impressive 11-1 record with a 3.04 ERA in 16 appearances as a junior. In 2010, the Murfreesboro, Tenn., native went 4-6 in 15 appearances with a 5.31 ERA with a team high 55 strikeouts.

Round 27 – 831st overall pick
Philadelphia Phillies select Matt Payton, WKU
Payton wrapped up an outstanding four-year WKU career with a remarkable senior season, in which he hit .354 with a team-high 63 runs scored. He led the team and set a new single-season school record with 10 triples, and his seven home runs ranked third on the team. Payton slugged a team-best .586 in 2010 and reached base at a .428 clip. He made just seven errors in 271 chances in the field, good for a .974 fielding percentage.

Round 28 – 839th overall pick
Kansas City Royals select Murray Watts, Arkansas State
Kansas City drafted Watts with the fourth pick of the 28th round, and the 839th pick overall, making him the highest drafted Arkansas State player since third baseman Brad Hayes was drafted by Kansas City in the 12th round of the 2004 draft. Watts, a Jonesboro native and a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection, started all 58 games for the Red Wolves during the 2010 season and helped lead Arkansas State to the semifinal round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament and a 30-28 record. A .319 career hitter during his three seasons at ASU, Watts earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors in his sophomore and junior seasons, and graduated following the spring semester with a degree in Marketing.

Round 28 – 857th overall pick
Florida Marlins select Chad Keefer, Louisiana

Keefer caught all 60 games for the Ragin' Cajuns in 2010. He led the squad in home runs (15) and RBI (58) and was the second-leading hitter with a .325 average. The Sasakwa, Okla., native was a second team All-Sun Belt selection and led the league with 20 runners caught stealing. Keefer finished the season with 28 extra base hits (13 doubles, 15 home runs). In SBC play, he hit .366 and led the league in runs scored (33), home runs (14), total bases (93), slugging percentage (.756) and was second in RBI (35).

Round 30 – 911th overall pick
Tampa Bay Rays select Nick Schwaner, New Orleans
Schwaner led the Privateers in virtually every offensive category this past season, batting .320 with 17 home runs and 48 RBIs. The 17 home runs in 2010 tied Schwaner for sixth in single-season home runs by a UNO hitter while lifting him to second in school history with 41. In addition to being ranked second in home runs, Schwaner leaves the Lakefront as one of the school's top 10 all-time performers in hits (240), doubles (48), total bases (427), slugging percentage (.606) and RBIs (165). The selection is the second for Schwaner, who was selected in the 42nd round a year ago by the San Francisco Giants.

Round 31 – 955th overall pick
New York Yankees select Mike Gipson, Florida Atlantic
Gipson was the 955th overall pick and was the ace of the FAU’s starting rotation all season. The right-hander went 8-2 with a 3.70 ERA and recorded 96 strikeouts in 112 innings pitched with a miniscule .234 batting average against.

Round 35 – 1069th overall pick
St. Louis Cardinals select Drew Benes, Arkansas State
Benes, a St. Louis native, was selected with the 24th pick of the 35th round. He posted an ERA of 3.04 during the 2010 season for the Red Wolves, appearing in 23 games on the mound. Benes struck out 19 batters in 26.2 innings of work during his junior season, giving up 17 runs (nine earned) on 34 hits.

Round 36 – 1080th overall pick
Cleveland Indians select Rye Davis, WKU
Davis returned from a career-threatening injury in 2009 to put together a great season out of the Hilltopper bullpen in 2010. He made 33 appearances and logged nine saves, compiling a 2.72 ERA and a 3-4 record. He held opposing hitters to a .249 batting average and struck out 63 in 49.2 innings pitched. The Pig, Ky., native was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference First Team after the season and was on the watch list for the national Stopper of the Year Award.

Round 39 – 1185th overall pick
Minnesota Twins select Bart Carter, WKU
Carter concluded his four-year Hilltopper career by going 3-1 with a 5.61 ERA in 2010, working mainly out of the bullpen. He fanned 32 in 25.2 innings pitched, and opposing hitters hit .279 against the left-hander. Carter won 21 games in his career, good for fourth-most in Hilltopper baseball history.

Round 41 – 1229th overall pick
Kansas City Royals select Matt Ridings, WKU
Ridings turned in a remarkable senior season in 2010 before an injury ended his year prior to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The right-hander was 9-1 with a career-best 3.01 ERA in 2010, and opposing hitters managed just a .218 batting average against him, also the lowest of his career. He struck out 90 in 92.2 innings pitched, and for his efforts was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference First Team and was voted the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year.

Round 46 – 1379th overall pick
Kansas City Royals select Drew Robertson, Middle Tennessee
Robertson batted .269 as a senior with 42 hits, 17 RBI and scored 22 runs. A defensive catcher, he had just five passed balls and caught four complete game shutouts during his career.

Round 50 – 1525th overall pick
New York Yankees select Matt Rice, WKU
Rice was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference First Team after leading the Hilltoppers with a .369 batting average, 10 home runs and 65 RBI in 2010. He improved his defensive play from a season ago, making just two errors in 2010 and throwing out nearly 30 percent of potential base-stealers.

BY SCHOOL BREAKDOWN
Middle Tennessee – 7 (Brentz, McClure, Burnett, Miller, McDade, Roberts, Robertson)
WKU – 5 (Payton, Davis, Carter, Ridings, Rice)
Louisiana – 3 (Osborne, Marze, Keefer)
Arkansas State – 2 (Watts, Benes)
Florida Atlantic – 2 (Bernal, Gipson)
Troy – 1 (Whitley)
South Alabama – 1 (Brown)
UALR – 1 (Champion)
New Orleans – 1 (Schwaner)

BY TEAM BREAKDOWN
Boston Red Sox – 1 (Brentz)
Texas Rangers – 1 (Osborne)
Kansas City Royals – 4 (McClure, Watts, Ridings, Robertson)
Toronto Blue Jays – 1 (Marze)
New York Yankees – 3 (Whitley, Gipson, Rice)
Houston Astros – 2 (Burnett, Champion)
Washington Nationals – 1 (Miller)
Colorado Rockies – 2 (McDade, Roberts)
New York Mets – 1 (Brown)
Milwaukee Brewers – 1 (Bernal)
Philadelphia Phillies – 1 (Payton)
Florida Marlins – 1 (Keefer)
Tampa Bay Rays – 1 (Schwaner)
St. Louis Cardinals – 1 (Benes)
Cleveland Indians – 1 (Davis)
Minnesota Twins – 1 (Carter)

BY POSITION BREAKDOWN
Pitcher – 10 (Osborne, Marze, Whitley, Bernal, Champion, Roberts, Gipson, Davis, Carter, Ridings)
Catcher – 3 (Keefer, Robertson, Rice)
First Base – 2 (McDade, Watts)
Second Base – 2 (Miller, Payton)
Short Stop – 2 (McClure, Brown)
Third Base – 3 (Burnett, Schwaner, Benes)
Outfield – 1 (Brentz)


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