By TIMES TELEGRAM STAFF REPORTS
SECAUCUS, N.J. – A few years have passed, but Matt Pidich was the first player to make the move from having his name called over the Veterans Memorial Park public address system to hearing it call from MLB Network studios at the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft.
Pidich, a redshirt senior at the University of Pittsburgh, led the 2014 Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs with four saves following his freshman year of college baseball. He was selected with the fifth pick in the eighth round of the draft, 229th overall, by the Cincinnati Reds.
“I would like to thank the Cincinnati Reds organization for selecting me,” Pidich said in a release on the Pittsburgh website, pittsburghpanthers.com. “I am truly grateful for this opportunity to continue to play the game I love. For as long as I can remember it has always been a dream of mine to play professional baseball and now that dream has come true. I owe a huge thank you to my parents for all of their encouragement and guidance since I first picked up a baseball. I would also like to thank all of my coaches, both past and present, my teammates, my family and friends for all of their support along the way. I am very excited and looking forward to the next chapter of my baseball career.”
Pidich was 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 91 1/3 innings as a senior. His strikeout total was the third-highest ever for a Panther. The 6-foot-3 right-hander compiled an 11-7 career record with a 3.55 ERA and 172 strikeouts in 164 2/3 innings.
Pidich had 10 wins in his final two seasons with the Panthers after having Tommy John surgery and sitting out all of 2016. He came back as a junior and pitched 16 games with nine starts and went 4-5 with a 4.61 ERA in 2017. His first win of the season came in the first start of his career when he pitched six innings against the University of Delaware.
He pitched one inning in his lone freshman mound appearance before spending the summer of 2014 in Little Falls. Pidich appeared in 14 games for the DiamondDawgs, second on the team, and struck out 18 batters in 14 2/3 innings. He posted an 0-2 record with four saves and a 7.36 ERA.
He won his only decision and earned two saves in eight relief appearances and 15 2/3 innings as a sophomore before having surgery on his elbow.
Pidich was born on Christmas day in 1994, grew up in Lincroft, New Jersey, and was a three-year varsity performer at Christian Brothers Academy. He pitched on an East Coast Pro Showcase team in Syracuse.
The final 30 rounds of the draft will take place Wednesday.