June 6, 2014
ARLINGTON, Texas - UT Arlington pitcher Zach Thompson, catcher Greg McCall and designated hitter Matt Shortall were selected Friday in the 2014 MLB Draft. It marked the first time that three Mavericks were selected in the top 10 rounds, giving the program 45 all-time draft picks.
"I cannot describe the feeling I felt," Thompson said. "I've worked my entire life to play professionally, and to see my name up there is the greatest feeling. Thank God for the opportunity He has given me. I'm absolutely pumped."
Thompson, the first selection from the Sun Belt Conference, pitched better as the season went on. Thompson pitched at least 6.2 innings in his last four starts for UTA and did not suffer a loss in his last five.
"Every year I've been at UTA we've had some great talent and a great group of guys," Thompson said. "We have had the talent to compete against anyone in the nation. I think guys come into UTA expecting to work hard and that pays off for us in the end because we only make ourselves better."
Thompson was 5-4 as a junior this season, posting 62 strikeouts, including a season-high nine on March 16 vs. Texas State. Thompson had at least five strikeouts in six of his 16 starts, and allowed more than three earned runs just three times. Thompson was 14-12 in his three-year career, pitching in 51 games for UTA.
"It is very deserving for him," UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. "He really pitched well down the stretch for our club. His last four starts were his best starts in games we needed to win. I wish him nothing but the best and he is going to have a good professional career. Hopefully we will see his name on the Major League Mavericks board very soon."
McCall finished 2014 as UTA's leader in home runs with 11, and was a four-year letterwinner. McCall was a part of the 2012 Southland Conference Championship squad and the 2013 Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship team.
"It's definitely exciting," McCall said. "I excited to join the Brewers and get started on the next chapter in my life. Big thanks to UTA, the coaching staff and all my teammates. They have been awesome. It's also exciting for Zach and Shorty. Hopefully, we'll have more guys drafted tomorrow."
McCall played in 183 games, finishing with 108 RBI and 19 home runs. He leaves next week to join the rookie league Helena Brewers.
"Greg had a great career at UTA," Thomas said. "It seemed like every one of his hits drove in runs this year. I couldn't be happier for him and his family."
Shortall leaves UTA as the program's single-season leader in doubles after hitting 26 in 2014. He totaled 53 doubles in his career, 24 homers and finished with a career batting average of .334. He is believed to be the only player to have played in four different conferences during his career (C-USA, Southland, WAC and Sun Belt).
"I've watching the draft for a long time, and it's been a crazy journey for me in baseball," said Shortall, who was hitting in the Justin D. Wilson Batting Facility when his name was called.
"Everything happens for a reason. I feel fortunate that I get to keep playing a kids' game. I'm going to represent UTA well. This is the place that made me what I am today."
Shortall was named a Louisville Slugger All-American, a member of the NCAA South Central All-Region second team and a First-Team selection to the All-WAC team in 2013. In 2014, he was named a Louisville Slugger Pre-Season Third-Team All-American and is currently in the top 10 in the nation in doubles and total bases. His 88 hits rank 16th and his 57 RBI rank 23rd.
"Nobody has worked harder at being a great hitter more than Shortall," Thomas said. "He will be a great pro. He has put up unbelievable numbers in his career as a Maverick. It is will deserved."
Shortall reports to Clearwater, Florida, next week before heading to the Williamsport Crosscutters in Short-Season A ball.
For updates and continuing coverage of the 2014 draft, follow UTA Athletics on Twitter @UTAMavs and @MLBDraftTracker for pick-by-pick coverage. For a list of UTA's all-time draftees, please view the Mavericks in the Big Leagues.
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