June 8, 2011

Holland, Simko Selected on Day Two of MLB Draft

CORPUS CHRISTI -

Junior left-hander pitcher Todd Simko and senior outfielder Matt Holland of the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team were chosen on day two of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Simko went in the 21st round (637th overall) to the Washington Nationals, while Holland went in the 22nd (691st overall) to the Philadelphia Phillies.

The duo marks the fifth and sixth players in school history to be taken in the draft. Simko marks the school's highest draft choice in Islanders lore, topping Sean Hoelscher, who was chosen with the first pick of the 27th round in 2010. They are the first Islanders teammates to be selected in the same draft since 2005 (Trey Hearne and Chuck Carter).

Simko set a school record with 10 wins in his debut season for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, going 10-6 with a 4.31 ERA and a .249 batting average against. The Arroyo Grande, Calif., native was named to the Southland Conference All-Tournament Team after delivering a complete-game three-hitter against Lamar, in which the only run he surrendered was unearned.

The southpaw was spectacular down the stretch, posting a 1.99 ERA over his final seven appearances. In that period, he went 5-0 and surrendered just 25 hits in 45 1/3 innings of work. He delivered all three of his complete games during that string, and punched out 30 opposing batters.

Just two years removed from an arm injury that ended his career as a pitcher, Holland worked hard in the weight room to bulk up to 210 pounds heading into his senior season, and the results were palpable. The Watkins, Iowa, native slugged 10 home runs, the eighth different player in school history to do so, and matched the school record with 20 doubles. His 149 total bases set a new school mark as well.

A First Team All-Southland Conference honoree, Holland was second in the league with his .391 average and 93 hits, while his 53 RBI were sixth in the conference. His .626 slugging percentage was the second highest of all Southland players and he finished seventh in the league with a .445 on-base percentage. He also scored 44 runs, stole seven bases, and posted a 16-game hitting streak at the end of the season.

While Holland's college eligibility has expired, Simko has until Aug. 15 to decide whether he wants to return to the Islanders or sign a professional contract. Rounds 31-50 of the MLB Draft will take place on Wednesday, beginning at 11 a.m. CT.