Baseball: Leonard drafted in third round, two other Panthers picked in MLB draft so far

By Alex Oltmanns

Joe Leonard became Pitt’s highest draft pick since 1985 Tuesday, when the Atlanta… Joe Leonard became Pitt’s highest draft pick since 1985 Tuesday, when the Atlanta Braves selected him with the 101st overall pick in the third round of the MLB draft.

His draft selection is a fitting end to a great season, as well as a successful career as a Panther.

The third baseman hit .433 this season to go along with eight home runs and 71 RBIs while recording eight saves as a relief pitcher.

“I could not be more pleased for Joe and his family,” Jordano said in a press release. “I was a little surprised he lasted until the third round. I feel strongly that he will be a major leaguer someday soon.”

The 2010 Big East Player of the Year and TPX Slugger Third Team All-American said he got the news that he was drafted over the Internet.

“I was just sitting at home with my family and my girlfriend, and my name popped up on the computer screen,” he said in a press release. “I was so happy. It was a great moment.”

Leonard leaves Pitt very well entrenched in the school’s record books. He holds five single-season records, as well as the career saves record with 11.

“Joe’s impact on our program was great, and his legacy will last a long time,” head coach Joe Jordano said.

Joining Leonard on the Braves will be fellow Pitt player Cory Brownsten, who Atlanta chose in the 15th round. He hit .395 this season with three homers and 46 RBI’s.

The catcher joined the Panthers after two years at Monroe Community College, where he was a first-team All-American his sophomore season,

Former Pitt shortstop Danny Lopez was taken in the 17th round by the Seattle Mariners.

A four-year starter, Lopez hit .349 this season with three home runs and 44 RBI’s. He also led the team in steals with 24.

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