On the same evening the fourth-ranked Louisville baseball team was opening its NCAA Super Regional against Kennesaw State, senior outfielders and captains Jeff Gardner and Cole Sturgeon were selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Less than an hour before first pitch between the Cardinals and Owls, Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) was taken 244th overall in the eighth round by the Washington Nationals. With Friday’s game in the bottom of the second inning, Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.) was chosen 314th overall in the 10th round by the Boston Red Sox. Overall, three Louisville players have been selected in the first 10 rounds as Gardner and Sturgeon joined junior righty Nick Burdi, who was taken 46th overall in the second round by the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
A Louisville Slugger Second Team All-American and the 2014 American Conference Player of the Year, Gardner entered the NCAA Super Regional hitting .326 with nine home runs, 67 RBI, 20 doubles and a .551 slugging percentage in 61 starts. A three-time All-Conference selection, Gardner has a .323 career average with 23 home runs, 157 RBI and 53 doubles in 175 starts and 214 games played in four seasons with the Cardinals.
A three-time all-conference selection, Sturgeon started all 63 games in the outfield while also making 24 relief appearances on the mound entering Friday night. At the plate, Sturgeon hit .325 with 57 runs scored, 16 doubles and 18 stolen bases, while on the mound, he was 3-0 with one save, a 2.06 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 35.0 innings pitched. In his career, Sturgeon ranks fifth in games played (229), ninth in stolen bases (43) and 10th in hits with 251.
Following the completion of the first 10 rounds on Thursday and Friday, the 2014 MLB Draft will conclude on Saturday at 1 p.m., with rounds 11-40.
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