WKU Baseball junior left-handed pitcher Ian Tompkins was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 14th round with the 423rd overall pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft on Saturday.
Tompkins is the eighth Hilltopper pitcher taken since 2009 and the highest selected since Phil Wetherell was taken in the eighth round by the New York Yankees in the 2011 MLB Draft. Tompkins will become the 103rd player in WKU history to sign a professional baseball contract and the 20th player to sign professionally since 2008.
The Louisville, Ky., native and St. Xavier High School alum is the eighth WKU player to join the Royals organization, joining Rob Tomberlin (1985), Gerald Ingram (1988), Doug Piatt (1988), Colby Beach (2008), Matt Ridings (2010), Brian Edelen (2011) and Andrew Edwards (2013).
Taking on the role as WKU’s primary closer as a junior in 2014, Tompkins led the Sun Belt Conference and ranked among the nation’s leaders with 14 saves. The southpaw struck out 46 batters in 26 innings for a career high strikeouts per nine innings clip of 15.92. He finished his career with 161 strikeouts in 117 innings, which ranks him third among active NCAA pitchers with a career strikeouts per nine innings mark of 12.38.
Tompkins was selected as the lone relief pitcher on the All-Sun Belt Conference First-Team, was named to the Midseason NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list and set WKU’s single-season saves record with 14 during his junior campaign. He also excelled in the classroom with a cumulative GPA of 3.78 as an accounting major, which led to him being named to the Capital One Academic All-America® Third-Team on May 30.
He finishes his WKU career as the program’s single-season saves record holder (14) and ranks second all-time with 18 career saves. Tompkins was a spot starter for the Hilltoppers as a freshman in 2012, making nine starts on the mound while striking out 56 batters in 55.2 innings. He moved to the back end of the bullpen as a sophomore and combined to strike out 105 batters in 61.1 innings of work while racking up 18 saves.
Tompkins will join former WKU players Andrew Edwards, Ryan Huck, Phil Wetherell, Kes Carter, Terrence Dayleg and Wade Gaynor as active Hilltoppers in the professional ranks.