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Pair of Auburn Tigers get the call

Published 8:56pm Saturday, June 8, 2013

Special to the Herald / Auburn Sports Information

AUBURN, Ala. – Junior pitcher Conner Kendrick was selected by the New York Yankees in the ninth round of Friday’s MLB Draft. Auburnlogo

Kendrick, a left-handed pitcher from Sharpsburg, Ga., has been at Auburn for just one season after transferring from Northwest Florida State College. In 19 games (nine starts), Kendrick went 5-3 with a 2.13 ERA in 80 1/3 innings, leading the staff with 75 strike outs. Prior to Auburn, Kendrick went 5-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts) at Northwest Florida State College. He originally signed with Georgia Tech, where he threw seven innings and had a 2.57 ERA in 2011.

New York’s selection marked the first time Kendrick has been drafted in his career. Kendrick joined Garrett Cooper as Auburn draftees on Friday.

The Yankees have previously drafted SS Edwin Long (1966, fifth round), LHP Mark Shiflet (1981, 27th Rd), C Jeff Livesey (1988, 13th Rd), LHP Tommy Carter (1991, seventh round), OF Andy Albrecht (1991, 13th Rd), 1B Todd Faulkner (2001, 22nd Rd), 1B Karl Amonite (2005, 13th Rd) and UTIL Luke Greinke (2008, 12th Rd) out of Auburn.

Auburn has now had at least one player drafted in 39 consecutive drafts, dating back to 1975, which is tied with Arkansas for the second-longest streak in the SEC behind only Georgia.

Cooper was the first Tiger taken during the weekend’s three-day draft. A first baseman, Cooper was pick No. 182 overall and extended Auburn’s run of MLB selections to 39 consecutive drafts, dating to the 1975 season.

“This is probably one of the better feelings I have had in my life,” Cooper said. “My advisor called me and the Brewers took me right on the spot. I didn’t even have time to think about it.”

A Second Team All-SEC selection in 2013, Cooper finished the season hitting .354, which was seventh among SEC players at the end of the regular season. He also finished the year among the league leaders in overall slugging percentage (.540, sixth), on base percentage (.481, second), home runs (seven, tied for seventh), total bases (102, tied for 13th) and walks (37, tied for third). His on base percentage ranks ninth all-time in Auburn history for a single season.

“After my junior year and getting hurt at the end of the year I wanted to put on weight and thought that would pay dividends in my senior year,” Cooper said. “I think it helped, hitting over .350 with seven bombs. We ended the season on a sour note but for myself I felt like I had a great season and that showed with the draft this year.”

A transfer from El Camino Community College prior to the 2012 season, the Manhattan Beach, Calif., native hit .340 during his two-year stay at Auburn. In 105 games he collected 21 doubles, one triple and 12 home runs, driving in 68 RBI and scoring 66 runs. He finished his career with a .503 slugging percentage and a .452 on base percentage. Defensively he had a career .989 fielding percentage.

Cooper is Auburn’s highest draft pick since Dan Gamache was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates with pick No. 182 in the 2011 MLB Draft.

Milwaukee’s selection of Cooper marked the first time he has been drafted in his career. Milwaukee had selected five Auburn players prior to the Cooper selection: LHP Monte Sharp (1965, 22nd Rd.), LHP Richard Nance (1970, 2nd Rd. June Secondary Phase), RHP Mark Chapman (1987, 18th Rd.), RHP Scott Sullivan (1992, 39th Rd. – Did Not Sign) and IF Hunter Morris (2010, 4th Rd.).

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