TAMPA BAY RAYS SELECT PITCHER R.J. DAVIS IN THE 20TH ROUND OF MLB DRAFT
Senior closer R.J. Davis was the first Hornet selected in the 2012 MLB draft.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State senior pitcher R.J. Davis was selected in the 20th round (632nd overall pick) of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Davis and fellow senior Derrick Chung, who was picked by the Toronto Blue Jays, were both selected on the third day of the draft.
"We are very excited that both Derrick and R.J. are getting an opportunity to extend their baseball careers at the professional level," said Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen. "Both worked incredibly hard but also put our program first and now they are being rewarded as individuals."
Davis is the 17th Sacramento State player taken in the MLB draft since the program moved to Div. I in 1990. Outfielder Tim Wheeler, a first round pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2009, is the highest ever selected.
In his one season with the Hornets after transferring from Oral Roberts, Davis played a big role in helping Sacramento State to its first Western Athletic Conference regular season title. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound right-hander regularly threw in the mid-90’s and used that power arm to become the Hornets’ closer this season.
The Sacramento native converted a perfect 8-for-8 save opportunities, and limited the opposition to a .210 batting average. Davis appeared in 26 games (second most on the team) while finishing the year 1-2 with a 3.90 ERA. In 30.0 innings, he allowed just 22 hits while striking out 25 batters.
In addition, opponents combined for just four extra base hits (three doubles, one homer) in 105 at-bats against Davis. He allowed no runs in 20 of his 26 appearances, and his eight saves tied for the fourth best single-season mark in school history.
Perhaps his most gutsy performance of the season came in the Hornets’ 4-3, 13-inning loss in the WAC Tournament championship game against Fresno State. In that game, Davis threw 5.1 innings, allowing just four hits and one run with three strikeouts. With a depleted Hornet pitching staff because of the team playing four games over three days, Davis threw 77 pitches in relief after never throwing more than 33 in any other appearance during the season.
Davis prepped at Sacramento’s Florin High School before playing two years at Sacramento City College and one season at Oral Roberts (2010). He transferred to Sacramento State in the fall of 2010, and redshirted the 2011 season because of NCAA transfer rules.