BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union junior Chris Fern was selected in the 27th round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
Fern, a left-handed pitcher from Zephyrhills, Fla., is the fourth Bulldog ever to be selected and the first since Marty Popham in 2008. Popham was picked up in the 20th round by the Cleveland Indians. The Union player ever drafted was Nate Zettler, who was picked by Kansas City in the 20th round in 2002. Joaquin Canizal was drafted by Toronto in 2003 in the 31st round.
All four Bulldogs drafted have been pitchers.
Fern has played only one season for Union, transferring in from the University of Virginia. Originally tabbed as the team's closer, the 6-foot-4 southpaw turned out to be the Bulldogs' top starting pitcher as the season progressed. He earned All-Appalachian Athletic Conference First Team honors in going 7-1 with a 2.47 ERA, five complete games, one shutout and three saves. Fern appeared in 15 games, starting 10 of them.
In addition, Fern led the team in strikeouts with 72 in 76 2/3 innings pitched and gave up only 17 walks. Opponents posted a .223 batting average against him.
Fern was named the AAC Pitcher of the Week on April 2 after recording two complete-game victories in conference play last week. He allowed only one earned run as he tossed a shutout against Bluefield (Va.) in a 6-0 decision and registered a 6-1 win over Point (Ga.). He fanned 17 batters on the week with 12 coming against Point as both opponents combined to hit .167 against him.
Union finished the year 35-21 overall and 16-8 in conference play, placing third in the standings.