Ben Taylor Selected In MLB Draft; Softball Finishes #23 In Final Poll
Jaguar baseball right-hander Ben Taylor was selected in the seventh round of the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday by the Boston Red Sox. He was the 201st overall selection in the draft and just the second pitcher taken by the Red Sox.
Boston chose Tayler with their seix pick in the draft which was the sixth pick in the seventh round.
Taylor was a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection as a relief pitcher this past season with a 6-3 record, 1.48 ERA and seven saves in 25 relief appearances. He struck out 68 batters with only 13 walks in 42 2/3 innings pitched. In his 13 appearances against SBC teams he was 4-2 with three saves and a 1.12 ERA while striking out 44 with only six walks in 24 innings.
Taylor finished his senior season ranked fifth in the conference in saves and tied for fifth in wins while helping the Jaguars to a 3.22 ERA which was tops in the conference, held opposing batters to a .242 batting avarage as a team and the most strikeouts in the conference with 474.
“It’s unbelievable,” Taylor said. “It’s been a dream of mine to play professional baseball my entire life. I can’t put into words what it’s like to now have the opportunity. It’s huge to become a part of an organization with as much tradition and history as they have, and I just want to go in and make them happy and provide for the team. It’s crazy to think that I will be putting on the same uniform that so many other greats have through the years.”
“I made the transition from starting pitcher to the bullpen during my two years at South Alabama,” he said. “I’m not sure what the Red Sox are going to want me to do in the organization; I might be a starting pitcher again. But during my time at USA, I had a change in mentality that made me a better pitcher. I have become more ferocious on the mound with more of a bulldog mentality – just getting after guys and using my stuff with confidence. That’s something Coach (Mark) Calvi and Coach (Bob) Keller have really helped me with. They have helped make me a much better pitcher.”
The Jaguar Softball team finished ranked #23 in the final USA Today/NCFA poll and #28 in RPI. Florida repeated as the National Champion after defeating Michgan twice in the best of three championship series.
Sophomore Chloe Rathburn who helped lead the Jaguar team to the Sun Belt Conference championship this past season was granted her release from the team after the season because, as she told the USA Vanguard student newspaper, that she wanted to play somewhere closer to home. She posted on social media and it was reported last week by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she has transferred to Missouri in the Southeastern Conference.
Rathburn, a catcher and infielder, regularly served as the Jaguars designated player. She helped the team to a 40-13 regular season record with a .371 batting average and a school-record 53 RBIs while earning first-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors the last two seasons.
Rathburn will be eligible to play in the 2016 season for the Tigers and will have two years of eligibility remaining. Missouri finished 42-16 this season. They were defeated by UCLA in the NCAA super-regional.