DENVER – University of South Alabama left-handed pitcher Tyler Samaniego, and 2021-22 signee Brennon McNair were selected on day three of the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft. 

McNair was selected in the 11th round (319th overall) by the Kansas City Royals, and Samaniego was selected in the 15th round (433rd overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

McNair, an infielder who signed an NLI for the 2021-22 academic year out of Magee High School in Magee, Miss., was named the Co-Player of the Year in Class 3A in Mississippi in 2021 by the Mississippi Association of Coaches. He helped lead MHS to a runner-up finish in the 2021 3A playoffs.

Samaniego went 2-2 with a 4.08 ERA and a team-best seven saves in 19 relief appearances in 2021, and struck out 27 batters against nine walks in 17 2/3 innings pitched. He limited opponents to a .172 batting average. 

“It’s just a dream come true,” Samaniego said. “It is like all of the hard work is finally paying off. It is exciting, but it was like a roller coaster. I am thankful for the opportunity the Pirates organization has given me, and I am going to go and make the most of it.”

Samaniego recorded 15 scoreless appearances out of his 19 this past season, including four straight to close the year, and allowed earned runs in just three of 19 appearances. He struck out a career-high four batters against Southern Miss on Feb. 23, and tossed a career-high two innings against UT Arlington in the Sun Belt Conference Championship on May 29, and matched that total against Miami on June 6 in the NCAA Gainesville Regional. 

“This is just my second year of only being a pitcher, and I think I am finally getting the hang of things,” Samaniego said. “All of the work we put in in the weight room is paying off and showing up in my game.”

Samaniego is the first Jaguar left-hander to be drafted since Locke St. John was selected by the Detroit Tigers in 2014.

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