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June 6, 2014

Nola goes in first round to Phillies

Aaron Nola had observed Kevin Gausman in a similar situation two years ago.

Nola, a freshman then, watched in the LSU baseball players' lounge as Gausman went with the fourth pick of the 2012 major league draft to the Baltimore Orioles.

Nola had to wait just a few minutes longer Thursday night. The Philadelphia Phillies chose Nola with the seventh pick in the first round - a money slot value of $3.3 million.

"Kevin Gausman was in here when he got called," Nola said. "So, I got a taste of that then. My heart has never beaten so fast in my life. I got a text message from my advisor about a minute before it was on television.

"Even after I got the text message, I was still nervous. Everything has been lifted off my shoulders. I had talks on and off with different teams. You never really know where you are going to go. The Phillies are a great team. I'm ready to go."

For the third consecutive year, the first Tigers player drafted was a pitcher. Ryan Eades was drafted in the second round by the Minnesota Twins last year. Those three seasons reflect the tenure of LSU pitching coach Alan Dunn.

"It was a blessing for me to be at LSU," said Nola, whose older brother Austin is in his third season as a shortstop in the Miami Marlins organization. "I am glad I came to school and played here for three years.

"It definitely worked out well. I got to play for the best coach (Paul Mainieri) and the best pitching coach in the country. This coaching staff helped me so much."

Nola was a two-time first-team All-American. In his three-year career with the Tigers, Nola had a 30-6 record with a 2.09 earned run average. He struck out 345 batters in 332 innings. Opponents had a .201 batting average against Nola.

Nola is No. 3 on LSU's all-time strikeout list behind Scott Schultz and Ben McDonald. His career ERA is tied for the fourth lowest in school history. It is the lowest earned run average since Rick Farizo had a similar mark from 1968-71.

The 30 victories for Nola put him in a tie with Pat Moock, Chad Ogea and Mike Sirotka for No. 5 on LSU's all-time rankings. Paul Byrd is the only pitcher in school history to win more games in a three-year career. Byrd won 31 games from 1989-91.

Mainieri can certainly use as a recruiting tool the fact that Nola went from being a 22nd-round of the Toronto Blue Jays to the seventh pick in the entire draft in two years. He needs that help in the first two days of the draft as Mainieri hopes to keep together a highly-rated 12-player recruiting class.

Mac Marshall, a pitcher from Lilburn (Ga.), was the highest-rated Tigers signee. Mainieri received good news when Marshall was not selected in the first two rounds Thursday. Marshall had said that he would attend LSU if he was not drafted in the first round.

Rounds three through ten of the major league draft will be held Friday. The remainder of the draft will take place Saturday.



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