Five Trojans Selected In 2017 MLB Draft

Five Trojans Selected In 2017 MLB Draft

Mount Olive, N.C. - For the first time since 2008, the University of Mount Olive baseball team had five players selected in the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The five Trojans picked ties the most taken in the same draft (2008).

Trojans Bruce Zimmermann, Ricky Surum, Zack Mozingo, Austin Hutchison, and Kodi Whitley were all picked within the first 27 rounds of the 40-round draft.

Zimmermann was selected in the fifth round with the 140th overall pick by the Atlanta Braves, becoming the third-highest Trojan pick in the modern draft era. Trojan alums Carter Capps (2011, Seattle Mariners, third round) and Curtis Whitley (1997, Chicago White Sox, fourth round) were also both selected in the top five rounds. The Woodstock, Maryland native was the second NCAA DII player selected in the draft behind the University of Tampa's Garrett Cave, who was selected just 14 picks ahead of the Trojan left-hander.

Zimmermann concluded his senior campaign with Mount Olive with a 9-2 record on the mound with 129 strikeouts, tying Capps' single-season strikeout record. He finished the regular season in second in NCAA DII in total strikeouts, 14th in strikeouts per nine innings, and tied for 12th in total victories. Zimmermann led the Conference Carolinas in strikeouts and was fourth in ERA and wins, while capturing first-team All-Conference Carolinas and ABCA, D2CCA, and NCBWA second-team all-Southeast region honors.

The first Trojan drafted on the third day of the draft, Ricky Surum, was selected in the 16th round with the 482nd overall pick by the New York Yankees. The Atlanta, Georgia native led the Trojans with a .372 batting average with 61 RBI, 12 home runs, 19 doubles, and five triples. Surum was a defensive stalwart in the middle infield as the senior committed only 10 errors in 255 total opportunities and registered 166 assists for a .961 fielding percentage. Surum concluded his Trojan career with first-team All-Conference Carolinas, ABCA and D2CCA second-team all-Southeast region, and NCBWA honorable mention all-Southeast region honors.

With the 679th overall selection in the 23rd round, the Tampa Bay Rays picked Zack Mozingo. The Goldsboro, North Carolina native who was selected as a right-handed pitcher served as the primary closer and provided a solid bat for the Trojans. Mozingo broke the single-season saves record this season, finishing the year with 13, the third-highest in NCAA DII, to go along with a 1.22 ERA. At the plate, the senior hit .338 with 16 home runs, 13 doubles, and 47 RBI. The senior was named All-America by the ABCA, D2CCA, and NCBWA as a relief pitcher, while capturing multiple all-region honors for both pitching and batting.

The fourth Trojan selected in the draft, senior Austin Hutchison was picked in the 26th round with the 783rd overall choice by the Seattle Mariners. The senior was named first-team all-America by the ABCA, D2CCA, and NCBWA, Southeast region pitcher of the year, and the Conference Carolinas pitcher of the year. The Dandridge, Tennessee native finished the season with a 12-1 record and a 1.82 ERA, leading all pitchers nationally in NCAA Division II with 12 victories and finishing fourth nationally with seven complete games this season, breaking the program record for single-season complete games. He also ranked 22nd nationally in NCAA Division II with 97 strikeouts in 94 innings this season.

The final Trojan picked in this year's draft, junior Kodi Whitley was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 814th overall pick in the 27th round. After missing more than a season and a half with an injury, Whitley returned to the mound late in the 2017 regular season, as the Clayton, North Carolina native did not allow an earned run in 5.1 innings, striking out seven.

These five Trojans join four UMO alums, Carter Capps, Jay Gonzalez, Tommy Layne, Jason Morozowski, who are currently in MLB organizations.