The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Eastern Michigan University catcher Matt Skirving in the 30th round of last weeks’ Major League Baseball draft.
Skirving was taken 897th overall and is the third player to be drafted under second-year coach Jay Alexander.
Skirving, a junior captain, had a .259 batting average (53-205) and led the team with 17 doubles. He added six home runs and 28 RBIs during the season but said his personal statistics were disappointing when compared to his previous season, when he batted .348 with 16 home runs and 64 RBIs.
“I knew getting drafted was a possibility because I have been hearing from scouts all season long,” Skirving said. “I’m just excited in general to get a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream.”
Skirving, from Midland, said he and his family are in contract talks now with the Pirates, and if everything works out he hopes to be playing minor league baseball this week.
“He has all the tools to be successful, he just has to put it all together,” Alexander said.
Skirving said Alexander talked with him about being drafted and helped him and his family learn what to expect in the coming months.
“He handled me like a minor league player,” Skirving said. “He coached me, but he let me figure things out for myself and make my own adjustments.”
Marshall headed to Traverse City.
Alexander said it’s hard to pick one player who did the most for the team, but hands-down the MVP for the season was senior catcher Andrew Marshall.
Marshall, who recently signed a free-agent contract to play with the Traverse City Beach Bums in the Independent Frontier League, finished the season with a .320 (66-for-206) batting average with nine doubles, 10 home runs and 45 RBI. He leaves EMU ranked third in career home runs with 37.
“He is very good at making adjustments, he will be fine,” Alexander said.
Season in review
The team wrapped up its season, losing 9-8 in the 10th inning to Kent State in the Mid-American Conference tournament semifinals May 29. It is the second year in a row EMU exits the tournament with a 2-2 record. The Eagles finished 27-32 and 13-14 in the MAC.
“I was happy with our effort in the playoffs,” Alexander said. “We didn’t compete sometimes in the regular season, but we overcame adversity and played well in the MAC tournament.”
Alexander said the most improved players of this season were sophomore Brent Ohrman, who led the team with 11 stolen bases, and senior infielder Aaron Crooks, who hit his first home run in 2010.
Alexander has a few new players to help fill the void left by Skirving, Marshall and Todd Graves. He signed freshman Adam Dennison from Ohio and junior college transfers Kyle Peterson from Arizona, and Matt Hitt, from Illinois.
The coach said he can’t thank the players enough for how hard they played this season and was truly impressed with the way his team finished the season.
“We have momentum now going into next season,” he said.