It has been a big couple of days for Head Coach Jeff Waggoner and the Marshall Baseball program. Eight players were selected in the Major League Baseball draft on Tuesday and Wednesday, including Hurricane native Arik Sikula. Only one of the Thundering Herd players selected were drafted coming out of high school.
LHP Gregg Williams, Texas Rangers, 12th Round
Williams finished his junior season with a 5.82 ERA in 11 appearances, including three starts for The Herd. Williams stuck out 17 batters in 17 innings pitched this season. Possibly one of Williams’s best performances for The Herd came as a freshman when he allowed just two earned runs in 6.1 innings of work against 7th ranked UVA.
This is the second time Williams name has been called in the Major League Draft. He was selected by Tampa Bay in the 31st Round of the MLB First year Player Draft in 2008 as a senior at Moeller High School.
OF Rhett Stafford, Oakland Athletics, 22nd Round
Stafford led The Herd in homers (10), RBI (41), total bases (98) and slugging (.560) in 2011. Stafford also hit a career best .320 in his third full season with Marshall. Stafford showed his versatility and athleticism moving from catcher to outfield this past season.
LHP Mike Mason, Texas Rangers, 23rd Round
Mason was the Saturday starter for The Herd in 2011 posting a record of 3-3 with a team best 65 strikeouts. The lefty collected four quality starts as a junior, including a dominating performance against Houston. In the no decision, the Maumee, Ohio native tied a career-high with 7.1 innings, giving up two earned runs, while fanning eight and not walking a batter.
OF Isaac Ballou, Pittsburgh Pirates, 36th Round
Ballou, one of fastest players on the team, if not all of Conference USA, stole 18 bases in 23 attempts in 2011 and swiped 30 of 38 in his two years dawning the Green and White. Not only was Ballou a menace on the base paths but at the plate as well. He legged out seven triples, tops in C-USA, and has totaled 10 three-baggers during his time in Huntington, just one shy of the school record. Ballou also produced an eight RBI game, which included a grand slam at Ohio earlier in the season.
RHP Arik Sikula, Toronto Blue Jays, 36th Round
One of the most durable and versatile pitchers in Marshall school history, Sikula pitched as a closer and reliever in his first two years for the Thundering Herd, and then spent the last two years as the Sunday starter. The righty flourished in his new role, earning 2010 First Team All-C-USA honors, becoming the first pitcher in program history to earn the award.
RHP Joe Church, Los Angeles Angels, 40th Round
Church, the 1,215 pick and regarded as one of the hardest throwers out of the MU bullpen, lit up the radar gun in his redshirt-sophomore season. The Princeton, W.Va., native posted a 2-2 record striking out a batter-per-inning, collecting 13 punch outs in 13 innings.
IF Kenny Socorro, Chicago Cubs, 44th Round
Socorro, who led all players in league batting average at .413, finished with 200 career hits in his four-year career for the Thundering Herd. He became just the fifth player in school history to reach that milestone. The Miami, Fla., native roped his 200th career hit in his final collegiate at bat in his home state of Florida against C-USA opponent UCF.
RHP Shane Farrell, Toronto Blue Jays, 46th Round
Farrell served as the Friday night starter for part of the 2011 season before injuries plagued the redshirt-junior. He finished the season making 10 appearances, nine starts, with a 2-1 record and 4.76 ERA. Farrell reached the 100-strikeout plateau during the year, and has collected 116 in 153 career innings on the bump.