June 6, 2013
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Aaron Blair, Marshall’s star right-hander, was selected in the Competitive Balance Round A of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night.
Blair, from Las Vegas, Nev., was the 36th pick overall, the highest selection in Marshall baseball history. He was the first member of the Thundering Herd to go in one of the first 10 rounds since Jeff Montgomery was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth round of the 1983 draft.
Blair, a 21st round pick in 2010 by the Houston Astros out of Spring Valley High School, took the label of the program’s top draft selection from Joe Goddard, an eighth-round pick (175 overall) by the San Diego Padres in 1971.
Blair was the highest draft selection from a state school since West Virginia University pitcher Chris Enochs went in the first round (11th overall) to the Oakland Athletics in 1997.
Blair was the first Conference USA player to be drafted in 2013 and the 14th player in the history of the league to be selected prior to the second round. He was the first C-USA pitcher to go in either the first round or the first compensation round since the Washington Nationals took Bryan Price of Rice as a supplemental pick (45th overall) in 2008.
Blair also became the 17th draft selection under Marshall head coach Jeff Waggoner since 2008 and Waggoner's 25th player to receive an opportunity to play professional baseball.
In three seasons with Marshall, Blair amassed 200 strikeouts in 202 innings of work, a feat that ranked him sixth all-time among Marshall’s strikeouts leaders. Blair had an earned run average of 3.30 during his time with the Herd.
Blair, a Conference USA All-Freshman in 2011 and a member of the C-USA All-Conference first team in 2012, fanned 84 in his most recent campaign, including eight or more in five of his 13 starts. In two of those starts, the rising senior set down 11 on strikes, combined for a shutout, and was later named the C-USA Pitcher of the Week.
Against West Virginia (March 19), Blair struck out 11 while keeping the Mountaineers hitless through his six innings. Two starts later, Blair fanned that same number while allowing only two hits in eight scoreless innings against No. 19 Houston (April 6).
Blair was honored as the Louisville Slugger National Pitcher of the Week and NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week for his efforts against Houston.
Blair threw 10 quality starts in 2013, including seven in eight league games, but finished his junior season 5-5.
At the conclusion of the regular season, Blair ranked fourth in C-USA in strikeouts looking (29), fourth in opposing batting average (.198), fifth in hits allowed (59), and seventh in C-USA in strikeouts (84).
In C-USA games, Blair was tied for first in strikeouts looking (20), second in strikeouts (52), seventh in ERA (2.87), and eighth in opposing average (.222).
Other awards for Blair in 2013 included his mention on the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preseason and midseason watch lists.