By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – One day after making program and Ohio Valley Conference draft history with players selected in the first 10 rounds, the Tennessee Tech baseball team saw two more Golden Eagles chosen in the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on its final day.
After Thursday and Friday, only six collegiate programs in the entire nation had more players taken in the first 10 rounds as the Golden Eagles saw David Hess, Daniel Miles, and Brandon Thomasson poached off the board before the 10th round began. Tech boasted more draft picks in the first 10 rounds than several perennial collegiate power houses such as Cal State Fullerton, Florida, LSU, Mississippi State, Rice, and UCLA.
The Golden Eagle closer for the past two seasons, Lucio was taken in the 12th round with the 357th overall pick by the San Diego Padres. Parris, the starting backstop for Tech over the past two years, heard his name called by the Colorado Rockies, going to the Mile-High club in the 20th round with the 593rd overall selection.
With an electric fastball touching 98 miles per hour and a nasty slider, Lucio became one of the more dominant closer in the OVC over the past two seasons, shattering the Tennessee Tech record for saves in a single season and in a career.
As a sophomore the right-hander tied the career saves mark in a single year, tallying 12 while helping Tech to a school-record 40 wins. He followed that up by breaking the career mark with nine saves in 2014, leading the Golden Eagles to their first back-to-back 40 win season in program history.
A former high school teammate of fellow draftee David Hess and current Tech pitcher Jacob Honea, Parris joined the Golden Eagles in 2013 as a transfer from Columbia State Community College. He made an instant impact as one of the best defensive catchers in the OVC.
This season, the Tullahoma, Tenn. native led the OVC in runners caught stealing, throwing out 26 of the 56 players who attempted to steal on him. He also added some power, clubbing a career-high five home runs while helping the Golden Eagles to lead the nation with 83 long balls.
Also taken in the draft was Tennessee Tech signee and Beech High School senior pitcher Sam McWilliams. The Philadelphia Phillies grabbed the 6-foot-6 hurler in the eighth round with the 232nd overall selection.
After the selection of Hess in the fifth round on Friday, the 2014 draft marked the eighth consecutive year that at least one Golden Eagle baseball player heard his named called in the draft.
With five players selected over the three days of the draft, Tech matched Vanderbilt, a national seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament and host of one of eight Super Regionals, for the most draftees of institutions in the state of Tennessee. The Golden Eagles boasted four more selections than SEC member Tennessee, three more than Conference USA member Memphis, and two more than former OVC rival Middle Tennessee.
Free agency is now in session, and chances are still good that a few more Golden Eagles get the opportunity to fulfill their dreams by signing with a major league club.