ATLANTA, Ga. - Newberry College right-handed relief pitcher Thomas Berryhill has been selected in the fifth round of the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Atlanta Braves. Berryhill is the 148th overall pick in the draft and Newberry's first player drafted since 2005.
"I'm very excited for Thomas and for our program. This is very big for both of us," said head coach Bob Rikeman. "I'm also very happy for his family, who have been very loyal to our program."
"Although Thomas is small in stature, he has what it takes to make it at the next level. His desire and his mental makeup are great complements to his athletic talent," Rikeman added. Berryhill is the second-highest Division II player in this year's draft following Florida Southern shortstop Robert Shields, who was drafted by the Mets in the third round.
Berryhill, a native of Aynor, S.C., was an all-South Atlantic Conference second team selection as well as an all-SAC Tournament member. He has been recognized as one of the top relievers in the conference and the region around after a stellar junior season. He led Newberry in earned run average with a 2.20 ERA, picking up a 3-1 record with 7 saves in 18 appearances this year. He struck out 42 batters in 41.0 innings pitched, allowing only 12 runs and 11 walks in that span. Opposing hitters only managed a .187 average against the fireballer.
He was named the South Atlantic Conference Pitcher of the Week on April 6, and was named to the all-SAC Tournament team after allowing only one run in eight innings against Mars Hill in an elimination game. He was also named the athletic department's Chick-Fil-A Student-Athlete of the Month in April. He was also named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association All-Southeast Region Second Team.