Chad Dallas- Vols Baseball

KNOXVILLE, TN - March 12, 2021 - Pitcher Chad Dallas (36) of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the UNC Greensboro Spartans and the Tennessee Volunteers at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Caleb Jones/Tennessee Athletics

For the first time in program history, Tennessee had five players drafted in the first 10 rounds of the MLB Draft. Monday afternoon, Chad Dallas, Liam Spence, Max Ferguson Connor Pavolony and Jake Rucker were all selected in Day 2 of the 2021 MLB Draft, which consisted of rounds 2-10.

The Vols’ five selections in the first 10 rounds of an MLB Draft breaks their previous record of four, which was set three times (2001, 2005, 2019).

Dallas was the first Vol taken in this year’s draft, as the Toronto Blue Jays selected the righthander in the fourth round with the 121st overall pick. Dallas is the first Tennessee player to be picked by the Blue Jays since 2007.

Dallas led Tennessee’s pitching staff as the Friday-night starter for the entire season, pitching to a respectable 4.19 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. In 103 innings, the Orange, Texas native struck out a team-high 122 batters and walked just 20.  Dallas finished the season with an 11-2 record, the first time a Tennessee pitcher has reached 10 or more wins since 2005.

Spence was the second Vol selected in the 2021 Draft, when the Chicago Cubs picked the shortstop with the 154th overall pick in the fifth round. Spence is the first Vol to be drafted by the Cubs since 2013.

Spence was a force at the top of the Vols’ lineup, leading the SEC with a .472 on-base percentage and 54 walks, as well as pacing Tennessee with a .336 batting average and 63 runs scored. The Geelong, Australia native shined not only with the bat but with the glove as well, earning a spot on the SEC All-Defensive team. In total, it was enough for the mustached-shortstop to be named first team All-SEC in his final year at Rocky Top.

Spence's middle infield partner Ferguson was taken just six picks later in the fifth round, at No. 160 by the San Diego Padres. Ferguson is first Vol to be taken by the Padres since 2005.

Ferguson started in 67 of the Vols 68 games and finished fourth on the team with 46 runs scored, 12 home runs and 46 RBIs, all career highs. The second baseman complimented some decent pop at the plate with elite speed, as he led the Vols and ranked fifth in the SEC with 15 stolen bases. Ferguson was named to the SEC All-Tournament team after going .316 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs in five games in Hoover.

Tennessee’s catcher Pavolony was the first of two Vols to be selected in the seventh round, as the Baltimore Orioles drafted him with the 197th overall pick.

Pavolony established himself as one of the premier defensive catchers in college baseball, throwing out nine runners in 46 starts behind the plate in 2021. The Woodstock, Georgia native overcame a slow start to the year and a mid-season hand injury to set career-highs in runs scored (29), hits (40), doubles (seven), home runs (seven), RBIs (26) and stolen bases (five). Pavolony earned the nod at catcher on both the SEC All-Tournament team and the NCAA Knoxville All-Regional team.

Tennessee’s third baseman Rucker was the final Vol taken on Day 2 of the Draft, as the Minnesota Twins selected him with the 219th overall pick. Rucker is the seventh Vol drafted by the Twins, and he will join former teammate Alerick Soularie in the Minnesota farm system.

A consistent, professional hitter in the No. 3 slot, Rucker set career-highs in runs scored (48), hits (90), doubles (21), triples (two), home runs (nine), RBIs (55), walks (27) and stolen bases (seven). Rucker's 90 hits led the Vols and were tied for seventh nationally, and his 21 doubles also paced the team and were the second most in the SEC. Rucker was also named first team All-SEC.

In addition to the five Vols, three of Tennessee’s signees were drafted over the first two days. Brady House, the country’s top prep prospect, was selected No. 11 overall by the Washington Nationals. It has long been expected that House would not set foot on UT’s campus, and it was confirmed Sunday, when he told The Athletic’s Maria Torres that he plans to sign with Washington.

Fellow signees Ryan Spikes and Dayton Dooney were selected on Day 2, by the Tampa Bay Rays in the third round and the Kansas City Royals in the sixth round, respectively.

Jackson Leath, Camden Sewell, Luc Lipcius and Sean Hunley are the current Vols still available heading into Day 3 of the MLB Draft, which will conclude Tuesday at noon ET with rounds 11-20.

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