FAYETTEVILLE — Sophomore right-handed pitcher Blaine Knight was the fifth Razorback taken in the 2017 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft Wednesday afternoon when he was selected in the 29th round, No. 884 overall, by the Texas Rangers.
Knight follows Trevor Stephan, Chad Spanberger, Cannon Chadwick, and Dominic Taccolini as the newest Razorback drafted over the last three days and is the first Hog to be picked by the Rangers since pitcher Cliff Springston in 2008.
Out of Bryant, Arkansas, Knight became one of Arkansas’ top arms this season, making 16 starts and compiling a 3.28 ERA in 90.2 innings pitched, the second-lowest ERA among Razorback starting pitchers. His eight wins was good for tops on the team and was the most by an Arkansas pitcher since Chris Oliver had eight in 2014.
Knight finished his sophomore campaign with 96 strikeouts and only 20 walks. The strikeouts ranked 10th in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the walks were the 13th-lowest among all league pitchers.
Knight was named the Opening Day starter against Miami (Ohio) prior to the season and went on to set career-highs in wins, starts, innings pitched, and strikeouts. He also made one appearance out of the bullpen in the final game of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional against Missouri State, facing three batters in the eighth inning.
In conference play, Knight was even better, going 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 10 starts. He racked up five-straight quality starts to open league play with his best coming at Alabama (March 31). Knight threw eight strong innings against the Crimson Tide and allowed just one earned run on three hits with seven strikeouts.
Over his two years, Knight has already garnered 10 wins in 35 appearances and struck out 142 batters, averaging more than 70 strikeouts a season.
The signing deadline for underclassmen and high school seniors selected in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft is July 7.