magazine-category: Athletics

Selected for ‘The Show’

Mason Miller pitching

Mason Miller, Selected in Third Round of MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics

Contributing writer Jacob Conley

Gardner-Webb pitcher Mason Miller thought his baseball career was finished and was all set to enter the world of finance.

However, Miller’s suit will be on the hanger a little longer in favor of a MLB uniform. He was selected in the third round of the 2021 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Oakland Athletics.

“I love this game,” Miller asserted. “I feel like I’ve gotten a second chance, and I want to make the most of this opportunity.”

Miller is the fourth Runnin’ Bulldog to make it to “The Show,” joining Blake Lalli (Cubs), Emilio Pagan (Rays) and Jeremy Walker (Braves) in that exclusive fraternity.

He was a pro before he’s a pro. He doesn’t let anything get to him and just goes out there and takes care of business.

Jim Chester, Head Coach

“He was a pro before he’s a pro,” Head Coach Jim Chester said of Miller. “He doesn’t let anything get to him and just goes out there and takes care of business. He’s also great off the field and in the clubhouse. We were very blessed to have him here.”

His journey did not come without a few bumps in the road though. During his sophomore season at Division III Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania, Miller was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Once the condition was treated, he gained roughly 35 pounds and several miles per hour on his fastball.

In 2020, before the season was cut short due to COVID-19, Miller thought his career was over. Then, the NCAA granted baseball players an extra year of eligibility. Miller took the opportunity to jump from Division III to Division I, and came to GWU because of Coach Jim Chester.

“Coach (Chester) is a Pennsylvania guy, and a lot of people I know and trust speak very highly of him,” Miller informed.

A six-foot-five, 205-pound righthander, Miller finished the 2021 season with an 8-1 record, forging a 3.30 ERA with 121 strikeouts in 92.2 innings of work. In fifteen trips to the mound, Miller fanned 10 or more batters on seven occasions, including a season-high 13 in a 6-2 win at Campbell on March 5.

Miller led the Big South Conference and ranked 21st in the nation with 121 strikeouts, the second most in a single season by a Gardner-Webb pitcher and his .210 opponent batting average tops the all-time GWU listing.

Miller was a 2021 Big South All- Conference First Team selection and was named to the 2021 ABCA/Rawlings Division I Atlantic All-Region Second Team. He graduated from Gardner- Webb with a Master of Business Administration degree.

Reprinted with permission from The Shelby Star.

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