Three players from West Virginia college programs were selected Wednesday in the third day of the Major League Baseball draft.
Leading that contingent is Drew Bailey, a 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher from Concord, taken in the 35th round by the Oakland Athletics. The Christiansburg, Va., native was 5-1 with a 4.82 earned-run average for the Mountain Lions in the just-concluded season.
Marshall's Ryan Kiel was taken by Seattle in the 37th round. The 6-4 left-hander from Los Gatos, Calif., struggled this season, going 2-1 with an 8.34 ERA. He started six games in the early portion of the season and came out of the bullpen in Conference USA play.
Wheeling Jesuit lefty Noah Mull had the best season of the three draftees, being named the West Virginia Conference's pitcher of the year. The Wheeling Central grad went 7-1 with a league-best 2.09 ERA, with 81 strikeouts vs. 39 hits and 21 walks in 56 innings pitched.
Mull, who also earned some Division II All-American accolades, was taken by San Diego in the 38th round.
Bailey is a junior, which means he could choose to return to Concord. The other two are seniors.
The Thundering Herd had one junior and one recruit picked in the 21st round Tuesday - pitcher Kevin Shackleford and two-way player Aaron Blair of Spring Valley High in Las Vegas.
That provides those players a dilemma and Herd coach Jeff Waggoner a re-recruiting challenge. Marshall, after years of providing no draft prospects, has had four underclassmen and two recruits picked in the last three drafts.
The decisions, and results, have been mixed. Pitcher Greg Williams turned down a 31st-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2008, started 11 games for the Herd in 2009 and missed the 2010 season.
That year, junior Steve Blevins was picked in the 21st round by the Twins, and signed. He has progressed to Minnesota's high-Class A team in Fort Myers, Fla.
Conversely, center fielder Nate Lape was picked in the 20th round that year by Colorado, but returned to Marshall. He struggled in 2009, went undrafted afterward, and may be completely out of baseball. He is not listed in any minor-league system.
In 2009, the Herd lost junior Dan Straily, who was picked in the 24th round by Oakland. He is toiling for the Athletics' Midwest League team in Kane County, Ill.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.