06/09/10 — Orioles' pick MOC's Nowak

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Orioles' pick MOC's Nowak

By From staff reports
Published in Sports on June 9, 2010 11:25 AM


Sports Information

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive College outfielder Jeremy Nowak was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 13th round Tuesday during day two of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, held annually by Major League Baseball.

Nowak's selection marks the fourth consecutive year at least one Trojan player has been picked in the draft, including a school-record five draft picks in 2008.

A senior from Cheektowaga, N.Y., Nowak transferred to Mount Olive for his final year of collegiate eligibility and rewrote the Trojan record book along with making his mark in the NCAA record book. He opened the season with a 35-game hitting streak, the second-longest hitting streak in NCAA Division II baseball history to start a season and tied for the 13th longest overall.

Nowak set school single-season records with a .446 batting average and 99 hits. He also finished with 17 home runs, 75 runs scored and 81 runs batted in.

A first-team All-American selection by the NCBWA and a top-12 finalist for the 2010 Ping! Baseball Tino Martinez Division II player-of-the-year award, Nowak earned A-A accolades from three different organizations. He was the 2010 Conference Carolinas co-player-of-the-year.

Nowak hasn't been informed yet when and where he'll report.

"They told me to enjoy the day and we'll talk about it tomorrow," said Nowak.

Nowak took part in a workout last week at Camden Yards, the Orioles' home park.

"I had a lengthy talk with the scout during the workout and they (the Orioles) seemed to have some interest," said Nowak, the 388th player selected in the draft.

Nowak transferred to Mount Olive from Division I Stony Brook (N.Y.) University. Although he was at Mount Olive for only one year, Nowak says his experience here is a major reason he was drafted as high as he was.

"I feel that coming to Mount Olive definitely helped my stock in the draft," said Nowak. "I can't thank the coaches at Mount Olive enough. I didn't get a lot of playing time where I was, but I always felt like I had the talent. The coaches here groomed me and helped me with the mental side of the game. I think that was the turning point for me."

Trojan pitcher Tom Layne was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft. Layne was among a select number of Minor League players invited to the Diamondbacks' spring training camp this year and currently has a 6-3 record with the Mobile BayBears, the Diamondbacks' Double A affiliate.

In 2008, pitchers Casey Hodges, Ryan Schlecht and Mike Williams, along with shortstop David Cooper and first baseman Erik Lovett were picked in the draft. Hodges is with the Atlanta Braves' Rookie Appalachian League affiliate Danville Braves, which begin their season in two weeks. Williams is 0-0 with one save in four relief appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates Single A affiliate West Virginia Power. He has a 0.00 earned run average in nine innings pitched.

Rich Racobaldo was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in last year's draft. An infielder at Mount Olive, Racobaldo is a starting outfielder for the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Advanced A Florida State League. Racobaldo is batting .256 with 14 doubles, 27 runs scored and 22 runs batted in through 55 games.

A current St. Louis Cardinal phenom provides Nowak with some inspiration -- three-time National League Most Valuable Player Albert Pujols was also a 13th-round selection, back in 1999.

"The first picks might get the big dollars, but everyone starts off at the same point, no matter where you're drafted," said Nowak. "It does serve as motivation that Pujols was picked in the same round I was. He's known for his work ethic and I feel that my work ethic is one of my best qualities.

"This has been my goal since I first started playing baseball. I'm going to give all of my effort and just work my hardest. If it doesn't work out and I don't make the majors, it won't be because I didn't work hard enough."