Conway’s Young among 6 Chants taken in MLB Draft

ccubase-37trotA quartet of Chanticleers – Mike Morrison, Alex Cunningham, G.K. Young and Connor Owings – were selected in the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, joining previous day picks Michael Paez (fourth round) and Zach Remillard (10th round).

Morrison (Gilbert, S.C./Gilbert HS) was selected in the 27th round (806th overall pick) by the Chicago White Sox, who also selected Remillard in 10th round on Friday. Cunningham (Duncan, S.C./Byrnes HS) was selected in the 28th round (835th overall pick) by the Detroit Tigers. Young (Conway, S.C./Conway HS) was selected in the 31st round (924th overall pick) by the San Diego Padres. Owings (Gilbert, S.C./Gilbert HS) was selected in the 34th round (1,019th overall pick) by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Owings older brother Chris has been a regular starter in the big leagues for the Diamondbacks since 2014.

Morrison, a first team All-American this season, was one of the top closer’s in the nation in 2016. The senior was also named first team All-Big South, tabbed MVP of the Big South Championship and voted to the NCAA Raleigh All-Regional Team. Morrison is 7-1 with 10 saves in 30 appearances this season and currently owns the CCU single-season record with a 0.79 ERA, allowing just six runs (five earned) all season. He has pitched 56.2 innings and struck out 77 – 53 (69 percent) swinging – with just 19 walks. He had a streak of 33 innings (17 games) without allowing an earned run this season before the streak snapped at Georgia Tech. Since then, Morrison is 2-0with five saves and he has only allowed one earned run in 10 appearances (19.0 innings). This season, he has inherited 35 runners and just nine have scored. In fact, four times this season, Morrison entered the game with bases loaded and he stranded them on each occasion.

Cunningham, who graduated this past May with a degree in management, is a two-time All-Big South honoree as he has compiled a 15-3 record over the past two seasons while the Chanticleers are 18-6 in his 24 starts as the team’s #1 pitcher. The redshirt junior is 9-3 this season with his nine victories ranking 39th in the NCAA this season.  He sports a 3.66 ERA in 18 games (14 starts), threw Coastal’s lone complete game and pitched 98.1 innings this season with a team-high 90 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of just .248. Most recently, he pitched 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing just five hits, in the NCAA Raleigh Regional versus North Carolina State

Young was named first team All-Big South this past season and was Dick Howser National Player of the Year semifinalist. He ranks 23rd in the NCAA in home runs (16, 2nd in Big South), 24th in hits (88, 1st in Big South), 28th in RBI (63, 2nd in Big South) and 25th in total bases (146, 2nd in Big South). The junior designated hitter was Coastal’s most consistent player over the 2016 season, reaching base safely (hit/walk/hit by pitch) in 57 of CCU’s 63 games. His 88 hits and 63 RBI are just shy of the CCU single-season top 10 while his 16 home runs ranks 11th. Overall, Young is batting .342 this season and owns a .300 career batting average. In 175 career games, He has scored 114 runs with 33 doubles, 28 home runs and 133 RBI. For his career, Young ranks 11th in home runs and 20th in RBI.

Owings was a second team All-American, a two-time semifinalist for the Gregg Olson Award and the 2016 Big South Player of the Year. He additionally was a three-time All-Big South pick, earning first team honors in 2014 and 2016, and started five different positions in his Chanticleer career (first base, second base, third base, left field and right field). Also, Owings is the only Chant to start all of CCU games over the last three years (180 total).

The six Chanticleers taken in this year’s draft is the most since seven were selected in 2010. Overall, this is the seventh time at least five Chanticleers have been drafted in one year.

2016 CCU Draft Picks
SS Michael Paez – 4th round, New York Mets
3B Zach Remillard – 10th round, Chicago White Sox
RHP Mike Morrison – 27th round, Chicago White Sox
RHP Alex Cunningham – 28th round, Detroit Tigers
DH G.K. Young – 31st round, San Diego Padres
UTL Connor Owings – 34th round, Arizona Diamondbacks

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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