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Courtesy: USF Athletics

Nichols Selected in 31st Round by Phillies

Courtesy: USF Athletics
          Release: 06/06/2012
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Senior to-be Chris Nichols became the first University of Sioux Falls Cougar to be selected in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft when he was selected in the 31st round by the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-hander was taken 968th overall. The son of former major leaguer Rod Nichols, Chris went 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA in his junior year for the Cougars, but went 9-2 with a 5.01 ERA as a freshman and 5-2 with a 4.53 ERA as a sophomore.

Nichols spent last summer pitching for the Lehigh Valley Catz of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, where he went 4-3 with a 1.50 ERA.

"I'm so excited to be drafted by the Phillies; this was totally unexpected," said Nichols, who was pitching for the Valley Catz when he was drafted. "I'm going to talk to my dad tonight and we'll figure out what's the best move for me."

Nichols is the first Cougar to be drafted by a major league team in any sport. He was also honored as a USF student-athlete academic honoree last month and serves as USF's Student Athlete Advisory Committee president.

The Helena. Mont., native has until July 13 to choose to forgo his senior year of college baseball.  

"I couldn't be happier for Chris," said sixth year head coach Matt Guiliano. "He's got a big arm and proved to me this year that he knows how to save one run situations.

"Chris has more speed on his fastball than was clocked this year and I'm thrilled that he will have the opportunity to show his stuff to major league competition," Guiliano added.

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