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Astros, Reds select Pitt pitchers R.J. Freure, Matt Pidich in MLB Draft

Jerry DiPaola
| Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 5:12 p.m.

Pitt pitchers R.J. Freure and Matt Pidich were selected in the sixth and eighth rounds Tuesday in the MLB Draft.

Freure, who struck out 95 in only 58 23 innings this season, was chosen by the world champion Houston Astros. Pidich, who led the team in ERA and strikeouts, went to the Cincinnati Reds.

This is the second consecutive year and sixth time since 2011 Pitt has had two or more pitchers drafted. It is also the sixth consecutive year the Panthers have had at least one player drafted.

Freure, a sophomore, appeared in 27 games for Pitt, winning four of five decisions with a 4.30 ERA.

“It's an honor to be given this opportunity to play professionally and I would like to thank my coaches for helping me and showing me how to become a better player and person on and off the field,” Freure said in a statement released by Pitt. “I'd also like to thank my family and friends for always being there during both the good and bad times. Mostly, I want to thank my parents for everything they have done for me and allowing me to pursue my dream. I am extremely thankful for this opportunity.”

Pitt coach Joe Jordano believes Freure is prepared for this opportunity.

“In my opinion, R.J. has a major league pitch in his breaking ball,” he said. “Couple that with a mid to upper-90s fastball, when he develops his consistency and potential of a quality third pitch, he's a big league pitcher sooner than later.”

Pidich, a redshirt season who recovered from Tommy John surgery early in his collegiate career, is the first Pitt player in history drafted by the Reds.

He compiled a 3.05 ERA and 6-2 record while striking out 99 batters (10th in the ACC, 69th in the nation) in 91 13 innings.

“Matt is as close to a complete pitcher as we have on our staff,” Jordano said. “He's a competitor. He's a complete pitcher, and his very meticulous work ethic and attention to detail will benefit him throughout the next chapter of his baseball career. I look forward to watching his progress.”

Mercyhurst junior pitcher Chris Vallimont was selected by the Miami Marlins in the fifth round, the second highest in school history behind 2014 draftee Dan Altavilla of the Seattle Mariners.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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