Tulane’s Hunt selected in first round of MLB draft

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 6, 2008

NEW ORLEANS, La.–After establishing himself as one of the best pitchers in the history of Tulane University baseball over the past two years, Green Wave standout Shooter Hunt was drafted with the supplemental first round by the Minnesota Twins on Thursday in day one of the 2008 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

A native of Wyckoff, N.J., Hunt was the first selection of the supplemental first round, going 31st overall to the Twins. He becomes the sixth first-round selection in Tulane history and the fifth under 15th-year head coach Rick Jones, joining Frank Wills (1980, RHP, Pick 16, Kansas City), Jason Fitzgerald (1997, OF, Pick 41, Cleveland), Jake Gautreau (2001, 3B, 14th Pick, San Diego), Michael Aubrey (2003, 1B, 11th Pick, Cleveland) and Brian Bogusevic (2005, LHP, 24th Pick, Houston).

“At the end of the day, getting picked was all that matters,” Hunt said. “(Minnesota) is a great organization, it’s a great fit for me and I want to do my best for the Twins. Playing at Tulane is like playing Double-A baseball. We played great competition and it’s a great school. The coaches put in the extra effort to help get you better, and that helped me greatly. I just want to thank everyone at Tulane – the coaches, my teammates and their families, as well as the fans – for giving me a chance to improve myself as a person and player.”

Hunt becomes the eighth Tulane student-athlete selected by the Twins since the modern draft in 1965, joining catcher Mark Maher (7th Round, 1978), third baseman David Stokes (7th Round, 1979), outfielder Brian Butera (4th Round, January Phase, 1980), catcher Steve Riley (25th Round, 1984), outfielder David Smith (5th Round, 1987), pitcher Henry Bonilla (8th Round, 2000) and closer Daniel Latham (15th Round, 2007).

As a junior with the Green Wave, Hunt claimed second-team Louisville Slugger All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball Magazine, was named 2008 Conference USA Pitcher of the Year and claimed a spot on the All C-USA first team after leading the team and the league in opponent batting average (.175), total strikeouts (126), strikeouts looking (48) and innings pitched (100.2). He also led the team and is tied for the C-USA mark in wins (nine) while pacing the club and finishing second in the conference with a 2.68 ERA.

“I’m happy for him,” Jones said. “I’m a little disappointed he fell to the 31st overall pick, but at the same time, he is an undrafted guy who came here and just got better and better. It’s because of his work ethic and his attention to detail, and Coach Sutter working with him every day. Any time you have a guy who comes to Tulane, is a great student, and then gets an opportunity to cash in on a payday and pursue his professional career, that’s a good day.”

Hunt was also named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award by USA Baseball, The Dick Howser Trophy by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, the Brooks Wallace Award by the College Baseball Foundation, and the Roger Clemens Award by the Greater Houston Baseball Association in 2008. He ranks fifth in the NCAA in hits allowed per nine innings (5.54) and total strikeouts, 12th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.26), 26th in wins and 44th in ERA.

He tallied eight or more strikeouts on 10 occasions this season, including four double-digit K totals and a season-high 12 strikeouts against Southern Miss on April 18 and at Memphis on April 25. Hunt held opponents to three or fewer hits nine times, including a one-hit, no-walk, 11-strikeout performance in 7.0 innings against UC Irvine on March 7. He did not allow an earned run on four occasions and held opponents to one earned run two other times.

Hunt was named C-USA Pitcher of the Week three times as a junior (March 10, March 17 and May 12), Louisiana Sports Writers Association Pitcher of the Week twice (April 21 and May 12) and CollegeBaseballInsider.com Central Region Pitcher of the Week once (March 10).

 Following a stellar prep career at Ramapo High, Hunt originally enrolled as a pitcher/catcher at the University of Virginia before transferring to Tulane in the summer of 2006. In two seasons with the Green Wave, he posted a combined 15-10 record, and a 2.65 ERA.

and a .204 opponent batting average.

He started 31 of the 32 games he appeared in during his Tulane career, during which time he posted a 10.33 strikeout-per-nine-inning average and a 2.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio after fanning 230 batters and walking just 86 in 200.1 innings of work.

His .175 opponent batting average in 2008 is a Tulane single-season record, surpassing the former mark of .203 set by Jason Navarro in 1997, and is fifth in strikeout-per-nine-inning average (11.26). Hunt’s .204 career opponent batting average also tops Navarro’s former school record of .224 (1995-97) and also ranks fifth in Tulane career history in K/9 and is seventh in career ERA.

The 2008 MLB Draft continues today through 8 p.m. and picks up again tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. The Draft is slated to go 50 rounds and will conclude on Friday.