The 2006 college baseball season officially ended on Monday night with Oregon State winning the national championship over North Carolina. Jonah Nickerson (7) made his third start in a week for the Beavers, and he turned in another stellar outing. Nickerson went 6 2/3 innings, allowed six hits and two unearned runs. He walked one and struck out seven, but didn't figure in the decision.
With the game tied at 2-2 in the eighth inning, Andrew Miller (1) came on in relief of UNC starter Daniel Bard. With two runners on and two out, Miller got Ryan Gipson to hit a routine ground ball to second base, but the throw to first was a poor one, and the Beavers took the lead for good. That would be the lone batter Miller pitched to.
Nickerson earned Most Outstanding Player honors after going 2-0 with a 0.83 ERA. He worked 21 1/3 innings and surrendered just 12 hits and just two earned runs (four total). He walked four and fanned 19, but threw 323 pitches in his three outings. Should Nickerson sign quickly, I would fully expect the Tigers to give him very limited innings, due to his heavy workload.
The Tigers can also begin negotiations in earnest with Miller, and it will be interesting if Jeff Samardzija's 7.25 million dollar deal comes into play as a reference point during negotiations.
It appears the Tigers will be unable to persuade two of their senior draft picks away from their academic endeavors.
After tying the school record for most victories in a season at Kansas with 10 as a junior, Kodiak Quick (33) broke that record this spring with 11, but after sliding well into the second day of the draft, Quick has yet to sign and is reportedly looking at getting his career outside of baseball started.
Baylor's Ryan LaMotta was taken four rounds later after going 7-6 with a 3.73 ERA in 16 games as the Bears' Friday starter. LaMotta also did good work as a reliever, racking up 13 saves during his career at Baylor, but like Quick, LaMotta was disappointed with his draft position, and will head back to school to get his MBA in business.
With the bad news comes some potential good news. It looks like the Tigers will add a solid draft-and-follow to their class. Catcher Franco Valdes (15) was seen extensively by scouts at Monsignor Pace High School this spring, who also came to see first-rounders Chris Marrero and Adrian Cardenas.
Valdes was one of the youngest players available in the draft pool, having turned 17 in February, and he will take his solid defensive skills and power bat from both sides of the plate to Broward Community College, instead of Florida International.
The youngster is getting a head start in seeing college pitching this summer, playing for the Vienna Senators in the Clark Griffith League. Valdes is 3-for-14 with a home run in his limited time so far.