AUGUSTA, GA – Four Peach Belt Conference baseball players were selected in the 2018 Major League Baseball first-year player draft. Columbus State’s Justin Evans was taken in the 19thround by the Miami Marlins while Georgia College had three players selected: Logan Mattix in the 25thround by the Houston Astros, Brandt Stallings in the 28thround by the Cincinnati Reds and Brandon Purcell in the 32ndround by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Evans was the 13th pick of the 19th round, and the 567th pick overall. He becomes the 34th player from the CSU program taken in the draft and first since Cameron Griffin was selected in the 34th round in 2013. Evans is also the earliest draft pick from Columbus State since Joey Hiller was taken 487th overall in 1994.
"We're really excited for Justin," head coach Greg Appleton said. "We knew we had a special talent when we signed him three years ago and we've watched him get better every year."
Evans has racked up strong numbers through his first three seasons in a Cougar uniform, playing in 134 games. A three-year starter, Evans held a .281 career average, tallying 133 hits, 20 doubles, five triples and 16 home runs. The shortstop drove in 90 while scoring 128 times. Evans also swiped 67 bases, leading the Cougars each of the last two seasons.
While a shortstop with the Cougars, Evans was drafted as a pitcher by the Marlins. The right-hander served as the closer for CSU in his freshman and junior seasons, making 19 appearances on the mound. Evans held a 6-1 career record with four saves.
This season, Evans was 2-0 with three saves in 11.2 innings of work. He recorded 14 strikeouts against just two walks, and allowed just one run for a 0.77 earned run average.
The first player in program history to be both an Academic All-American and All-American for his play, Mattix was the 2018 Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Player of the Year. He put together an impressive resume this season, including a .400 average, nine home runs, 67 RBIs and 62 runs scored. He was a two-time All-Region selection and the 2018 D2CCA Region Player of the Year.
"We are thrilled for Logan and appreciative to the Houston Astros for their interest in our players," said head coach Jason Eller. "Logan is a tremendous student-athlete with many All-American accolades both on the field and in the classroom. Mattix is a five-tool player and was a centerpiece to back-to-back PBC Tournament Championships. We wish him the best in his journey into professional baseball. A big thank you to scout Bobby St. Pierre for his belief in our program."
Stallings was nothing short of dominant in his one season in blue and green after transferring from Division I Georgia Tech. The All-PBC Second Team slugger compiled a .355 average with seven home runs, 39 RBIs and 35 runs, despite not being a regular starter at the beginning of the season.
"The Cincinnati Reds are getting an outstanding player and person in Brandt," said Eller. "We are very proud that he is a part of Georgia College Baseball and a big piece to our Peach Belt Championship run. Brandt is an exemplary student-athlete and will thrive in professional baseball. A special thank you to John Poloni, the area scout for the Reds and his confidence in our players to be pro-ball ready."
Purcell is a two-time All-PBC pick, going for a .377 batting average, five home runs, 56 RBIs and 64 runs scored as a senior. The catcher was a big part of the nation’s leading defense with zero errors in 399 chances in the field.
“The GC family could not be more excited for Brandon and the opportunity to be a professional that is before him,” said Eller. Purcy is a fantastic baseball player and the teammate that every coach strives to build. Brandon will be a part of one of the classiest organizations in the MLB. GC Baseball is especially thankful for Cardinals scout Charles Petersen and the faith he has in our players to be successful at the Major League level.”
The trio gives the Bobcats MLB draftees in each of the last two seasons, joining Brandon Benson's selection to the Cardinals in 2017. GC Baseball has now had 20 student-athletes chosen in the MLB Draft. The last time the Bobcats had more than one in the same season was 2007, when Andrew Reichard was chosen in the 13th round and Michael Antonini in the 18th.
The Peach Belt has had at least four players taken in the draft for six straight years. 157 PBC players overall have been drafted, 10 of those playing in the major leagues.
|Player||PBC School||Round||Pick||MLB Team|
|Justin Evans||Columbs State||19||567||Miami Marlins|
|Logan Mattix||Georgia College||25||762||Houston Astros|
|Brandt Stallings||Georgia College||28||829||Cincinnati Reds|
|Brandon Purcell||Georgia College||32||963||St. Louis Cardinals|