TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Tampa baseball program continued its success in the Major League Baseball Draft as a total of four Spartans were selected in the 2018 MLB Draft.
A total of four pitchers were selected, including Mark Moclair in the 12th round by the Houston Astros, Cole Aker in the 18th round by the St. Louis Cardinals, Clay Helvey in the 22nd round by the San Francisco Giants and David Lebron in the 26th round by the Texas Rangers.
Tampa also had three recruits selected in the Draft, including Hillsborough Community College pitcher Ryan Fernandez.
Moclair, a junior righthanded pitcher from Seffner, Fla., was the first UT player to be selected. The hard-throwing pitcher enjoyed a stellar 2018 season as he struck out 92 in 55.2 innings pitched. He was 6-2 on the season while finishing with an ERA of 1.78. Pitching all 18 games in relief, he pitched 4.0-plus innings on eight occasions, allowing a total of just two runs in those games. He is also a three-year letterwinner at Tampa after enrolling as a freshman from Strawberry Crest High School, where he was coached by former UT pitcher Eric Beattie, a second-round selection of the Detroit Tigers in 2004.
Aker, a junior righthanded pitcher from Kernersville, N.C., transferred to Tampa following two seasons at the University of North Carolina. He appeared in 16 games, starting six for the Spartans in 2018. In 46.0 innings, he was 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA. He would finish the season with 47 strikeouts. Aker finished the season with 8.0 straight scoreless frames, including a 5.1 inning effort against No. 3 Florida Southern in the NCAA South Regional where he allowed just one hit while striking out four.
Helvey, a junior righthanded pitcher from Fort Mill, S.C., began the season as a reliever and moved to the starting rotation where he started 12 of the 17 games he pitched. He would finish the season with a 5-2 record to go with a 3.34 ERA. In 70.0 innings pitched, he notched 56 strikeouts. His top effort was a scoreless effort against No. 16 Saint Leo where he pitched 7.0 innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. Helvey previously pitched at St. John's River State College and the College of Charleston before enrolling at Tampa for the 2018 season.
Lebron, a senior right-handed pitcher from Homestead, Fla., was a two-year ace for the Spartans and ranks as one of the most successful pitchers in program history. Lebron was selected as a first-team All-American by ABCA/Rawlings and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association of America (NCBWA) and second-team All-American by the Conference Commissioner's Association (CCA). He turned in a dominant campaign as he finished the season with a 10-0 record to go with a 2.24 ERA. In 96.1 innings, the righty registered 139 strikeouts. This marks the second straight season where he was named the South Region Pitcher of the Year. He also becomes a two-time All-American. He concludes his two-year Spartan career with a record of 17-1. He struck out 242 hitters with a 2.45 ERA. He ranks 10th on UT's all-time strikeout list and is third among two-year players. He also ranks first in program history while holding opponents to a .209 batting average.
Tampa has now had a total of 89 players selected in the MLB Draft, including 69 under current head coach Joe Urso. Additionally, the Spartans have had 61 draft picks since the 2006 season as the program has also won four NCAA Division II national championships during that span.