TULSA, Okla. – The Oral Roberts baseball team was well represented on the final day of the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft as six players had their names called Wednesday.
Kyler Stout led the charge for the Golden Eagles as he was off the board in the 18th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The next three for ORU came in rapid succession across a span of 98 picks as Cal Hernandez (778 overall), Taylor Varnell (858 overall) and Miguel Ausua (876 overall) were chosen between the 26th and 29th rounds. Justin McGregor and Grant Townsend rounded out the ORU selections as they were picked in the 31st and 34th rounds, respectively.
The six picks were the most in a single draft class under Head Coach Ryan Folmar, and most since 2005. The mark also tied for the fourth-most in program history.
Five of the six selections were from the Golden Eagles' pitching staff and combined for a 52-18 record with 29 saves for the navy and gold in their careers.
Kyler Stout | Arizona Diamondbacks | Round: 18 | Pick: 549
Stout, the all-time saves leader in ORU history, was the first to be selected in the 2018 draft following an illustrious career with the Golden Eagles. The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, native is coming off a campaign where he ranked 12th in the nation with 14 saves, which tied for second in single-season history. The right hander was named to the All-Summit League team for the second time in his career behind 47 strikeouts in 27.2 innings of work for a 15.29 strikeouts per nine innings. He fanned a career-high five against Dallas Baptist in the NCAA Regional in his team-leading 25th appearance of the year finishing with a 2.60 earned run average.
Cal Hernandez | Seattle Mariners | Round: 26 | Pick: 778
Hernandez spent two seasons at ORU and landed on the All-Summit League First Team both years at third base. The Coppell, Texas, product led the conference in 2018 with 12 doubles, while posting a .329 batting average and 50 runs scored that ranked second in the league. He tallied career-best, four-hit performances in back-to-back games at North Dakota State May 4-5. Hernandez also recorded a career-high six RBI in a Summit League Championship game against South Dakota State on his way to MVP honors for the tournament.
Taylor Varnell | Chicago White Sox | Round: 29 | Pick: 858
Varnell was the mid-week starter all season for the Golden Eagles facing the region's top teams closing the year with a 3-4 record and a 5.95 ERA. A native of Sayre, Oklahoma, he held No. 22 Wichita State to one run on two hits in five innings for his first win of the year and added wins over Nebraska and Oklahoma State. Varnell struck out at least seven batters in five-straight starts, including a career-best eight in back-to-back outings, from Mar. 7 to Apr. 3 totaling 62 for the season. He pitched 59 innings across 16 appearances, 11 starts, in his senior campaign finishing his career with a 7-4 record and one save.
Miguel Ausua | Colorado Rockies | Round: 29 | Pick: 876
Ausua, the two-time Summit League Pitcher of the Year, capped his ORU career posting a 19-5 record and a 2.65 ERA in 32 appearances. The Penuelas, Puerto Rico, native led the conference in wins both of his two seasons with the Golden Eagles and was chosen as The Summit League Championship MVP following a five-hit, complete-game shutout in the tournament-clinching game against North Dakota State a season ago. Ausua landed on the NCBWA All-America Second Team and the ABCA/Rawlings All-Midwest Region First Team after a 2017 season where he was 11-3 with a 1.65 ERA.
Justin McGregor | Cincinnati Reds | Round: 31 | Pick: 919
McGregor led The Summit League in ERA (2.80) and innings pitched (93.1) in 2018 on his way to earning All-Summit League First Team honors for the second-consecutive season. A native of Midwest City, Oklahoma, he finished his two-year career at ORU with an impressive 15-2 record and a 2.89 ERA across 34 outings. He paced the Golden Eagles with 84 strikeouts this year, including a career-high 10 in a road start at Western Illinois, and did not surrender more than two earned runs in any of his final seven regular season outings.
Grant Townsend | Toronto Blue Jays | Round: 34 | Pick: 1,016
Townsend excelled in the ORU bullpen registering a perfect 5-0 record on the mound across 38.2 innings and 23 appearances. The Lake Tapps, Washington, product struck out 50 batters for an 11.64 strikeout per nine innings average and tallied a 4.19 ERA. He earned a win in his debut with the Golden Eagles against Utah in the season opener throwing 2.1 scoreless frames and did not allow an earned run over 14.2 innings to start his ORU career. Townsend fanned a season-best six in consecutive appearances against Nevada and SIUE.
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