Logan Darnell, Lance Ray Picked in Top-Eight Rounds of MLB Draft

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Kentucky junior southpaw Logan Darnell has been selected in the sixth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins with the 195th overall pick and UK junior outfielder Lance Ray has been selected in the eighth round by the Twins with the 255th overall pick, it was announced Tuesday afternoon.

A native of Joelton, Tenn., Darnell and Ray are the fourth UK players to be drafted in the first eight rounds in the 2010 MLB Draft, joining fourth-round selection of the San Diego Padres Chris Bisson, a junior second baseman, and former UK pitcher James Paxton, a fourth-round pick of the Seattle Mariners. UK pitching signee Blake Perry, a native of Danville, Ky., was the first UK signee selected, going in the sixth round to the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 181st overall selection.

With Darnell and Ray’s selection, UK has now had nine players drafted in the top 10 rounds over the last three seasons, including a program-best seven players in the top five rounds over the last three years. In 2008, UK had Scott Green (third), Sawyer Carroll (third) and Collin Cowgill (fifth) all drafted in the top five rounds and in 2009, Paxton was drafted in the first round and Chris Rusin was selected in the fifth round.

A 6-foot-2, 210-pound lefty, Darnell has appeared in 57 career games for UK and started 11, totaling a 10-9 record with four saves and a 5.05 ERA. In 137.1 career innings, Darnell has allowed 156 hit, walking 62 and striking out 114.

In 2010, Ray led UK at the plate, batting .356 (42-for-118) with 29 runs, 11 doubles, one triple and 34 RBI in 29 starts and 41 total games. Ray drew a total of 20 walks and struck out just 21 times, stealing two bases.

In 2010, Darnell entered the season as a member of the weekend starting pitching rotation for the first time in his career, after appearing in 43 games out of the bullpen the first two seasons of his career. Darnell made 11 starts to open the season, before coming out of the bullpen for the final three outings of the year. All told in 2010, Darnell tossed 73.2 innings, posting a 5-3 record and a 5.62 ERA, saving one game. Darnell allowed 92 hits and walked 28, striking out 55. The best outing of Darnell’s career came in his third career start at San Diego, a team ranked in the top 20 to end the season. The lefty tossed a complete-game shutout against the Toreros, outdueling eventual 2010 second-round MLB Draft pick and USD left-handed ace Sammy Solis. Darnell needed just 90 pitches – 70 for strikes – to blank USD in his third career start.

As a freshman Darnell appeared in 15 games, posting a 4.08 Era in 17.2 innings, allowing only 11 hits and walking 14 with 12 strikeouts. In 2009, Darnell was relied upon as a late-inning reliever appeared in a team-high 28 games, posting a 5-6 record and a 4.50 ERA, saving three games. Darnell tossed 46 innings as a sophomore, walking 20 and striking out 47.

A native of Las Vegas, Nev., Ray emerged as one of the top hitters in college baseball late in the 2010 season. After having offseason wrist surgery, Ray – a junior college transfer from Western Nevada College – slumped at the plate early, batting .182 entering an April 9 game against Alabama in Lexington. UK turned to Ray off the bench in a pinch-hitting role and Ray delivered a game-winning RBI single with two outs. After that pinch-hit RBI single, Ray was a fixture in the lineup, playing in 24 games with 22 starts in the final 26 UK games, batting .424 (36-for-85) with 24 runs, 10 doubles, one triple, nine homers and 30 RBI, drawing 16 walks and striking out just 14 times. A 6-foot-1, 200-pounder, Ray finished the season on a 21-game starting streak, batting .418 (33-for-79) with 22 runs scored, nine doubles, one triple, eight homers and 28 RBI, drawing 16 walks and striking out just 13 times over the streak. In SEC play alone, Ray hit .371 (26-for-70) with six doubles, seven homers and 21 RBI.

In 2010, Ray had several highlights late in the season, including a 4-for-5 game at Indiana, coming a single shy of hitting for the cycle. In the game at IU, Ray scored four runs, totaled five RBI, hit two homers, had a double and a triple and drew two walks. Later in the week, Ray belted a walk-off home run against No. 20 LSU to give UK a series-opening win, a three-run homer off LSU All-American closer Matty Ott in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave UK the come-from-behind win. The homer was Ray’s second three-run homer of the game, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored in the contest.