COOKEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tennessee Tech pitcher Matthew Shepherd’s four seasons at TTU have paid off as the San Diego Padres drafted the former Golden Eagle in the 31st round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
“It was exciting,” Shepherd said. “The feeling you get when they call your name at the draft is something you just can’t explain.”
“We’re obviously very excited for Matt,” TTU head coach Matt Bragga said. “Most of these guys dream about making the big leagues as kids so its always great to see one of our players get a chance to play at the next level.”
Shepherd, who was the 945th pick of the draft, is now the 11th former Tech player in the last six seasons to be drafted by a major league organization dating back to 2007.
The Padres drafted a total of 44 players in the 2012 draft, including 23 pitchers. A native of Bluff City, Tenn., Shepherd is one of four players drafted by the Padres from the Tennessee area.
In four seasons at Tech, Shepherd won a total of 11 games for the Golden Eagles and struck out 183 batters.
“I had a great four years at Tech,” Shepherd said. “I appreciate the time and work with coach Bragga and I hope to make everyone proud.”
“Shepherd is a guy who got better every season with us and he will continue to do so,” Bragga said. “He has a high ceiling in terms of ability.”
Shepherd will travel to Phoenix to sign his contract before heading up to Eugene, Ore., where he will join the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League. The Emeralds are the Padres’ short-season Single-A affiliate.