Two More Big South Players Drafted By MLB Clubs
The Big South Conference had two more baseball players selected in the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday, as Coastal Carolina pitcher Jim Birmingham and VMI first baseman Jordan Ballard were both selected in the 33rd round. Birmingham was picked by San Francisco with the 1008th selection, while Ballard was selected by the Colorado Rockies two picks later at 1010. Coastal Carolina had a total of seven players drafted by MLB clubs, tying the Big South Conference record.
Ballard was named First Team All-Big South Conference at first base this season, hitting a school-record 18 home runs while driving in a team-high 58 runs. He graduated last month as the school's career leader with 41 home runs while ranking second in slugging percentage (.569) and third in both total bases and fielding percentage in his career at VMI. His selection marks the sixth-straight season that the Keydets have had a player drafted by an MLB franchise. He is the first VMI player to be selected by Colorado since David Groseclose was drafted by the team in 1995.
In Big South play this season, Ballard accounted for 32 RBIs in 27 contests, hitting 10 home runs with 70 total bases. He ranked among the top five in the league this season in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage. Ballard earned national acclaim this season when he clubbed six home runs in five games, driving in 14 runs in 14 at bats in a week. He was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week for that run, which was part of a 25-game streak during which he had hits in 24 contests, hitting .411 with 11 doubles, 11 home runs, 38 RBIs and an .822 slugging percentage.
Birmingham is 6-2 with a 4.82 earned-run average in 52.1 innings pitched for the Chanticleers this season. Birmingham has made 12 starts and combined for two shutouts. He was named the Big South Pitcher of the Week March 2 after allowing just one run in seven innings of work in a win over North Carolina State. He allowed just one hit in five innings in a win over Wake Forest and struck out eight in seven innings of work in a win over Presbyterian.
Coastal Carolina hosts South Carolina Saturday, June 12 at 12 p.m., in the Myrtle Beach Super Regional.