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Baseball - Wed, Jun. 14, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two of the biggest pieces of the Missouri Baptist pitching staff of 2017 will begin their professional baseball careers this summer. On day three of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft on Tuesday, both Mailik Jones and Nick Vichio were selected and will begin their new career on both the east and west coasts.

Jones, the right-handed pitcher from Atlanta, was the first one taken off the board on the day. The junior was selected 681st overall in the 23rd round by the Oakland Athletics after a big season with the Spartans. Over the course of 2017, Jones finished with a 3-0 record and a 3.60 ERA.

"We knew that the (Athletics) really liked Mailik," said Missouri Baptist Head Coach Eddie Uschold. "They had him rated high and I believe he has the ability and work ethic to climb the ladder to the big leagues.

Vichio was taken with the 818th pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the 27th Round and will be assigned to one of the clubs in the Baltimore organization in the coming weeks. The Lombard, Ill., native finished as the top closer in the NAIA with 14 saves. In 33.1 innings, he amassed 52 strikeouts and held opponents to a .189 batting average with a 1.89 ERA.

"Many teams were interested in Nick," said Uschold of his closer. "It is not a surprise that he went to the Orioles with the connection to former Spartan, Scott Thomas. He is focused, a hard worker and has put himself in a position to showcase his talents."