Seven UCR players go in draft

Day 3 of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft is in the books and seven Highlanders, including six members of the pitching staff, were selected – Joseph Kelly (above), Paul Applebee, Matt Montgomery, Paul Bargas, Carl Uhl, Tommy Mackoul and Ryan Platt.

The St. Louis Cardinals selected Kelly in the third round Tuesday evening. The junior from Corona, CA is the Highlanders career saves record holder having eclipsed the mark of Scott Tebbets late in the 2009 season finishing with a total of 24. His 12 saves this year were the second most in the history of the program.

Baseball America named Kelly to the Preseason All-American Third Team in 2009, and as a freshman, Kelly was named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball and Ping!, a Second Team All-American by Rivals.com and Big West Conference Freshman Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-Conference. He also played for the USA National Team in the summer of 2007.

Two Highlanders were selected in the 10th round on Thursday as the Washington Nationals picked junior starting pitcher Paul Applebee and the Florida Marlins snagged senior starter Matthew Montgomery. Applebee was UC Riverside’s top pitcher in 2009 posting a 10-2 mark with an earned run average of 3.74. The Upland, CA native struck out 63 batters and walked just 20 in 89.0 innings in earning Second-Team All-Big West honors.

Montgomery was the Highlanders’ Friday night starter for most of the season before an injury forced him out of the rotation. The junior from Sun City, CA finished the year with a 2-2 mark and a 4.55 ERA. He struck out 18 and walked 8 in 31.2 innings.

The Colorado Rockies chose pitcher Paul Bargas in the 13th round of the draft. The Riverside junior had a 5-3 record in 2009 and an ERA of 4.44. He walked just nine hitters in 75.0 innings.

Center fielder Carl Uhl became the first UCR position player selected in the draft when the Philadelphia Phillies took him with an 18th round pick. Uhl finished his Highlanders career as the teams Division-I era leader in runs scored and earned All-Big West Second-Team honors in 2009 after pacing UC Riverside in hits, runs scored, doubles, triples and steals while finishing second in OPS and on base percentage and tying for second on the squad in homers.

The Minnesota Twins took freshman Tommy Mackoul in the 20th round, and the Milwaukee Brewers chose senior Ryan Platt in the 27th. Mackoul redshirted the 2008 season for the Highlanders and made two appearances in 2009. Platt went 4-0 on the year leading the team with 67 strikeouts in 65.0 innings pitched while posting a 4.15 ERA.