OKLAHOMA CITY (June 8, 2013) – Chris Burgess, who had a hand in 16 of Oklahoma Christian’s 26 wins this season as the Eagles’ closer, was chosen Saturday by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 26th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Burgess became OC’s second draftee of the day, joining fellow pitcher Cale Coshow, who went in the 13th round to the New York Yankees. It’s the first time OC has ever had two players drafted in the same year. Before Saturday, only seven OC players had ever been drafted, with the most recent being Nick Aiello in 2001.
Burgess, from West Chicago, Ill., was the 781st overall pick in the 40-round draft.
“This is a great day for OC baseball,” OC coach Lonny Cobble said. “I’m proud of Chris. He overcame a lot, transferring in at the semester. He fit in great here and was a vocal leader. He always approached every outing in a professional-like manner.”
After spending two seasons at Black Hawk (Ill.) Junior College, Burgess was chosen in the 30th round of the 2011 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, but chose not to sign. He spent the 2012 season at Oklahoma, making only two appearances, before transferring to OC in January to finish his college career with the Eagles.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-hander immediately became a force, going 7-0 with nine saves and a 1.54 ERA for the Eagles, who finished 26-26 and reached the National Christian College Athletic Association World Series, the program’s first national postseason appearance in 41 years.
Burgess set OC’s single-season and career saves record, earning NCCAA All-America honors. He also was named to the Heartland Conference’s second-team honor list. In 22 appearances – all but one in relief – he threw 41 innings, recording 52 strikeouts and 11 walks and holding opponents to a .188 batting average. He gave up only one extra-base hit all season.
“I’m extremely blessed to have this opportunity to try and take my game to the next level,” Burgess said.