By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – After helping the Tennessee Tech baseball team to the program's first ever back-to-back 40 win seasons, a regular season championship in 2013, and numerous individual awards and honors, three members of the Golden Eagle squad capped off their brilliant careers by hearing their names called on the second day of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
With rounds three through 10 being held on the second day of the three-day, 40-round draft, junior David Hess and seniors Daniel Miles and Brandon Thomasson helped the Ohio Valley Conference make history. For the first time in its over 60 years of existence, the league saw five player taken in the first 10 rounds.
A right-handed pitcher from Tullahoma, Tenn., Hess became the highest drafted Golden Eagle since 1969, going to the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth round with the 151st overall selection. He also became the highest drafted player in the OVC since 2010 when Jacksonville State's Todd Cunningham went in the second round to the Atlanta Braves.
All-American third baseman Daniel Miles was the next Tech player off the board, hearing his name called in the eighth round by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 247th overall pick. Fellow All-American Brandon Thomasson, an outfielder hailing from Royal Palm Beach, Fla., followed closely behind, being taken in the ninth round by the Kansas City Royals with the 273rd overall selection.
The historic day marked the first time the Golden Eagles saw three players taken before the rounds hit double digits. With three players already taken in the first 10 rounds, Tech is just one draftee away from tying the program mark of four taken back in 2010.
With the departure of long-time ace Tristan Archer, Hess was expected to fill a huge role for the Golden Eagle baseball team in 2014, and the junior delivered in a huge way. The right-hander led the OVC with nine wins and 104 strikeouts while also finishing in the top five with a 3.24 ERA, .227 opposing batting average, and 97 and one-third innings pitched. He became just the third Tech pitcher to fan 100 or more batters, tallying the fourth most Ks in the program's single-season history. With 16 starts on the year, he set a Golden Eagle record for most starts in a single season. Hess also moved into third place on the all-time Golden Eagle career strikeout list with over 230 in his career.
A native of Pascagoula, Miss., Miles capped an unreal two-year stop with the Golden Eagles as one of the best third basemen to don the purple and gold. He batted .380 on the year, leading the Tech squad with 90 hits to rank third in single-season history. He also scored 67 runs and belted 11 home runs, giving him 23 on the year to crack the top 10 in Tech career history.
Thomasson finished an incredible two-year stint, clubbing 34 home runs after transferring in as a junior. His 34 long balls sits third all-time in Tech history. He broke the Golden Eagle single-season mark for RBI, driving in 76 on the year, ranking first in the nation. Thomasson also crushed 22 bombs to finish with the second most in one year by a Tech player.
He also cracked the top ten for a single year in at bats (244), runs scored (60), slugging (.721), hits (82), doubles (20), triples (4), home runs (22), and total bases (176).
Both position players garnered Louisville Slugger All-American First Team and All-OVC First Team recognition after proving to be some of the best players in not just the league, but also the nation.