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June 7, 2013
By Jack Kuestermeyer
University of Nevada, Reno junior pitcher Braden Shipley was drafted in the first-round of the Major League Baseball draft today by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona selected the junior right-hander with the 15th pick.
Shipley is the highest drafted player in the history of Nevada athletics. A pair of Wolf Pack basketball players Kirk Snyder (2005) and Luke Babbitt (2011) were picked 16th in the first round. Snyder was selected by the Utah Jazz and Babbitt the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Shipley earned Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year honors as a sophomore after going 9-4 with a conference low 2.20 ERA. After the Pack switched conferences to the Mountain West he was named the co-MW Pitcher of the Year. In his junior season he was 7-3 with a 2.77 ERA had 102 strikeouts in 107.1 innings on the mound. The 102 strikeouts is the seventh best season in school history.
Somewhat ironic, Shipley spent his freshman season as the Pack's starting shortstop making just five appearances on the mound. He earned second-team All-WAC honors after batting .287 with seven doubles and 19 RBI. After becoming the Pack's ace his sophomore season he progressed into a first-round MLB selection.
In three seasons he compiled a 17-7 record with a 2.79 ERA and 203 strikeouts in 216 innings on the mound. The 203 strikeouts ranks sixth in school history and .708 winning percentage is ninth.
Shipley could once again pitch in Reno as the Diamondbacks triple-A affiliate is the Reno Aces. The Aces won the 2012 Pacific Coast League title and Triple-A Championship.
In the history of Nevada baseball five Wolf Pack players were selected in the second-round but Shipley is the first Nevada selection in round one. Pitcher Darrell Rasner was the highest selection going 46th overall to the then Montreal Expos in 2002. Outfielder and current ESPN analyst Chris Singleton was taken by the San Francisco Giants with pick number 48 in 1993. Rob Richie, the first ever Nevada player selected in the second round, was chosen by the Detroit Tigers with the 53rd pick in 1987.
Pitcher Chad Qualls, a current member of the Miami Marlins, was the 67th pick in 2000 by the Houston Astros. Qualls pitched in the World Series for the Astros in 2005. Catcher Brett Hayes was the Pack's most recent second-round selection going to the Florida Marlins with 79th pick in 2005. Hayes is currently playing for the triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals in Omaha, Neb.
In the history of Nevada baseball, 18 players have played in Major League Baseball: Ed Plank Rob Richie, Shawn Barton, Singleton, Corky Miller, Lyle Overbay, Andy Dominque, Qualls, Ryan Church, Chris Prieto, Rasner, Joe Inglett, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Eddie Bonine, Chris Dickerson, Hayes, Chris Gimenez and Konrad Schmidt. Overbay, Qualls and Dickerson are currently on MLB rosters.