NEW YORK – University of Pittsburgh ace Josh Falk was the first Panther selected in the 2017 MLB First Year Player Draft Wednesday afternoon, as the Oakland Athletics called upon the senior in the 17th round.
Falk’s selection marks the fifth straight year the Panthers have had at least one player taken in the draft, as he is the 12th player selected rom Pitt in the last four years. He is the first player to be selected by Oakland since Mark Berube was taken in the 28th round of the 2015 draft.
“I threw my first baseball to my father when I was four years old, and from that day on I grew to love the game of baseball more and more every day,” said Falk. “I am grateful to my family and the University of Pittsburgh for helping me get one step closer to living my dream of playing baseball in the major leagues. Hail to Pitt!”
Falk was the ace of the Panther staff this season, ranking amongst the best pitcher in the ACC. He finished the season with a 3.92 ERA, competing to a record of 3-7 in 14 appearances. In his 85.0 innings pitched, he allowed just 37 earned runs off 71 hits and 31 walks. Falk held batters to a miniscule .228 average, striking out 75, which ranks in a tie for 19th in a single season by a Pitt pitcher.
“Josh stepped up in a big way this year,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “He threw some incredible games for us and was an intense competitor from the day he stepped on campus. I am very confident that Josh will do very well at the professional level. He is smart, calm and can throw three pitches for strikes. That translates into productive careers.”
A native of Tampa, Fla., Falk pitched two seasons with the Panthers after transferring from Hillsborough Community College prior to his junior season. He owns a career 6-14 record with a 4.29 ERA, having thrown 151.0 innings, surrendering 72 earned runs off 146 hits and 56 walks, striking out 110 and holding opponents to a .256 average.
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