Cumberland Universitys Will Locante was selected in the 11th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks -- the Bulldogs highest draft choice since 2006.
The Memphis native was named Honorable Mention All-America this week by the NAIA after registering an 8-2 record with a 2.11 ERA 81.0 innings of work. The lefthander posted 118 strikeouts and a .179 opponent batting average in 13 starts with eight complete games and a pair of shutouts.
Locante signed with the University of Tennessee out of high school, but transfered to Cumberland for his junior season.
"I left UT because I wanted a chance to pile up some innings. I wanted to chance to start and get into a rhythm," Locante said. "There aren't words to describe my experience at Cumberland. Coach Hunt and the coaching staff are world class coaches and leaders. My team mates were extremely supportive and showed confidence in me. I owe a lot to the elite baseball program at CU."
Locante ranked second in the country in strikeouts per nine innings (13.11) and third in total strikeouts as well as seventh in opponent batting average and eighth in hits allowed per nine innings (5.67).
He was selected 334th overall and is the highest drafted player for the Cumberland program since Aaron Solomon was taken 321st in the 11th round by the Seattle Mariners in 2006.
Chris Smith in 2001 (1st round, Baltimore Orioles, seventh overall selection) is the highest drafted player in program history, while Bud Willis (4th round, Kansas City Royals, 72nd overall, 1986), Greg Strickland (11th round, Atlanta Braves, 352nd overall, 1997) and Solomon are the only other players taken in the Top 11 rounds.
Luis Martinez (12th round, San Diego Padres, 387th overall, 2007) and Lance McClain (12th round, Boston Red Sox, 382nd overall, 2008) were the last Bulldog players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
WEDNESDAY DRAFTEE-- Cumberland University's Cory Farris was selected in the 45th round by the Chicago White Sox in the in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday. Farris is the second Bulldog taken in this year's draft after the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Will Locante in the 11th round on Tuesday.
Farris batted .279 in 62 games this season for CU, starting 50 contests in rightfield and another two behind the plate. The Florence, Ky., native collected nine doubles, 12 home runs and 53 RBIs along with 50 runs scored while starting every contest in 2011. He ranked second on the club in home runs and RBIs and tied for the team-high with two triples.
Farris is the 35th player selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft under head coach Woody Hunt. Farris, like Locante, has one year of collegiate eligibility remaining should be choose to return to Cumberland.
The duo has until April 15 to sign a professional contract; otherwise the selecting team loses the player's rights and they are eligible for the 2012 draft.