In the supplemental first round of Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft, the Boston Red Sox selected Monmouth University pitcher Pat Light (Colts Neck, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) with the 37th overall pick, announced Monday night on the MLB Network. Light, who becomes the highest draft pick in Northeast Conference history, becomes the ninth Hawk selected by a professional club and the sixth MU player in the last five years.
“To hear your name called by the Boston Red Sox is a dream come true,” Light said following his selection. “It was one of my goals to be a first rounder and hard work truly paid off. Words cannot describe how happy I am.”
“I would not trade my time at Monmouth for anything,” Light added. “It was the right decision going to college out of high school and playing at Monmouth. I played with unbelievable players and was able to develop as a pitcher and a person thanks to Coach [Dean] Ehehalt, Coach [Jimmy] Belanger, and the whole Monmouth staff. I’ll always cherish the relationships and experiences I had with my teammates. I would not be where I am today without the strong support of my teammates, coaches and the Monmouth community.”
“Getting drafted in the first round is an outstanding accomplishment and I am really happy for him and his family,” said head coach Dean Ehehalt. “Pat has been extremely motivated and driven to get to this point in his career and he developed nicely over the last few seasons. He constantly challenges himself and always has set high goals.”
Light, a 28th round selection of the Minnesota Twins in 2009, is 14-14 in his three years at Monmouth. Logging over 234.1 innings on the hill, the local product has a career 3.84 ERA with 196 strikeouts, which stands fifth all-time, while allowing just 52 walks. The 6-foot-6 righty has nine career complete games to his credit and holds opponents to a .266 average.
Light, an All-Northeast Conference First Team and All-Tournament Team selection, enjoyed his best season in a Monmouth uniform in 2012. The hurler has compiled an 8-3 record in 14 starts for MU. In 101.1 innings of work, a new school record in a single-season, the junior compiled an ERA of 2.60, striking out a Northeast Conference-best and new MU single-season record 102 batters while yielding just 16 walks. Light, who was named NEC Pitcher of the Week two times, excelled especially in league play. With a 5-1 record and 1.62 ERA, the righty registered 78 punch-outs compared to just seven free passes while holding opponents to a mere .209 batting average. Light, who took a perfect game into the eighth inning against Wagner (3/23), recorded double-digit strikeout totals against Fairleigh Dickinson (13), Wagner (11), Quinnipiac (10), LIU Brooklyn (15) and Sacred Heart (10). The New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association (NJCBA) Pitcher of the Year gained national attention after fanning 15 LIU batters and not allowing a walk to set a new career-best and tie a MU single-game strikeout record. Light, who was added to USA Baseball’s Golden Spike Award Watch List, was named Collegiate Baseball’s/Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week for his efforts.
“I have not heard a bad thing about the Red Sox organization,” stated Light. “It is a great place to play and they give you every opportunity to succeed.”
“During Pat’s recruitment process and following Ryan Buch and Brad Brach selection in the 8th and 10th round [in 2009], I said ‘when you come to Monmouth you can be the highest pick we ever had” recalled Ehehalt. “He said I plan on it which showed the kind of player he is. I am sure he is ready to begin his next step and get out on the field for the Red Sox.”
Brad Brach (2008, 42nd round selection, San Diego Padres), Ryan Buch (2009 8th round selection, Chicago White Sox) and Brett Brach (2009, 10th round selection, Cleveland Indians) are still active in professional baseball. Brad Brach is listed on the 25-man roster for the Padres, while his younger brother, Brett, is on the Akron Aeros in Double-A. Buch is pitching for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem.
Monmouth completed its fourth 20-win season in NEC play this year. The Hawks won 30 games overall for the second-straight year and the eighth time under Ehehalt. The Hawks’ 35 wins in 2012 are two shy of the program record of 37, established in 2008.
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