Cougar Baseball Trio Drafted

June 10, 2009

NEW YORK - Washington State University pitchers Matt Way and Jeremy Johnson along with catcher Alex Burg were selected in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Wednesday.

The Philadelphia Phillies made Way their fifth round pick, 167th overall. Johnson went to the Cleveland Indians in 13th round, 395th overall, and Burg was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the 24th round, 717th overall.

'I am really happy for these three guys,' WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. 'They all will represent the Cougs in a first-class manner on and off the field.'

Way is the highest selection for WSU since 2000 when third baseman Stefan Bailie was drafted in the fourth round by the Boston Red Sox. Way was the first player taken from a four-year school in the Pacific Northwest.

He is the seventh Cougar to be selected by the Phillies all-time joining outfielder Joe Urbon (17th round, 1989), right-handed pitcher Jason Valley (27th, 1994), right-handed pitcher Kyle Kawabata (30th, 1995), left-handed pitcher Todd Meldahl (15th, 2000), outfielder Jay Miller (17th, 2006) and first baseman Jim Murphy (17th, 2008). Murphy is currently playing in the South Atlantic League (A) for the Lakewood BlueClaws.

A native of Sitka, Alaska, Way was 8-4 with a 2.43 earned run average for the Cougars in 2009. He set a school record for strikeouts in a season with 124 and his 229 career punch outs are sixth all-time at WSU. His ERA was the lowest by a Cougar since Aaron Sele's 2.22 in 1991.

A native of Centralia, Wash., Johnson is the highest WSU right-handed pitcher to be drafted since Bryce Chamberlin was a sixth-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2004.

He is the seventh Cougar all-time to be drafted by the Indians. Left-handed pitcher Rick Austin was a first round pick during the June Secondary Phase in 1968. Other WSU players taken by Cleveland include right-handed pitcher Eric Wilkins (sixth round, 1977), infielder Bruce Chaney (44th, 1979), catcher/first baseman Andy Alvis (33th, 1980), outfielder Brad Wolten (34th, 1986) and right-handed pitcher Ken Day (33rd, 1990)

Johnson was 6-2 with 10 saves and 2.90 ERA in 28 games, all in relief during the 2009 season. His saves and six relief victories are both tied for second on the WSU single-season lists and his appearances are third. Johnson's wins plus saves total of 16 tied a school record held by Joe McIntosh (13 wins/three saves in 1973) and John Olerud (15 wins/one save in 1988).

Burg led Washington State in batting average (.346), slugging percentage (.631), on-base percentage (.469) and OPS (1.100). A transfer from Clemson, Burg played seven different positions for the Cougars during his two-year career in Pullman.

A native of Des Moines, Wash., Burg is the eighth Cougar to be selected by the Giants. Right-handed pitcher Ernie Henrickson was drafted in the seventh round of the 1970 January Secondary Phase. Other Giants' draft picks include outfielder Kelly Smith (13th round, 1980), third baseman Don Long (third, 1983), outfielder John Skurla (19th, 1984), first baseman Mike Meyers (37th, 1987), right-handed pitcher Ed Gustafson (18th, 1989) and Way last season.

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