Pitt’s Zeuch Taken 21st in MLB Draft by Blue Jays

NEW YORK – Pitt pitcher T.J. Zeuch made history this evening as he became the highest drafted Panther in program history, as he was selected with the 21st pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 MLB Draft.

(Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

“Today we are all very proud of T.J. being drafted in the first round by the Blue Jays, said head coach Joe Jordano. “He certainly earned this lofty position and has worked very hard for this day to become a reality. There is no question, T.J. looks at this day as a new start, a new beginning on his journey to the big leagues. I cannot be happier for him and look forward to watching his progress with great admiration.”

Zeuch has been one of the most prolific pitchers in program history, taking the mound for the past three seasons. He concludes his career as a Panther ranking seventh on the all-time strikeout list, recording 205 strikeouts in just 212.6 innings of work. His 90 strikeouts during the 2014 season rank fourth in Pitt history for a single season while his career 8.68 strikeouts per nine innings mark stands at 15th in the Panther record books.

This season Zeuch pitched to a record of 6-1 in 10 starts after missing the first four weeks of the season due to injury. He led the Panther staff with a 3.10 ERA, allowing just 24 earned runs and 19 walks, while striking out 74 batters.

In 2015, the righty made a name for himself as he pitched Pitt to a 1-0 victory over eventual national champion Virginia on the road. In that outing, Zeuch out-dueled future first round draft pick Nathan Kirby, going 8.0 innings without allowing a run or a walk. He would surrender just four hits in the contest, striking out eight Cavalier batters. On the season, he would amass a 5-6 record with a 3.87 ERA, allowing just 38 earned runs in 88.1 innings and totaling 90 strikeouts.

As a true freshman, Zeuch fell into the mid-week role before earning a spot in the weekend rotation. He finished the year with a mark of 2-6 and a 2.75 ERA, going 55.2 innings. On the year he surrendered just 17 earned runs and 17 walks, fanning 41 batters.

“This has been my dream since I was five years old,” said Zeuch. “I can remember first picking up a ball and using my whole hand to throw it and my dad showing me how to hold a proper two-seam fastball. At that moment, I knew I wanted to play baseball for the rest of my life. Now the dream to put on a professional uniform is coming true.”

Al Lachowicz is the only other Panther to be selected in the first round, as he was selected with the 24th overall pick by the Texas Rangers in 1981.

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