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Marshall baseball: Blair becomes highest MLB draft pick in Herd history

By From staff reports

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks chose right-hander Aaron Blair of Marshall with the 36th pick in the Competitive Balance Round A, the highest selection in Marshall baseball history.  

He was the first member of the Thundering Herd to go in one of the first 10 rounds since Jeff Montgomery was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth round of the 1983 draft.

Blair, a 21st round pick in 2010 by the Houston Astros out of Spring Valley High School, took the label of the program's top draft selection from Joe Goddard, an eighth-round pick (175 overall) by the San Diego Padres in 1971.

Blair was the highest draft selection from a state school since West Virginia University pitcher Chris Enochs went in the first round (11th overall) to the Oakland Athletics in 1997.

Blair was the first Conference USA player to be drafted in 2013 and the 14th player in the history of the league to be selected prior to the second round. He was the first C-USA pitcher to go in either the first round or the first compensation round since the Washington Nationals took Bryan Price of Rice as a supplemental pick (45th overall) in 2008.

Blair also became the 17th draft selection under Marshall head coach Jeff Waggoner since 2008.

In three seasons with Marshall, Blair amassed 200 strikeouts in 202 innings of work, a feat that ranked him sixth all-time among Marshall's strikeouts leaders. Blair had an earned run average of 3.30 during his time with the Herd.

Blair was 5-5 with a 2.85 ERA this season.

Arizona made two more picks in the first day of the draft.

The Diamondbacks selected right-hander Braden Shipley of Nevada with the 15th pick in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft on Thursday night.

Shipley was 7-3 with a 2.77 ERA for the Wolfpack this season, striking out 102 in 107 1-3 innings while walking 34. The junior earned co-pitcher of the year honors in the Mountain West after having won the award in 2012.

Shipley was rated the third-best college pitcher by Baseball America. He played primarily at shortstop as a freshman.

Diamondbacks scouting director Ray Montgomery called the 6-foot-3 Shipley one of the best athletes in the draft.

Shipley is from Medford, Ore., the hometown of Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers.

In the second round, they selected 17-year-old outfielder Justin Williams of Terrebonne High School in Houma, La., with the 52nd overall selection.

Williams batted .333 with seven doubles, four homers, 13 RBIs and eight stolen bases.


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