No. 13 Kent State Baseball’s Starn Selected In Seventh Round of 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft By Atlanta Braves
Kent State's all-time leader in pitching victories, strikeouts and innings pitched becomes 81st draft selection in program history.
SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Kent State senior southpaw ace David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) has been selected by the Atlanta Braves with the 239th pick in the seventh round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Starn becomes Kent State's 81st draft selection and first ever selected by the Braves. He is the 23rd Kent State pitcher who has been mentored by 15th-year associate head coach/pitching coach Mike Birkbeck to be drafted.
A former walk-on, Starn has blossomed into a Louisville Slugger Second Team All-America pick and Kent State's career leader in pitching victories (28) strikeouts (338) and innings pitched (329.0). Starn became the second straight Kent State arm to earn Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year recognition, 10th in program history and fourth under the tutelage of Birkbeck in 2012. He ranks as the conference's top pitcher with a league-best 2.01 ERA and 118 strikeouts – the most in a single season in Kent State history - to go along with a 10-3 record on the hill. In conference action, Starn was 5-1 with a 2.21 ERA and 74 strikeouts against just 18 walks.
Starn garnered the MAC's final East Division Pitcher of the Week honors after dominating on the mound on May 17 in a 6-1 win over Akron in the Sixth Annual Diamond Classic For Kids at Canal Park. He fanned nine over six innings while giving up just one earned run on three hits and two walks. Starn became Kent State's new career strikeouts king on April 6 in the weekend series opener against Buffalo as the Flashes earned a thrilling 5-4 walk-off victory. Starn finished the contest with a career-high 12 strikeouts – including fanning nine of the first 16 batters he faced – to surpass the 274 career strikeouts mark set by Dirk Hayhurst (200-03) to move into first place in the school's record book. He struck out five over seven innings to up his career total to 300 as Kent State rolled to a 16-5 win over interdivision foe Western Michigan on April 27. Starn also earned the MAC's first East Division Pitcher of the Week honors of the 2012 season on Feb. 21 after the 2012 Louisville Slugger Third Team Pre-Season All-America selection twirled eight shutout innings and tallied nine strikeouts while scattering just four hits and walking only two on 104 pitches as Kent State rode his arm to blank No. 9 Georgia Tech, 5-0, to lift the lid off of the 2012 season in grand fashion in the opening game of the Rock Hill Coca-Cola Classic on Feb. 17. Starn became the first two-time MAC Tournament MVP in conference history, tossing three scoreless relief innings with three strikeouts to help Kent State overcome Central Michigan, 3-1, in the 2012 title game on May 26 and earn the distinction of being the MAC's best player in tournament play for a second straight season and helping Kent State clinch its unprecedented fourth straight MAC Tournament crown and 10th in program history. The championship game relief work marked Starn's second appearance on the bump in the 2012 MAC Tournament. He shut down No. 8-seeded Buffalo over eight frames in the tournament opener on May 23, limiting the Bulls to two hits as the Flashes rolled to a 9-0 win.
Starn, who garnered First Team American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings NCAA Mideast Region, First Team All-Mid-American Conference and MAC Tournament MVP honors in 2011, tied Andy Sonnanstine (2004) for the most strikeouts in a single season in school history with 117, which was tied for the 16th-most in the nation in 2011. Starn was the Sunday starter in an all-left-handed rotation that anchored a pitching staff that ranked sixth in the nation in team ERA with a 2.66 mark under the tutelage of associate head coach/pitching coach Mike Birkbeck. He went 2-0 in two starts in the 2011 MAC Tournament, striking out 15 and allowing just two earned runs on 10 hits in 14.1 innings en route to garnering MVP accolades. He also ranked 48th in the nation with a 2.18 ERA and will enter his senior campaign with the Flashes tied with current Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Matt Guerrier (1997-99) for third in school history in career strikeouts with 220, thanks in large part to striking out 10 or more batters on four occasions last season – including matching his then-career-high of 11 strikeouts as the Flashes stormed past Miami, 11-0, in the 2011 MAC Tournament Championship Game to clinch the program's third straight conference tournament title.
The Golden Flashes (44-17) clinched a dramatic 3-2 NCAA Championship Gary Regional title over then-No. 13 Kentucky Sunday (June 3) at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind., marking Kent State's first regional championship. Ranked No. 13 in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, the Golden Flashes ran their nation-long winning streak to 20 games – including seven in the post-season – courtesy of the victory over the Wildcats. The 2012 Mid-American Conference Regular Season and Tournament champions, Kent State has won 35 of its last 42 games – including 24 of 26. The Flashes won a wire-to-wire regular season title and followed it up by going a perfect 4-0 in the MAC Tournament to clinch their fourth straight conference tournament crown. Kent State, the regional's No. 3 seed, advanced to its second straight NCAA Regional Winner's Bracket Final by outlasting Kentucky, 7-6, in 21 innings in the regional opener Friday (June 1) – the second-longest game in the history of the NCAA Tournament – then knocked off the regional host and top seed, then-No. 16 Purdue, 7-3, Saturday (June 2).
Kent State's next stop on its Road To Omaha and the 2012 NCAA College World Series sends the 2012 Gary Regional champions 2,492 miles to the Pacific Northwest to battle No. 10 Oregon in the nationally televised best-of-three Eugene Super Regional, beginning Saturday (June 8).
Kent State's first Super Regional game in program history is slated for Saturday (June 9) at PK Park in Eugene, Ore. First pitch is scheduled for 11 p.m. ET (8 p.m. PT). Game two is set for Sunday (June 10) with a 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) first pitch. If necessary, game three will be played Monday (June 11) beginning at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT). The series will be nationally televised on ESPNU. Tickets for the Eugene Super Regional are currently on sale at www.GoDucks.com. The winner of the Super Regional will advance to the College World Series, which is slated to be played June 15-26 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. Kent State seeks its first NCAA College World Series berth while Oregon takes aim at its first since 1954.
Starn is slated to start on the hill for Kent State in its Super Regional opener against the Ducks and is expected to oppose Oregon senior right-handed starting pitcher 2012 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Alex Keudell.
Stay tuned to KentStateSports.com and follow on Twitter @FlashesBaseball for more updates on Kent State's road to the 2012 Eugene Super Regional and the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft.