Smaller state schools take center stage on Day 2 of MLB draft

Charlotte, Mount Olive, Western Carolina and Lenoir-Rhyne all had players selected Tuesday on the second day of the Major League baseball draft. ECU and Wake Forest also had players chosen as the draft continued with rounds 3-10

Sam Roberts/Freeze Frame—Charlotte athletic communications photo
Second baseman Brett Netzer was the first of three Charlotte 49ers players selected in the Major League Baseball draft on Tuesday

North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest all had players selected Monday on the opening night of the Major League Baseball draft. Tuesday, some of the the state’s lesser-publicized schools got a chance to take center stage in the annual lottery of amateur baseball talent. Charlotte led the way with three players drafted while Mount Olive, Western Carolina and Lenoir-Rhyne sent one each to the professional ranks. East Carolina and Wake Forest also had players chosen as the draft continued with rounds 3-10. Second baseman Brett Netzer, who hit .342 with five homers and 44 RBI as a junior this season, was the first of the 49ers to have his name called when he was taken in the third round (101st overall) by the Boston Red Sox. His selection was the fourth-highest in school history. Four rounds later, junior pitcher Colton Laws was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays while senior outfielder T.J. Nichting was picked by the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth round. Laws led Conference USA with a 1.84 earned run average while posting a 7-2 record. He set a conference tournament record by striking out 14 UTSA hitters in a second-round Charlotte victory. Nichting hit .358 with 49 RBI and was one of only three players nationally to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game. In-state pitchers were popular with the Atlanta Braves, who took senior left-handers Bruce Zimmerman of Mount Olive and John Curtis of Lenoir-Rhyne on Tuesday. Zimmerman, who went 9-2 while tying fellow draftee Carter Capps’ single-season school record with 129 strikeouts, was picked in the fifth round. Curtis of Lenoir-Rhyne was Atlanta’s eighth-round selection after striking out 71 in 50 innings this season. Western Carolina left-hander Bryan Sammons, meanwhile, was also taken in the eighth round by the Minnesota Twins. Also drafted Tuesday was the Wake Forest battery of pitching ace Parker Dunshee and catcher Ben Breazeale. Dunshee, a second-team All-ACC selection, was taken by the Oakland Athletics while Breazeale, whose walkoff homer gave the Deacons a dramatic Super Regional victory at Florida on Monday, became the newest member of the Baltimore Orioles. Both were taken in the seventh round. ECU’s Evan Kruczynski, meanwhile, was the ninth-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals. A senior left-hander, Kruczynski passed up last year’s draft in hopes of pitching the Pirates deep into the NCAA tournament. That didn’t happen, in part because of an injury that forced him to miss a month this season. But his disappointment was soothed Tuesday by the opportunity to begin his professional career. The draft will continue with the final 30 rounds on Wednesday. Here is the complete list of players with North Carolina ties selected thus far:MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS, Round 1 (3rd overall), San Diego PadresAustin Beck, OF, N. Davidson HS, Round 1 (6), Oakland AthleticsJ.B. Bukauskas, RHP, Jr., UNC, Round 1 (15), Houston AstrosLogan Warmoth, SS, UNC, Jr., Round 1 (22), Toronto Blue JaysBrian Miller, OF, Jr., UNC, Round 1 (36), Miami MarlinsStuart Fairchild, OF, Jr., Wake Forest, Round 2 (38), Cincinnati RedsGavin Sheets, 1B, Jr., Wake Forest, Round 2 (49), Chicago White SoxJoe Dunand, 3B, Jr., NC State, Round 2 (51), Miami MarlinsBrett Netzer, 2B, Jr., Charlotte, Round 3 (101), Boston Red SoxBruce Zimmerman, LHP, Sr., Mt. Olive, Round 5 (140), Atlanta BravesParker Dunshee, LHP, Sr., Wake Forest, Round 7 (201), Oakland AthleticsBen Breazeale, C, Jr., Wake Forest, Round 7 (218), Baltimore OriolesColton Laws, RHP, Jr., Charlotte, Round 7 (219), Toronto Blue JaysBryan Sammons, LHP, Sr., WCU, Round 8 (226), Minnesota Twins John Curtis, LHP, Sr., Lenoir-Rhyne, Round 8 (230), Atlanta BravesEvan Kruczynski, LHP, Sr., ECU, Round 9 (274), St. Louis Cardinals