CARBONDALE — Sam Coonrod is the newest fan of San Francisco baseball.
No wonder. The Southern Illinois University Carbondale junior right-handed pitcher has been drafted by the San Francisco Giants.
Coonrod, a Carrollton native, was selected in the fifth round of the recent 2014 MLB Draft. He was the 148th overall player selected in the draft.Coonrod is the earliest SIUC player drafted since the Milwaukee Brewers took right-handed pitcher Cody Adams with the 62nd overall pick in 2008.
“I’m excited and extremely honored to be a Giant,” Coonrod said. “I want to thank coach Henderson, Coach Finigan, Coach Strain, Coach Lincoln and every coach I’ve ever had. I learned from all of them. I feel very blessed and want to thank God, who made this all possible.”
A three-year starter for the Salukis, Coonrod led the team in 2014 with a 2.87 ERA, which ranked 10th in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Overall, he had a 2-6 record for the 26-31 Salukis. Coonrod held opponents to a .226 batting average and struck out 77 batters in 84.2 innings of work. Coonrod is expected to forgo his final year of eligibility at SIUC and sign with the Giants.
“We’re very proud of and happy for Sam,” Salukis’ coach Ken Henderson said. “He has worked extremely hard and earned this opportunity. We are confident that he will have success at the next level.”
SIUC teammate Todd Eaton of Greenville was taken in the 34th round by the Kansas City Royals. Eaton was 3-3 with a 4.10 ERA the past spring, his senior season. He has 19 career saves for the Salukis.
Coonrod teamed with younger brother Joey, also a pitcher, in leading the Carrollton Hawks to the IHSA Class 1A state title in 2011. The Hawks went 31-1 that season and defeated Lanark Eastland, 8-1, in the championship game.
Joey is a sophomore right-hander at Kaskaskia Community College in Centralia.