Jonathan Gray was the third overall selection of Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft, conducted Thursday in Secaucus, N.J.
The Colorado Rockies used their top pick on the 6-foot-4, 239-pound right-handed pitcher, who will take the mound Friday for the Sooners in an NCAA Super Regional opener versus LSU.
"It feels great. I finally had the dream come true," Gray said. "My heart was beating so fast. Fortunately, my friends and family were all around me, supporting me. It's a big relief for me because, tomorrow, I can focus on winning."
Gray is the first Sooner to be taken by the Rockies organization. As a pitcher, he'll face the challenge of competing in a "hitter's ballpark" due to its high altitude.
"It's a great organization to be in. I'm definitely not scared to pitch in that ballpark at all," Gray added. "A heavy fastball-- it's hard to hit long distance. I think I fit the club really well."
Gray, who has a 10-2 record and 1.59 ERA this season, is the 18th Sooner drafted in the first round since 1967 and fourth in Sunny Golloway's tenure as head coach at OU.
"We're extremely excited for Jonathan, first and foremost," OU head baseball coach Sunny Golloway said. "He's a young man that, I've commented many times, you want your son to grow up to be like. And not because of what he does on the field, just because of the person he is, the character. He works hard. He's represented the University of Oklahoma in a first-class manner, both on and off the field."
Taken at third overall, Gray represents the highest selection since Bobby Witt was taken by the Texas Rangers with the third overall pick in the 1985 draft. Gray is second in the NCAA this season with 138 strikeouts. He is only the sixth Sooner to pitch back-to-back 100-strikeout seasons.
A new legion of fans will be able to see Gray take the mound as soon as Friday, when he is schedule to start in Oklahoma's first of a best-of-three NCAA Super Regional series against LSU in Baton Rouge. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
"To have the third overall pick in the country that is going to be pitching for the University of Oklahoma in a Super Regional -- it's pretty exciting times right now," Golloway said. "We're looking forward to watching him compete tomorrow and just proud he's a Sooner."
The MLB Draft continues through the completion of the second round Thursday night. Rounds 3 through 15 are conducted Friday and the draft concludes Saturday.
/// SoonerSports PR
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