BLACKSBURG – Eyes red from crying, Virginia Tech junior shortstop Chad Pinder didn’t feel like discussing his future in professional baseball shortly after what figured to be his final college game.
“We’ll take it when the time comes,” Pinder, the team’s top draft prospect, said after the Hokies’ season-ending 10-4 loss to Oklahoma in the NCAA regionals. “It’s not something I need to think about now. It’s the last thing on my mind.”
Pinder is rated as the 53rd best prospect in this year’s draft by Baseball America and 49th by MLB.com and is projected to go somewhere in the first five rounds of the draft, which begins Thursday.
But all season long, Tech coach Pete Hughes has credited Pinder with his ability to focus on the season and not get caught up in the hype of his pro future.
“You’ve got one of the top prospects in the country sitting here,” Hughes said, motioning towards Pinder. “He could care less about the draft. Could care less about it. All he cares about is Virginia Tech.”
Regional All-Tournament team: Virginia Tech placed six players on the regional all-tournament team Sunday night, as selected by the media: Pinder, third baseman Andrew Rash, outfielders Mark Zagunis and Tyler Horan, pitcher Devin Burke and designated hitter Kyle Wernicki.
Oklahoma, which won the regional, had four players make the team, including outfielder Max White, who was voted the region’s most outstanding player. Catcher Anthony Hermelyn, second baseman Hector Lorenzana and pitcher Jonathan Gray, also made the team from the Sooners.
Connecticut first baseman Bobby Melley was the Huskies’ lone representative. Coastal Carolina didn’t have a player on the all-region squad.
Virginia is for lovers… and Oklahomans: Oklahoma has won two regionals and one super regional in the state of Virginia in the past three years. In 2010, it won a super regional at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Last year, it won a regional at U.Va.
And Sunday, the Sooners won the first-ever regional held in Blacksburg.
“It is a beautiful state,” White said. “It is green everywhere. I actually told my add that he should buy a home in the middle of nowhere and it should be out here – if he wanted to get away.”