June 8, 2011

Baseball Has Three Taken On Third Day of MLB Draft

Thompson to Yankees, Maloney to Giants, Downing to Dodgers

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Ryan Thompson's Franklin Pierce Bio
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Brian Maloney's Franklin Pierce Bio
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Gregg Downing's Franklin Pierce Bio
Previous Franklin Pierce Draft Selections 

Thompson Thompson followed up his All-America season with a draft selection by the New York Yankees.

RINDGE, N.H. (June 8, 2011) – A trio of pitchers from the Franklin Pierce University baseball team all heard their names called on Wednesday afternoon on the third day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Sophomore right-hander Ryan Thompson (Calgary, Alberta) was selected in the 36th round (1,109 overall) by the New York Yankees, senior left-hander Brian Maloney (Brockton, Mass.) was taken in the 45th round (1,377 overall) by the San Francisco Giants and junior left-hander Gregg Downing (Queens, N.Y.) was drafted in the 47th round (1,424 overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Including Mike Dowd, who was selected on Tuesday by the Seattle Mariners, Franklin Pierce has now had 21 draft selections in program history, all coming since 2001 and all coming under current Head Coach Jayson King. In that timeframe, only Division I members Boston College (38) and Connecticut (34) have had more MLB draftees among New England schools than the Ravens. Franklin Pierce is the only New England institution to have at least one player drafted in each of the last 11 years.

Thompson and Downing were the first Ravens ever selected in the draft by the Yankees and Dodgers, respectively. Maloney is the second Franklin Pierce player taken by the Giants, who selected Kyle Vazquez in the 15th round (447 overall) in 2009. Vazquez is still active in the San Francisco organization, though he has not pitched yet in 2011.

It marked only the second time in program history that four Franklin Pierce players were selected in the same season. The 2011 total trails only the program record of five selections, set in 2006.

"Today was a great day for the Franklin Pierce baseball program," said King. "Three student-athletes realized a dream, and our program and University are both very proud of that. While all of their situations are different, we have high hopes for their future endeavors, either in professional baseball or in their return to Rindge."

A consensus All-America First Team selection, Thompson put up numbers among the nation's best in his first year on the mound for the Ravens after transferring from the University of Connecticut. His 1.23 earned-run average was good for fifth in the country, while his 11-1 record tied him for eighth in the nation in wins. In addition, Thompson ranked eighth in the country in strikeouts (114), 18th in hits allowed per nine innings (5.97) and 23rd in both walks allowed per nine innings (1.23) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.8).

Earlier this spring, Thompson was the consensus East Region Pitcher of the Year and a consensus All-East Region First Team selection, as he earned both honors from the NCBWA, the ABCA and Daktronics. Before that, he was pegged as Northeast-10 Conference Pitcher of the Year and was an All-Northeast-10 First Team selection. Thompson was a finalist for College Baseball Lineup's Tino Martinez Division II Player of the Year Award and was selected to the inaugural CBL DII All-Star Team. Furthermore, he was an NEIBA All-Star Team selection.

"Hearing my own name called has never sounded better," said Thompson after being drafted. "On the other hand, my family, as fans, is split between the Yankees and the Red Sox, so this potentially throws me right in the middle of that."

Maloney After graduating as Franklin Pierce's all-time leader in strikeouts, Maloney departs for professional baseball as a draftee of the San Francisco Giants.

An All-East Region Second Team honoree by both Daktronics and the NCBWA in his final go-around at Franklin Pierce, Maloney was just a step behind Thompson at the top of the pitching rotation. He finished the season ranked seventh in the country in strikeouts (115), ninth in strikeouts per nine innings (11.67), 12th in earned-run average (1.52) and 14th in hits allowed per nine innings (5.78). In addition to the All-Region selections, Maloney landed on the All-Northeast-10 First Team and the NEIBA All-Star Team.

"I'm really excited," said Maloney when asked how he felt after being selected. "It's a dream come true to get an opportunity to play baseball professionally."

An All-Northeast-10 Conference Third Team selection, Downing transferred to Franklin Pierce for the 2011 season after spending the previous year at Monroe College. He was also among the top 50 nationally in several categories, as he ranked 13th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.27), tied for 30th in wins (9) and ranked 36th in strikeouts (93). Downing collected attention over his final four appearances of the year, including three starts, when he went 3-1 and allowed just four earned runs over 21.2 innings while striking out 24 batters.

"I'm still shocked. I knew I had a shot to get picked, but wasn't 100-percent sure it was going to happen," said Downing after being drafted. "I really need to thank Coach King and Franklin Pierce for getting me exposure to MLB scouts, and I need to give credit to my father, who passed away when I was 10 years old, for teaching me to love the game of baseball."

With four draftees, Franklin Pierce accounted for half of the eight players taken from Northeast-10 Conference institutions. Among other schools from the area, the Ravens matched Boston College's four selections, while both trailed Connecticut, which boasted 10 draftees.

The Ravens wrapped up the 2011 campaign at 40-14, reaching the 40-win plateau for the second year in a row and the fifth time in program history, all in the last six years. Franklin Pierce hosted NCAA Regional play for the sixth time in school history, all in the last seven years.

For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics).

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