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UAB standout pitcher signs with Yankees

Special to the Tribune

The UAB baseball team saw another one of its standout players head to the professional ranks as Garrett Whitlock has decided to sign an MLB contract with the New York Yankees. The 27-time World Series Champion chose Whitlock in the 18th round at pick 542.

Whitlock was the ninth player drafted in the 20th round or higher since head coach Brian Shoop took over in 2007. He joins Brewer Hicklen – selected in the seventh round by the Kansas City Royals – at the pro level. The two became just the third pair in UAB history to each be selected in the top 20 rounds of the same draft.

Whitlock dazzled at times this season with an incredible start to the year and a strong finish. The sophomore received the ball on opening day against Creighton and he proceeded to induce 13 groundouts, registered three, 1-2-3 innings and didn’t allow an extra-base hit or a walk. Whitlock was locked into a pitcher’s dual with Rollie Lacy, who was selected in the 11th round, and finished with the win after throwing eight innings while tallying six strikeouts. The performance was recognized by Conference USA as the sophomore was tabbed the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week following the opening weekend of action.

The Snellville, Ga., native carried that dominance into the next start by throwing a one-run complete game against Valparaiso. Whitlock didn’t allow a single base runner over the final three frames and needed only 97 pitches to get through the game. It was the first complete game for the Blazers in nearly two years.

Whitlock then dominated Georgia on March 3. The right-hander retired the first 17 batters in order and carried a one-hitter into the ninth frame. Whitlock finished with a no decision but threw 8.1 innings allowing three hits, one walk, and one run while racking up five strikeouts.

Whitlock made the move back to the bullpen, where he spent the majority of his freshman season, for the final portion of the 2017 season. He allowed just a pair of runs over his final 12.1 innings pitched to finish the season with a 4.03 ERA and 3-6 record across 17 appearances and seven starts. Whitlock struck out 44 batters while walking 24 over 60.1 innings.

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