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Five ETSU players taken in MLB Draft

Johnson City Press • Updated Jun 12, 2016 at 9:41 AM

The Pittsburgh Pirates must like the mascot affiliation with East Tennessee State.

Five Buc players were taken, including three by the Pirates, over the last three days in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft, which concluded Saturday.

Sophomore catcher Hagen Oweby was the first ETSU player picked by the Pirates. He was taken in Saturday's 14th round with the 435th pick.

Junior shortstop Chris Cook was the next called, in the 30th round at 915, and sophomore outfielder Aaron Maher went in the 38th at 1155.

Senior second baseman Trey York was taken in Friday's ninth round by the Milwaukee Brewers, and ETSU signee Dylan Bice was picked in the 23rd round at 699 by the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

The last time ETSU had five players drafted was 2006 when Stephen Douglas (16th round by Cleveland), Steven Calicutt (21st round by San Francisco), Chuck Hargis (23rd round by Cleveland), Shane Byrne (25th round by Arizona) and Jeremy Hall (27th round by Miami Marlins) were all selected.

Owenby, a second team Louisville Slugger All-American and first team All-Southern Conference player, led ETSU with a .374 batting average, 88 hits, 17 home runs and .660 slugging percentage. He also scored 46 runs and drove in 60 in 57 starts this season. His 88 hits this season were the most by an ETSU player since 2010 when Paul Hoilman finished with 99 and Bo Reeder hit 89.

Owenby was the SoCon player of the month in may and received Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week honors after hitting .650 with home runs in all three games of a series sweep over VMI from April 29 to May 1.

Cook, a preseason All-SoCon selection, got off to fast start before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury on March 5. He hit .351 (13 for 37) with a double, three triples, seven runs and five RBIs in nine games.

Last year, Cook led the Bucs with 77 hits and tied for the team lead with 55 runs scored, while starting 55 games. He hit .338 with 12 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 40 RBIs, as well as making four relief appearances in 2015.

Maher took over as ETSU's everyday left fielder and hit primarily in the four-hole this year. He batted .315 (69 for 219) with 15 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 48 runs and 38 RBIs in 56 starts. Maher had a 13-game hit streak in April and finished with 22 multi-hit games, including a 4 for 4 effort in a win over UNC-Asheville on March 2. He also hit a walk-off, three-run homer in a 9-8 win over Purdue on March 5.

Bice, a right-handed pitcher from Heritage High School out of Ringgold, Ga., signed his with the Bucs on Nov. 18. PerfectGame pegged Bice as the eighth best high school pitcher in Georgia and the 132nd best pitcher in the country. This season Bice earned Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and second team all-region honors. In addition to baseball, Bice played basketball and football at Heritage.

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