Gunner Glad, Marcus Nidiffer Ink MLB Free Agent Deals

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After a total of 12 current, former and future Kentucky baseball players were drafted in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, UK seniors Gunner Glad and Marcus Nidiffer have each signed free agent deals with MLB clubs, it was announced.

Glad, a senior infielder and outfielder, signed a deal with the Minnesota Twins, while Nidiffer, a fifth-year senior catcher, inked a deal with the Houston Astros. With two free agent signings, UK has now had a total of eight current and former players drafted or sign free agent deals in 2010. In addition, six UK signees were drafted in the 2010 MLB Draft.

A native of Tulsa, Okla., Glad transferred to UK from Eastern Oklahoma before the 2009 season and his hot bat became a fixture in the lineup. Glad's offensive prowess has been instrumental in the UK offensive attack the last two seasons but his versatility on defense has also been highly valued, as Glad has seen starts at first, second and third base, in addition to rightfield. In his two-year career, Glad batted .323 (115-for-356) in 94 career games, with 18 doubles, one triple and 21 homers, driving in 83 RBI and stealing 4-of-7 bases. In 2009, with UK's pitching staff lacking depth, Glad stepped up and pitched in one game, getting two outs, both by strikeout, with the slugger owning an average of 27 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in his short UK pitching career. After battling minor injuries early in the 2009 season, Glad exploded late in the year, starting 36 games and playing in 38, batting .303 (43-for-142) with seven doubles, nine homers and 38 RBI.

In 2010, Glad established himself as one of the top hitters in the conference, batting .336 (72-for-214) with 11 doubles, one triple, 12 homers and 45 RBI, drawing 27 walks and stealing three bases. Glad registered 38 starts at first base, two at second base, 12 at third base and three in rightfield in 2010, hitting primarily in the No. 3 spot in the order. Glad totaled a team-best 21 multi-hit games and a team-high 11 multi-RBI outings, running up a career-long 11 game hitting streak during the season. Glad also led UK with 29 two-out hits, 25 two-strike hits and a total of 18 two-out RBI. A 6-foot, 190-pounder, Glad reached base safely in 52 of 55 games in 2010 and during a six-game span in the middle of Southeastern Conference action, belted five homers.

A native of Bristol, Tenn., Nidiffer has served as UK's primary starting backstop for the last three seasons, playing in a total of 153 games with 121 starting assignments, redshirting during UK's 2006 SEC Championship season. In his UK career, Nidiffer batted .284 (121-for-426) with 91 runs scored, 18 doubles, two triples, 25 homers and 84 RBI, stealing 7-of-8 bases, finishing with a .512 slugging percentage and a .377 on-base percentage. After playing in just eight games and seeing six at bats as a redshirt freshman in 2007, Nidiffer emerged as UK's primary catcher in 2008, splitting time with then-senior Tyler Howe behind the plate. In 2008, Nidiffer batted .216 (25-for-116) with 20 runs scored, five doubles, one triple and five homers, driving in 17 RBI. As a junior, UK relied heavily on Nidiffer as UK lacked depth behind the plate, forcing him into catching throughout the season without many days off. Despite playing the majority of the season with a broken thumb on his catching hand, Nidiffer suited up daily for the backstop position, leading UK with 10 homers, the seventh UK catcher in program history to lead the team in homers. Overall during 2009, Nidiffer hit .312 (49-for-157) with 37 runs, six doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 32 RBI.

As a fifth-year senior in 2010, Nidiffer batted .320 (47-for-147) with 32 runs, seven doubles, 10 homers and a career-high 35 RBI. Defensively, Nidiffer led the SEC in pickoffs by a catcher, nabbing four runners off base and catching a total of eight runners stealing base.

2010 UK Baseball MLB Draft Picks/Free Agent Signings

Round Name Pos. MLB Team Pick
4th Chris Bisson INF San Diego Padres No. 124
4th James Paxton 1 LHP Seattle Mariners No. 132
6th Logan Darnell LHP Minnesota Twins No. 195
6th Blake Perry2 RHP Arizona Diamondbacks No. 181
8th Lance Ray OF Minnesota Twins No. 265
28th Taylor Black INF St. Louis Cardinals No. 859
31st Matt Little RHP Detroit Tigers No. 943
35th Tyler Oliver2 INF Washington Nationals No. 1,046
35th J.T. Riddle2 INF/RHP Boston Red Sox No. 1,073
38th Lucas Witt2 OF Los Angeles Dodgers No. 1,162
43rd Corey Littrell2 LHP Washington Nationals No. 1,286
47th Matt Reida2 INF Chicago White Sox No. 1,418
FA Gunner Glad INF/OF Minnesota Twins ---
FA Marcus Nidiffer C Houston Astros ---