CCU pitchers Smith, Herb drafted by Astros, Mariners

ccubase-Ben-SmithCoastal Carolina pitchers Ben Smith and Tyler Herb were selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft on Saturday.

Smith was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 17th round (49th overall), while Herb was chosen by the Seattle Mariners in the 29th round (861st overall).

The two join Colin Hering, who was taken in the 10th round, and a pair of Coastal Carolina signees selected in the this year’s MLB Draft. Casey Schroeder, a junior college catcher from Polk College, was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 14th round (432nd overall) and Al Molina, an infielder from Freehold, N.J./Red Bank Catholic HS, was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 29th round (862nd overall).

Smith, a junior left handed pitcher, played and started in six games this season before suffering a season-ending injury and eventually having Tommy John surgery on this throwing elbow. In the preseason, he was listed as one of the top 51 college players in the nation by Baseball America and CollegeBaseballDaily.com. Prior to his injury, Smith was among the NCAA top 10 in strikeouts, fanning 39 batters in 28.2 innings. He was just 1-3 on the mound but posted a 2.51 ERA and opponents batted just .200 off the lefty.

In the Chanticleers’ 2014 season opener, Smith struck out 11 of the 20 batters he faced but was saddled with the loss despite allowing no hits, one run, four walks, a hit batter and a batter reached on catcher’s interference. Later he earned what proved to be his line win by striking out nine in 5.0 innings versus Rhode Island.

Smith was a first team All-Big South pick in 2013. For his career, the Wichita Falls, Texas, native has posted an 8-9 record with three saves in 43 games (31 starts) with a 2.57 ERA. He has struck out 181 batters in 178.1 innings while holding opponents to a .217 opponent batting average.

Herb ended his impressive Chanticleer career with a 22-9 record – including an 11-3 mark in Big South play – and 3.40 ERA in 61 games (46 starts). He pitched 272.2 innings and struck out 210. His career ERA is 15th on the CCU Division I list and his 22 wins rank 13th all-time while his 46 starts rank sixth, his 272.2 innings pitched ranks 13th and his 201 strikeouts ranks 13th.

As a senior, the right handed pitcher started the season 0-3 before reeling off six straight wins over an eight-game span (CCU was 7-1 in the eight games). He pitched nine innings twice and eight innings twice while posting a 2.36 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 16 earned runs over 61.0 innings.

The one game CCU lost that Herb started (at Gardner-Webb), he left the game with a 6-2 lead through eight complete and the bullpen allowed five runs in the ninth to fall 7-6. Overall, Herb was 7-6 in 15 games – all starts – with a 3.53 ERA. He pitched 97.0 innings and struck out 68.

Herb was a second team All-Big South pick as a sophomore, going 9-2 in 17 games – all stats – with a 2.61 ERA and striking out 70 batters in 96.2 innings while holding opponents to a .222 batting average. Herb battled injuries as a junior, getting 12 starts, but posted a 6-1 record with a 4.15 ERA. He pitched 52.0 innings and struck out 48. As a freshman, Herb pitched in 17 games with two starts, but did not figure in any decisions.

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