Former Rider and current Coastal Carolina pitcher Ben Smith was selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft on Saturday. Smith was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 17th round (496th overall). Smith, a junior left handed pitcher, played and started in six games this season before suffering a season-ending injury and eventually having Tommy John surgery on this throwing elbow. In the preseason, he was listed as one of the top 51 college players in the nation by Baseball America and CollegeBaseballDaily.com. Prior to his injury, Smith was among the NCAA top 10 in strikeouts, fanning 39 batters in 28.2 innings. He was just 1-3 on the mound but posted a 2.51 ERA and opponents batted just .200 off the lefty. In the Chanticleers' 2014 season opener, Smith struck out 11 of the 20 batters he faced but was saddled with the loss despite allowing no hits, one run, four walks, a hit batter and a batter reached on catcher's interference. Later he earned what proved to be his line win by striking out nine in 5.0 innings versus Rhode Island. Smith was a first team All-Big South pick in 2013. For his career, the Wichita Falls, Texas, native has posted an 8-9 record with three saves in 43 games (31 starts) with a 2.57 ERA. He has struck out 181 batters in 178.1 innings while holding opponents to a .217 opponent batting average.
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