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June 7, 2014

Three Gamecocks selected in MLB Draft day two



USC junior catcher Grayson Greiner, junior pitcher Jordan Montgomery and junior third baseman Joey Pankake were each selected by MLB teams in day two of the MLB Draft Friday.

Several USC players, including junior pitchers Joel Seddon and Cody Mincey, junior outfielders Tanner English and Connor Bright, junior first baseman Kyle Martin and senior designated hitter Brison Celek, could hear their names called before the draft ends as well.

Greiner, a 6-foot-5 catcher from Columbia, was the first Gamecock selected. The 2013-14 USC Co-Male Student-Athlete of the Year was taken in the third round with the 99th overall pick by the Detroit Tigers.

"Never thought I'd see the day where I'm a Tiger!," Greiner tweeted right after the announcement. "So blessed to have so many friends and family to watch my dream come true."

Greiner was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award - awarded to the nation's best catcher - and was on USA Baseball's Midseason Watch List for the Golden Spikes Award. He batted .311 with eight home runs, 13 doubles, 50 RBI and 39 runs scored in his junior season, finishing second on the team in hitting.

He also excelled behind the plate. Greiner earned a spot on the SEC's All-Defensive team this season, and finished with a .994 fielding percentage at USC, the best in school history by a catcher. He had just seven errors in three years as the starting catcher.

The slot bonus for the No. 99 pick is $529,400.

Junior left-hander Jordan Montgomery was the next USC player to see his name called. The 6-foot-5 Sumter, South Carolina, native was picked up by the Yankees in the fourth round with the No. 122 overall pick.

The selection makes him the second dominant USC left-hander taken by the Yankees in as many years, as former South Carolina closer Tyler Webb was nabbed by New York in the 10th round of the 2013 MLB Draft.

"Excited to get drafted by the @Yankees today!" Montgomery tweeted after being selected. "Guess I'll acquire a taste for unsweetened tea."

Montgomery went 8-5 this season with a 3.42 ERA and a team-high 95 strikeouts. He became one of 22 USC pitchers to reach the 20-win mark for a career, going 20-7 in three years as a starer.

But his best outings came in the postseason. Montgomery went 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA for his postseason career, allowing just four runs on 20 hits in 38.2 innings.

The slot bonus for the No. 122 pick is $424,000.

Joey Pankake was the third and final South Carolina player selected in day two of the MLB Draft. The Easley, South Carolina, native was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the seventh round with the No. 220 pick.

"Well they just couldn't keep us apart @ggreiner21," Pankake tweeted to Greiner after the selection. The two players were roommates at USC, along with Tanner English and Joel Seddon, before being drafted by the same team Friday.

Pankake, in his first year at third base, earned an All-SEC Defensive Team selection this season. But where Pankake, who played shortstop for the first two years of his career before moving to third, really excelled was at the plate.

Pankake batted .303 in his junior season with five homers and 31 RBI, finishing fourth on the team in hitting. He also had a team-high 52 runs scored.

The slot bonus for the No. 220 pick is $165,000.

The MLB Draft resumes Saturday, beginning with the 11th round at 1:05 p.m.



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