By Adam Brown
Three Ole Miss baseball players were selected Tuesday on the second day of the 2019 MLB Draft: Will Ethridge, Thomas Dillard and Cooper Johnson.
Ethridge and Dillard both landed with teams in the fifth round. The Colorado Rockies selected Ethridge and Dillard went with the Milwaukee Brewers. One round later Johnson found a spot with the Detroit Tigers.
Ethridge has filled the Friday night starter role for the Rebels and was previously drafted out of high school in the 35th Round by the Seattle Mariners. After three outstanding years on the hill in Oxford, Ethridge moved up 30 rounds and was selected No. 159 overall by the Rockies. He joins 2018 first-round draft pick Ryan Rolison as the second Rebel pitcher drafted by Colorado in the past two seasons. A junior out of Lilburn, Georgia, he was a Freshman All-American. He enters the NCAA Super Regionals with a 7-6 record and a 2.91 ERA, striking out 71 while walking just 22 in 16 appearances (15 starts) this season. Ethridge is currently riding a 24-inning streak without issuing a walk.
Dillard has put together a terrific season for the Rebels as well. He exited the NCAA Oxford Regional hitting .312 on the season with 57 runs scored, 60 RBIs, 10 doubles and 13 home runs. One of college baseball’s most feared hitters, Dillard has drawn 58 walks this season compared to just 50 strikeouts. The 58 walks have Dillard at No. 2 in Ole Miss history for a single season. He’s also second for career walks at 132, just three shy of the program record.
Johnson has earned the reputation of being one of college baseball’s best defensive catchers. He has thrown out 18 baserunners this season while allowing just 23 steals, good enough to earn SEC All-Defensive Team honors in 2019. A junior out of Mundelein, Illinois, Johnson was also named to the All-SEC Second Team. He’s hitting .265 on the season with 38 runs scored, 12 doubles, seven home runs and 30 RBIs in 60 games played.
The Rebels return to action on Saturday in the Super Regionals against the Arkansas Razorbacks. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. on ESPN.