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USF ties school record for most players drafted

Six USF players were taken in the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, tying a record for the most selections in school history.

Three high school student-athletes who have committed to enroll at USF were also drafted. Connecticut is the only other Big East school with six players drafted this year.

USF commit Jose Fernandez, from Alonso High School, was a first-round pick and selected 14th overall by the Florida Marlins. Fernandez is likely to sign a contract to begin a professional career.

One of USF’s other signees, third baseman Joe Krehbiel from Seminole High School, was drafted in the 12th round and 375th overall by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The third commit, first baseman Roderick “Rock” Shoulders, was selected in the 25th round with the 759th overall pick by the Chicago Cubs.

Senior closer Kevin Quackenbush was the first USF player off the board, going to the San Diego Padres in the eighth round with the 263rd overall pick. Quackenbush made 13 appearances in 2011, recorded 12 saves with a 0.81 ERA and struck out 46 batters in 33.2 innings. The 12 saves led the Big East, and his ERA set a school record for USF relievers.

“We couldn’t be happier for Kevin,” coach Lelo Prado said in a statement. “He has worked so hard. A kid that wasn’t drafted out of high school, came to USF, worked tirelessly, on the field and in the classroom, and developed into one of the best pitchers in college baseball this year.”

Junior reliever Jimmy Moran was the next Bull off the board, being selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 18th round with the 565th overall pick.

Moran was one of the most important pieces of USF’s bullpen this season, making 20 appearances in short relief, pitching 22.2 innings with a 3.97 ERA and going 4-1. This is the second consecutive season the Reds selected a USF junior. Outfielder Stephen Hunt was drafted by the Reds in the 15th round of the 2010 Draft and opted to sign. He is now with the Reds’ Advanced Class A affiliate, the Bakersfield Blaze.

Next off the board was senior Junior Carlin, who was drafted by the Angels in the 20th round with the 615th overall pick. Carlin was USF’s everyday left fielder, but was selected as a left-handed pitcher. After not pitching during his sophomore or junior seasons, Carlin returned to the mound for 14 appearances in his senior campaign, including five starts. He went 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA. This was Carlin’s second time being drafted. He was selected out of high school by the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 Draft’s 29th round.

USF’s Friday night starter for all four years of his career, Randy Fontanez was taken by the New York Mets in the 27th round with the 822nd overall pick. Plagued by poor run support for much of the season, Fontanez went 5-6 with a 2.92 ERA in 14 games. The Reds drafted Fontanez in the 23rd round last year, but he opted to come back for his senior season.

Third baseman Jonathan Koscso was the fifth Bulls player taken on the draft’s second day, going to the hometown Tampa Bay Rays in the 29th round with the 900th overall pick. Koscso never missed a game in his four-year career at USF and led the team with a .340 batting average in 2011. He was hit by 75 pitches in his collegiate career, the eighth highest in NCAA history. The Rays drafted Koscso as a second baseman.

Junior shortstop Sam Mende was the final Bull taken, going to the Colorado Rockies in the 31st round with the 948th overall pick. Mende was drafted out of high school by the New York Yankees in the 40th round of the 2008 draft, but chose to attend USF.

The two underclassmen – Moran and Mende – have until Aug. 15 to decide whether they will sign professional contracts or return to USF for their senior seasons.