June 8, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane baseball redshirt sophomore Tony Rizzotti became the fourth Greenie drafted during the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, as he was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 25th round (748th overall).
Rizzotti is the first Green Wave underclassman to be selected this year, as seniors David Napoli (Washington Nationals, eighth round), Brennan Middleton (Nationals, 10th round) and Garrett Cannizaro (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 18th round) have been chosen already. With the completion of the 2013 season, Rizzotti still has two years of eligibility remaining. He has until the middle of July to decide whether he will return to Tulane or begin his professional career.
"Tony was a solid force for us all season," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "He definitely deserved to be drafted. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed, though, that he chooses to come back next year so he can try and increase his stock."
Rizzotti served as Tulane's ace during his first season on the Uptown campus, starting the opening game of every weekend series of the season except the last two because of injury. In his lone season with the Greenies, he posted a 5-4 record in 12 starts, totaling 81.0 innings. He notched an ERA of 2.22 - third in Conference USA and 92nd overall in the NCAA - while fanning 57.
The Arlington, Texas, native burst onto the scene for the Green Wave during the first game of the 2013 season, when he threw a complete game, one-hit shutout against Sam Houston State in a 2-0 victory on Feb. 15. In that contest, Rizzotti struck out five Bearkats, who eventually played in the Baton Rouge Regional later in the season, while walking only one.
With his selection, Rizzotti becomes the 91st player in Tulane Green Wave baseball history to be drafted. Last season, two Green Wave players - Jeremy Schaffer and Garrett Cannizaro - were drafted. Cannizaro elected to come back for his senior season in 2013 - and it paid off since he was chosen higher by the Angels this season. Rizzotti can also do the same should he choose to continue his collegiate career.
Rizzotti took a roundabout way of getting to Tulane. He started his collegiate career at TCU, where he pitched 4.2 innings in six appearances out of the bullpen for the Horned Frogs. However, he suffered injuries to both knees before transferring to Grayson College in Texas where he did not suit up for the baseball team.
Fortunately for the Green Wave, he found his way to New Orleans, putting together one of the finer seasons in recent memory by a Greenie pitcher.
Being drafted is not unfamiliar territory for Rizzotti, as he was selected by the Colorado Rockies out of high school in the 28th round (860 overall) in 2010. He turned down the Rockies offer to attend TCU.
The selection of Rizzotti marks the fourth Green Wave player chosen by the Padres in the history of the draft. The franchise chose right-handed pitcher Brandon Gomes in the 17th round of the 2007 draft. Current Tulane hitting coach and recruiting coordinator Jake Gautreau was selected in the first round by the team in 2001, and pitcher Steve Mura was selected in the second round in 1976.
Rizzotti is the second Greenie to be selected in the 25th round since 2009, when Taylor Rogers was chosen by the San Francisco Giants. Billy Mohl (Philadelphia Phillies, 2006), Steve Riley (Minnesota Twins, 1984) and Robert Derrah (New York Yankees, 1966) are the only other Greenies to be chosen in the 25th round.
Stay tuned to TulaneGreenWave.com for more draft news regarding the Tulane Green Wave baseball squad.
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