Four University of California San Diego baseball players were selected on the final day of the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday, marking a program record for the school.
Junior first baseman Tyler Durna (Chino Hills/Ruben S. Ayala HS) was the 15th-round selection of the Chicago Cubs, at No. 458 overall. Senior right-handed relief pitcher Cameron Kurz, a local product out of Encinitas and La Costa Canyon High School, was then chosen in the 18th round, No. 532 overall, by the Atlanta Braves. Senior right-handed pitcher Mitch Hickey was the 28th-round pick (No. 830) of the New York Mets. Ted Stuka, a draft-eligible sophomore right-hander, rounded out the Tritons’ class, going to the Baltimore Orioles in the 39th round (No. 1165).
Huge day for our program and our pitching staff! All deserving, hard working and unreal guys on and off the field. Oh and good students too, strange. We are all proud to be involved in their journey! @ucsdtritons @ucsd_baseball #LIFE #UCSDominate #ucsdbaseball pic.twitter.com/cZIGqwPdsR
— Justin James (@CoachJames_3) June 7, 2018
Seven Tritons have now been chosen in the MLB Draft since Eric Newman took over the program in 2012, with Kyle Goodbrand, Justin Donatella and Dillon Moyer preceding this year’s quartet.
Durna is UC San Diego’s highest selection since former All-American ace Donatella was also a 15th-round choice, of the Arizona Diamondbacks, in 2015 at No. 436 overall. Donatella is now at the Double-A level in the D-backs organization, in Jackson, Tenn.
Durna, Kurz and Stuka have until 2 p.m. Friday July 6 to decide between signing a first professional contract, and returning to UC San Diego to use up their final season of collegiate eligibility (Stuka has two seasons).
Kurz was actually not expected to use that last year prior to the draft, as he was listed as a senior by the end of the 2018 campaign and is set to graduate next week. He is looking to pursue medical school, so on the heels of an incredible season he will have a slightly different decision to make.
This marks just the second time that UC San Diego has had multiple selections in a single draft. The other instance was in 2011 with star right-handed pitchers Guido Knudson and Tim Shibuya. Knudson made it all the way to the major leagues in 2015 with the Detroit Tigers, who drafted him. Shibuya advanced to the Triple-A level in 2015 in the Minnesota Twins organization, which selected him, as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2016 and 2017. Both have since retired.
UC San Diego now has 20 all-time MLB draft selections in its program history.
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