Viehoff, Valdespina, Cruz Selected in MLB Draft

Viehoff, Valdespina, Cruz Selected in MLB Draft

SECAUCUS, N.J. Senior Tim Viehoff (Derry, N.H.), sophomore Justin Valdespina (Garfield, N.J.) and junior Manny Cruz (Wolcott, Conn.) of the Southern New Hampshire University baseball team were selected in the 12th, 15th and 23rd rounds of the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft, respectively, Saturday.

Viehoff, Valdespina and Cruz become the ninth, 10th and 11th players ever to be drafted out of SNHU, including the eighth, ninth and 10th under head coach Scott Loiseau.

Viehoff was chosen by the Seattle Mariners with the 11th pick of the 12th round and the 357th overall choice. Viehoff is the first Penmen to go in the draft since Riley Palmer (931st pick) and Derrick Sylvester (939th pick) went in the 31st round to the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers, respectively, in 2014. Viehoff is also the highest pick ever for the Penmen, surpassing Jason Paul, who was selected in the 15th round, 461st overall, by the Atlanta Braves in 2004.

Valdespina was tabbed by the Colorado Rockies with the fourth pick of the 15th round and the 440th overall selection to become the second-highest drafted player in program history. Cruz was taken by the Cincinnati Reds with the second pick of the 23rd round and the 678th selection overall and is now the sixth-highest pick ever for the Penmen.

Viehoff, who was chosen as a Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-America Third Team and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) All-America Honorable Mention this season, also earned American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings East All-Region First Team, Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) East Region Pitcher of the Year, D2CCA East All-Region First Team, NCBWA East Pitcher of the Year, NCBWA East All-Region First Team, Northeast-10 Pitcher of the Year and NE-10 All-Conference First Team honors this spring.

Viehoff finished 8-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 14 starts. Over 92 innings, the lefty gave up 53 hits, while striking out 115 and walking just 29. Over six outings from March 26-April 24, Viehoff, who has limited the opposition to just a .165 batting average this season, went 5-0 with a microscopic 0.42 ERA and 59 strikeouts in just 43 innings. Viehoff finished the regular season tied for second in the conference in wins and ranked third in both ERA and strikeouts. For his career, Viehoff went 17-6 with a 2.38 ERA in 34 appearances, including 28 starts. He struck out 238 and walked just 69 over 181-and-a-third-innings.

Valdespina, an ABCA East, D2CCA East and NE-10 Second Teamer, went 10-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 13 starts for the Penmen this season. The right-hander allowed just 73 hits, while punching out 91 and walking 22 over 81 innings. Valdespina, who matched teammate Alex Person (Foxboro, Mass.) for the program record for wins in a season, ranked second in the conference in wins, fourth in strikeouts and 11th in ERA. Valdespina went 12-4 with a 3.20 ERA in 20 career appearances, including 16 starts, as he fanned 116 and walked 33 in 107 innings.

In 57 contests this season, Cruz posted a .373 batting average (79-212), to go along with three home runs, 39 RBI and a school-record 68 runs scored. Cruz paced the league in runs and walks, while ranking third in batting and OBP, fourth in hits and eighth in doubles and total bases. The slick-fielding shortstop also led the NE-10 in assists and was second in double plays turned. Cruz has received ABCA East Second Team, D2CCA East Second Team, NCBWA East Honorable Mention and NE-10 Second Team honors this season. In 154 career contests, Cruz batted .327 with six home runs, 97 RBI and 146 runs scored. Cruz, who racked up 193 hits in 591 at bats, recorded a .427 on-base percentage and .437 slugging mark for an .864 OPS.

The Penmen still hope to see junior Carson Helms (Farmington, Conn.), as well as graduate students Mike Mastroberti (Ramsey, N.J.) and Ryan Gendron (Nashua, N.H.), come off the board Saturday.

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