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Minnesota Crookston pitcher picked by the Atlanta Braves, becomes first in school history to go in MLB draft

Minnesota Crookston pitcher Zach Seipel became the first player in school history to be selected in the Major League Baseball draft when the Atlanta Braves picked the Golden Eagles' closer in the 27th round on Wednesday afternoon.

"A lot of emotions right now," Seipel said a couple of hours after he was drafted. "I'm very excited. It was certainly nerve-wracking. It was cool to see your name."

Seipel, a junior right-hander from Eagan, Minn., was Pick No. 802 in the draft. He saw his name pop up while watching the live tracker at home with family.

Moments later, Braves area scout Randy Briesacher called Seipel to congratulate him. Briesacher had called the day before, too, to make sure Seipel was ready to be picked.

Seipel said he has a meeting planned Wednesday night to discuss details of a potential contract.

Seipel has been the Golden Eagles' closer the past three years, earning all-Northern Sun honors three years in a row.

With a fastball in the low to mid 90s, Seipel posted a 4-2 mark in 36.2 innings. He had a 2.70 earned-run average and 31 career saves.

Seipel notched 63 strikeouts to 17 walks as a junior and held opponents to a .200 batting average.

Seipel came to UMC as a catcher before being converted to a relief pitcher after throwing a bullpen during the fall of his freshman season. Seipel estimated he threw seven innings on the mound in high school.

According to UMC, Seipel has until Aug. 15 to decide if he will sign with the Braves or return for his senior season.

Before the draft, Seipel told the Herald: "It's difficult. Playing pro baseball is a dream. Leaving senior year is always a little tough. Not finishing your degree on time comes into play. If the situation is right, it's really hard to not want to play pro baseball."

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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