It was quite an hour for the University of Delaware baseball program Friday afternoon.
Just minutes after Blue Hen junior first baseman Jimmy Yezzo was selected by Washington with the final pick in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball Draft, Delaware junior right-handed pitcher Chad Kuhl was plucked in the ninth round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Kuhl (pronounced “cool”), a native of Bear, Del. and a graduate of Middletown High School, was the 269th overall pick in the draft and the 10th player selected by the Pirates, including five pitchers.
“I’m honored to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates,” said Kuhl, a second team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection this past season when he led the Blue Hens to a 33-23 record and a third place finish in the league standings. “It was a long day and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get drafted in the top 10. It was incredible to hear my name called and to have my family surrounding me made it even more special.”
Along with Yezzo, who was the highest UD player to be selected in the draft since 2008, the Blue Hens had two players picked in the draft for the first time since 2010 and had two picked in the first 10 rounds for only the second time in school history. Back in 1977, the Blue Hens had two picks in the top 10 rounds as pitcher Steve Taylor was a first round choice of the New York Yankees and infielder George Gross went in the eighth round to Houston.
"Chad deserves this great opportunity, just like Yezzo,” said Delaware head coach Jim Sherman, who himself was picked in the Major League Draft twice, in the 20th round by the Chicago Cubs in 1981 and in the 14th round by Houston in 1982, back when he was an All-American player for the Blue Hens. “We are all proud of Chad as he had a great year. This is a proud day for Delaware Baseball and we still hope tomorrow we will have a few more guys picked.”
Senior pitcher Matt Soren and senior outfielder Nick Ferdinand could also get the call when the draft concludes with rounds 11 through 40 on Saturday. Fans can follow the draft at mlb.com.
Kuhl earned second team All-CAA honors in 2013 after posting a 10-2 record and ranking third among Blue Hen starters with a 3.75 earned run average in 15 starts. He also led the team with 105.2 innings pitched and struck out 76 batters. His 10 wins ranked second in the CAA and were the most by a UD pitcher since 2001 when Vic Sage went 11-3 and Rich McGuire posted a 10-3 record.
As a sophomore in 2012, Kuhl went 5-5 with a 4.42 earned run average in 15 games with 13 starts. He struck out 64 batters in 77.1 innings pitched for a team that finished as runner-up at the CAA Tournament.