A trio of Nittany Lions took their first steps towards the big leagues this week as hurlers Joe Kurrasch and Johnny Walter and first baseman Jordan Steranka were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft which spanned forty rounds and three days.
Kurrasch was the highest Nittany Lion selection, being selected in the eighth round by the San Francisco Giants. The redshirt junior split time between the bullpen and the rotation this year, starting off as the team's closer before becoming the team's ace midway through the season. He went 4-2 with a Big Ten-leading 2.05 ERA which included a dominant performance against Purdue where he went 7-1/3 innings while only surrendering three hits to the top-ranked offense in college baseball. Kurrasch will be eligible to pitch for two more years in college if he so chooses after transferring from the University of California and sitting out his first year in Happy Valley.
The power-hitting Steranka went to his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates in the 21st round after a senior season that earned him first-team all-Big Ten honors. He leaves Penn State holding the school record in total bases and doubles while also being second in runs batted in and fourth in home runs. This past year, he batted .363 (2nd in B1G) with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs. He should stay close to his fans and start his career with the State College Spikes who are the Pirates' short-season A-ball affiliate.
Walter didn't have a great 2012 campaign, going 2-8 in 15 games (14 starts), but the junior has shown potential in the past. He led the Lions' pitching staff with 81 strikeouts this year. He went to the Kansas City Royals in the 29th round.
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