Bates, Still Taken Early By Red Sox

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Boston Red Sox took NC State's juniors Aaron Bates and Jon Still in back-to-back rounds Tuesday during the first day of Major League Baseball's 2006 First Year (Amateur) Player Draft.

The Red Sox selected Bates in the third round as the 83rd player selected with a pick awarded to them from the Los Angeles Dodgers for the loss of free agent third baseman Bill Mueller. Bates, the Wolfpack's first baseman the last two seasons after coming to Raleigh as a catcher from San Jose State, went in the eighth round to the Florida Marlins a year ago as a draft-eligible sophomore, but opted to return to NC State for his junior season. Although he did not match the .425 batting average he put up in 2005, Bates had a strong season and finished with a flourish, going 10-for-18 at the NCAA Austin Regional to finish the season batting .354 with 10 home runs and 54 RBIs.

The Red Sox took Still in the fourth round as the 133rd overall selection. A transfer from Stetson, Still came to NC State as a catcher but spent most of the season as the Wolfpack's designated hitter. The Red Sox selected Still as a catcher. Still, who went 8-for-18 with two homers at the NCAA Austin Regional, batted .350 with eight home runs and 58 RBIs in his only season at NC State.

Six rounds passed following Still's selection before righthander Sam Walls heard his name called. The Philadelphia Phillies took Walls in the 10th round as the 307th overall pick. The Wolfpack's closer in 2006, Walls posted a 5-4 record, eight saves and a 2.89 ERA.

Junior righthander Gib Hobson, who eliminated regional host and No. 3 national seed Texas in the Austin Regional, was next, the 11th-round pick of the San Francisco Giants as the 326th overall pick. Hobson's late-season heroics included complete-game victories over North Carolina in the ACC Tournament and Texas in the Austin Regional. Both the Tar Heels and Longhorns were ranked in the national top five at the time. Hobson finished the year with a 10-2 record and a 4.74 ERA.

Jonathan Diaz, NC State's acrobatic shortstop, became Toronto's 12th-round pick, the 360th player taken in the draft. Although Diaz hit just .255 as a junior, his often-spectacular defense proved to be too much for the Blue Jays to pass on. Diaz saved the Wolfpack's elimination game vs. UT-Arlington in the Austin Regional with several incredible plays, and has been a three-year highlight reel for the Pack defensively.

The Chicago Cubs made senior center fielder Matt Camp their 13th-round selection. Camp rebounded from a sub-par junior season to earn third-team All-America honors as a senior by hitting .387 with 22 doubles, two home runs, 46 RBIs, 64 runs scored and nine stolen bases. In nine postseason games, including the ACC Tournament and NCAA Austin Regional, Camp batted .375 (15-for-40) with four doubles, one triple, seven RBIs and nine runs scored. He wound up fifth in NC State history in hits and runs scored, and this season became just the fifth player in school history to record 100 or more hits in a season.

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