Pirates Taken in Second Day of MLB Draft

Shane Mathews, Dale Mollenhauer, Dustin Sasser and Jason Neitz each heard their names called Friday afternoon as they were selected on the second day of the 2007 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

Mathews, a native of Conover, N.C., was selected with the 249th overall pick in the eighth round by the Baltimore Orioles. The redshirt junior led Conference USA with 14 saves, total appearances and relief appearances, while earning first-team All C-USA accolades and being named to the 2007 C-USA All-Tournament Team. On the season he converted 14-of-17 save opportunities, posted a 4-4 record with a 4.50 ERA in 48 innings of work, struck out 61 batters and walked 28. Mathews established a new East Carolina single-season record for appearances (39) and was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s Stopper-of-the-Year Watch list. Last year Mathews was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 26th round with the 776 pick overall.

A 2007 second-team All C-USA infielder, Mollenhauer was taken with the 539th pick overall in the 17th round by the Chicago White Sox. The junior from Gibsonia, Pa., who missed 15 games with a hand injury, led the Bucs with a .329 batting average, belted three home runs, drove in 26 and scored 40 runs. In the field, Mollenhauer moved into second place on the schools all-time assist charts with 486 for his career. He was named to the Collegiate Baseball Foundation National Honor Roll on Mar. 19 after helping the Pirates complete a weekly sweep of Radford and Michigan. He batted .412 on the week, collected multiple hits in three of the four games played and scored six runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the 12th inning against the Wolverines.

Sasser, a lefty from Pikeville, N.C., was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 21st round (pick 637). As a junior, he posted a 5-4 overall record in 17 starts giving up 106 hits in 94.2 innings. He ranked tops among Pirate starters with a 3.52 ERA and was second on the club with 68 strikeouts.

Sasser’s best outing of the year came against Memphis (3/24) when he went seven innings, allowing four hits with six punch-outs in a 12-0 victory. In three years with the Pirates, he has compiled a 12-11 overall record in 53 games (35 starts) with 155 strikeouts in 221.2 innings and posted a 4.06 ERA.

Two future Pirates that signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) to join East Carolina on the diamond for the 2008 season were also drafted on the second day. Sthil Sowers (North Lenoir HS) was taken by the Cleveland Indians (Round 22, pick 677) and Derrick Conaster (Tallahassee Community College) was selected by the Cincinnati Reds (Round 28, pick 859).

Pitcher Jason Neitz was selected in the late round by the San Francisco Giants.

Tyrell Worthington, who signed a NLI to play football at ECU in February, was selected on the first day of the draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth round, pick 163 overall.

With the four Pirates being selected, ECU has now had 18 players drafted since the 2003 season.