Even though North Carolina Central does not currently field a baseball team, the program did produce a professional prospect in its final season.
Pitcher Austin Vernon was selected in the 10th round of the 2021 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays Monday night.
Vernon completed a historic senior season for the Eagles in 2021 a year after missing the 2020 season due to injury.
Also read: North Carolina Central will discontinue baseball program at conclusion of season
The 6-foot-8 right-hander went 5-4 with a 2.55 ERA in 70 2/3 innings. The highlight of the year for Vernon was an 8-inning no-hitter he threw against Delaware State on May 7. It was the first no-hitter for the NCCU program in the modern era.
Vernon was named First Team All-MEAC in 2021 leading the Eagles to the MEAC Baseball Tournament championship game.
For his career, Vernon made 53 appearances as a reliever and starter posting a 3.54 ERA over 134.2 innings pitched.
Vernon is now the third NCCU player to be selected in the draft, and the highest pick since Corey Joyce was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the 12th round in 2019. Vernon’s older brother, Andrew, was a 28th round selection by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2016.