Fayetteville, Ark. – Arkansas pitcher Jay Sawatski and catcher Brady Toops heard their names called early in the Major League Baseball Draft Monday afternoon.
The Minnesota Twins drafted Sawatski in the eighth round with the 241st pick, while the St. Louis Cardinals selected Toops in the 10th round with the 300th pick.
“This is a great day for Jay and Brady,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “We are all really happy for them.”
A left-handed junior college transfer, Sawatski split time on the mound as a reliever and starter the last two seasons for the Hogs.
Sawatski posted team highs with 10 victories and five saves this season as helped the Razorbacks to a share of the Southeastern Conference title and overall SEC Western Division title.
Sawatski earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors after recording a win and save against then No. 2 LSU earlier this season. Sawatski finished tied with the second most wins and 10th most strikeouts in the SEC in 2004.
The Little Rock, Ark., native has a 13-6 career record with a 3.48 ERA with eight saves. He has 121 career strikeouts including a team-best 79 this season.
“It’s something I’ve worked really hard for and wanted to happen,” Sawatski said. “It’s exciting, but I can’t look too far ahead because our season isn’t over.”
A junior from New London, Minn., Toops provided one of the most memorable moments in Razorback baseball history on Sunday.
With Arkansas needing to beat Wichita State twice in order to advance to the NCAA Super Regional, the Shockers held a 9-7 lead over the Hogs with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning.
On the first pitch he saw, Toops connected for a grand slam home run to propel the Razorbacks to an 11-9 victory. The Razorbacks then beat the Shockers in the second game to advance to the program’s second Super Regional.
Toops led the SEC with 27 base runners thrown out and was second with seven base runners picked off this season. He hit .291 with 29 RBI, four home runs and 15 doubles this season.
For his career, Toops has a .295 batting average with 65 RBI, 24 doubles, eight home runs and 12 stolen bases.
“Brady is solid as a rock,” Van Horn said. “He’s one of the best in the country at throwing runners out. He’s a team leader and a great locker room guy.”
The Razorbacks are currently preparing to host the Florida State Seminoles in the NCAA Super Regional in a best-of-three weekend series beginning Friday, June 11. The winner advances to the College World Series.