RALEIGH, N.C. - The Seattle Mariners selected second-team All-ACC and preseason All-America starting pitcher Jimmy Gillheeney of NC State in the eighth round in the 2009 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft on Wednesday.
As the 233rd overall pick, Gillheeney becomes the 20th Wolfpack player selected in the first 10 rounds of the draft under head coach Elliott Avent and the 10th Wolfpack player drafted in the last two years. The Johnston, R.I., native posted a 12-8 career record with 11 saves and a 4.23 ERA in three years at NC State. He struck out 163 and walked 69 in 178 1/3 innings.
Gillheeney went 6-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 13 starts for the Wolfpack in 2009, striking out 75 and walked 34. In one of the more memorable performances of the 2009 campaign, Gillheeney scattered seven hits in seven shutout innings May 8 vs. North Carolina, striking out 10 in a 3-0 win over the then-top-ranked Tar Heels. Following the year, Gillheeney was voted second-team All-ACC by the league’s head coaches.
Gillheeney moved into the starting role this past season after spending his sophomore year in 2008 as the Pack’s closer. That year, he went 2-0 and recorded 10 saves in 21 appearances, posting a 1.12 ERA. He struck out 42 and walked 12. Following the 2008 season, Gillheeney was named third-team All-America by the NCBWA and was voted first-team All-ACC, becoming the third NC State closer to earn first-team all-conference honors, joining Jamie Wolkosky (1992) and Joey Devine (2003-04-05). Gillheeney’s performance as a closer earned him a spot on the National College Baseball Writers Association’s preseason watch list for the Stopper of the Year Award for 2009.
As a freshman in 2007, Gillheeney split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen, finishing with a 4-3 record with one save in 19 appearances (nine starts). Gillheeney notched 46 strikeouts and 23 walks in 63 2/3 innings with a 6.36 ERA.
Later on Wednesday, the Texas Rangers selected Wolfpack junior righthander Sam Brown in the 22nd round. Brown, the 664th overall pick in the draft, went 3-0 with one save and a 4.67 ERA as a junior in 2009. He tied for the staff lead in appearances with 21, with 19 of them out of them in relief. Brown had been drafted previously twice, in the seventh round by the Washington Nationals as a senior at Raleigh's Millbrook High School in 2007, and a year ago in the 18th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
On Thursday, the Chicago Cubs picked NC State junior lefthander John Lambert in the 33rd round, the 1010th overall pick in the draft. Lambert made 20 appearances for the Wolfpack in 2009, including eight starts. His final numbers included a 1-5 record, one save and a 7.04 ERA, but he was 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA as a reliever.
Senior righthander Kyle Rutter became the fourth NC State pitcher taken in the 2009 draft. The Boston Red Sox chose Rutter in the 41st round with the 1248th overall pick. Rutter had a strong season out of the bullpen for the Wolfpack in 2009, posting a 2-2 record with one save and a 3.35 ERA. He tied Lambert for staff honors with 21 appearances, all of them in relief, and allowed 36 hits and walked 15 while striking out 30 in 40 1/3 innings.