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Pembroke, NC

UNCP’s River Ryan drafted by San Diego Padres

The Robesonian
The Robesonian
UNCP Athletics UNC Pembroke’s River Ryan throws a pitch during a Peach Belt Conference semifinal series game against Columbus State on May 9. Ryan was drafted Tuesday by the San Diego Padres in the 11th round of the MLB Draft.

PEMBROKE — Every kid who grows up playing baseball hopes to one day hear their name called in the MLB Draft.

For The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s River Ryan, that moment came Tuesday.

Ryan was selected in the 11th round by the San Diego Padres, becoming the first UNCP player drafted in seven years and the 14th overall.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Ryan played pitcher and second base for UNCP, being used as both a starter and closer on the mound and producing as a key piece in the middle of the Braves order this spring. He was selected by the Padres as a pitcher.

Ryan was 5-1 with six saves and a 3.66 ERA in 2021, striking out 68 batters in 51 2/3 innings pitched. He started the season without allowing a run over his first 10 appearances, over a span of 18 2/3 innings; he moved from the closer’s role to the starting rotation in the season’s stretch run to pitch more innings as the Braves chased, and ultimately won, their first regular-season conference title in program history.

For his UNCP career, Ryan was 8-1 with 12 saves and a 2.32 ERA.

At the plate, Ryan hit .349 this season with nine homers and 51 RBIs and a .985 OPS. He was a career .343 hitter for the Braves with 12 homers and 119 RBIs.

The last UNCP player taken in the MLB Draft was Jordan Edgerton, who was drafted as a third baseman by the Atlanta Braves in the ninth round in 2014 and played three seasons in the Braves’ minor-league system, reaching high-A ball. Edgerton was the first UNCP draft selection since Torrey Pettiford, a second baseman who went to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1994.

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