Draft Roundup: Mark Holliman

OXFORD, Miss. - With their third overall pick in this year's draft, the Cubs chose junior right-hander Mark Holliman out of Ole Miss on Tuesday. Holliman, 8-4 in 17 starts with a 3.85 ERA and 117 strikeouts this season, met with Inside The Ivy shortly after his selection this week.

"I was sitting on the couch with my girlfriend, listening to all the names being called," Holliman said. "All the anticipation was growing, and then the Cubs called my name. I was pumped."

The 21-year-old Germantown, Tenn., native was originally drafted in the 41st round by the Cubs out of high school in 2002. He of course opted for college, but it's worth noting Holliman's good standing with the Cubs' organization.

"I just felt that coming here to Oxford would give me an opportunity to mature a bit," Holliman said. "I have a great relationship with the Cubs and we have always been on good terms."

The eighth-ranked Rebels are currently two wins away from a trip to the College World Series in Omaha. They will meet Texas in a best-of-three series starting Saturday in Oxford. It's an opportunity Holliman wouldn't have passed up for any of the dollars he might have gotten by signing straight out of high school.

"The opportunity to go to Omaha is obviously something you can't have if you go straight to pro ball," Holliman said. "It has been an awesome experience playing in the Southeastern Conference. It (the College World Series) is right around the corner and we have a good chance."

Holliman has thrown 110 innings this season, averaging one strikeout per frame. He won preseason third team All-American honors by Collegiate Baseball this year and was first-team all SEC in 2004.

With another five strikeouts, Holliman will break the all-time school record of 282, set in 1979-80 by left-hander Jeff Calhoun, who went on to be a major league reliever for the Astros and Phillies.

In terms of repertoire, Holliman said: "I throw a four-seem and two-seem fastball, a curveball, slider, and changeup. Usually the four-seem fastball averages around 90 and 91 mph. My out-pitch has to be my slider. It has the regular break, sometimes a bit more than others."

Since joining the Rebels out of high school, Holliman has been guided by Mississippi Head Coach Mike Bianco and assistant Kyle Bunn, the team's pitching specialist. Holliman gives both a lot of credit for his success at the college level and where he is today.

"Coach Bianco is really knowledgeable and a great college coach," said Holliman. "He and Coach Bunn do a great job with the players and with all of the game's aspects."

Holliman was one of six Rebel players to be selected on day one of the draft. On day two, two more were chosen by major league teams.

Said Holliman of the possibility of signing with the Cubs this time around: "I haven't talked to them about it yet. I received a congratulatory phone call from them after I was drafted. We really haven't talked about anything else. All of that will be done after my season here."

As for now, Holliman is on cloud nine in regards to his future.

"Everyone here is really excited just to get the opportunity to play pro ball," Holliman said. "It's a great feeling. We've set a lot of records here, and not only team records but individual records. We've always enjoyed playing here.

"It's been a lot of fun."

Bio for Mark Holliman available HERE, courtesy of UM Media Relations.

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