NATCHITOCHES – Three more Northwestern State Demon baseball players were selected in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft - Oscar Garcia, Chase Lyles, and Luke Irvine - those all coming on the third and final day of the event on Wednesday and bringing the total number of NSU players selected to a school record number of five.
The five NSU selections led all Southland Conference schools as Texas-Arlington was a close second with four players drafted, including outfielder Michael Choice as the overall number 10 pick in the first round.
Garcia went in the 31st round to the San Diego Padres, Lyles to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 32nd round, and Irvine by the Chicago White Sox in the 43rd round.
The trio joins Chad Sheppard (17th round, New York Mets) and Ryan Zimmerman (30th round, Arizona Diamondbacks) who were drafted on Tuesday. Also selected on Tuesday was NSU signees Chris Winder of Odessa College who was drafted in the 27th round by the Tampa Bay Rays.
The five Demon players are the most players drafted in a season in school history. The previous high was in 1998 when four players – Brandon Emanuel, Brian Lawrence, Allen Davis, and Chris Brown – were drafted.
Garcia, a junior outfielder from El Paso, Texas, was chosen as the 934th overall pick and ninth pick in the 31st round. This past season, Garcia earned first team All-Southland Conference honors this season after he led the Demons with 87 hits - second most in a single-season in school history and one off of the record. He finished second on the team with a .375 batting average and topped the team with a .473 on-base percentage. He ranked as one of the toughest players in the nation to strikeout, having only K'd 12 times in 232 at-bats.
Lyles, a native of Plain Dealing, just wrapped up a stellar four-year career at NSU. He was taken as the 957th overall selection and second in the 31st round by the Pirates.
He earned second team All-SLC honors this past season and set school records for most stolen bases in a season (34) and in a game (4) after he swiped 34 of 43 for the year. He hit .350 and was second on the team with seven home runs while leading the squad with 56 RBIs. He finished his career ranked in the top five in all major NSU offensive categories and second for most career home runs (30), just one off the record, hits (248, 11 from the record), RBIs (151, record is 169), and stolen bases (78, record is 100).
Irvine, a junior righty and a native of Liberty, Missouri, was picked by the White Sox as the 13th pick in the 43rd round and No. 1,298 overall.
A first team All-SLC performer in 2010, Irvine led the team in ERA and was just .02 points from leading the Southland Conference. He also the league with 16 starts and was third with 104 strikeouts - second most in a single-season in school history.
In 2010, Sheppard became the Southland Conference’s recipient of the inaugural Relief Pitcher of the Year award when the finished the season with 10 saves – tying his single-season school record that he set in 2009.
In his brief two-year career at NSU, he has racked up a school-record 20 saves to go along with a career 6-1 record and 3.03 ERA in 49 appearances. He struck out 92 batters in 74.2 innings pitched while walking just 35.
This past season, Sheppard compiled a 2-0 record with a 3.60 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched in earning All-Southland Conference third team honors.
Zimmerman, who also earned third team All-SLC honors this past season, finished the season with a 6-5 record and a 3.74 ERA – fifth best in the league. He led the team with two complete games thrown, tossed a shutout, and combined for another blanking and struckout 77 batters in 86.2 innings pitched.
In his two years at NSU, Zimmerman finished 9-8 in 37 games pitched with 24 starts. He compiled a 4.47 career ERA, threw 157.1 innings, and struckout 127 batters.