USM's Copeland drafted by Orioles

HATTIESBURG — Southern Miss pitcher Scott Copeland has been drafted by the Baltimore Orioles.

Copeland was selected in the 21st round on Tuesday, the 628th pick overall.

Copeland posted an 11-1 record with a 3.75 ERA. He led C-USA in wins.

In the 2010 C-USA Championship he was 2-0, throwing 11.2 shutout innings. In the Championship game he worked the final 4.2 innings without allowing a hit to lead Southern Miss past Rice. For his efforts he was named the C-USA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

After televising its first and compensatory rounds during prime time Monday night, major league baseball held rounds 2-30 via conference calls between team officials on Tuesday. Rounds 31-50 of the draft were scheduled to be conducted Wednesday.

Jones County Junior College’s Chris Lofton was picked by the San Francisco Giants in the ninth round Tuesday. He told the Hattiesburg American that the Giants want him to play center field.

“When the Giants’ scout called, he said I’d be flying to Arizona by the end of the week,” Lofton said while visiting with friends at his home in Raleigh.

Mississippi pitcher Aaron Barrett was selected by the Washington Nationals with the first pick in the ninth round, which dwarfed his position in the previous drafts.

“The fourth time’s a charm, no doubt,” said the 6-foot-4, 218-pound right-hander. “It’s a huge day for me.”

In 2006, he was picked by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 44th round out of high school. In 2008, he was picked by the Minnesota Twins in the 20th round. Last year, he was picked by the Texas Rangers in the 27th round.

Barrett finished with a 7-5 record, 4.34 ERA and 98 strikeouts as the Rebels’ No. 2 starter.

“I’m ecstatic,” Barrett told The Clarion-Ledger. “I couldn’t ask for anything more, especially coming back for my senior year.”

Two high school prospects, Terry outfielder/left-handed pitcher Deshun Dixon and Richton shortstop JaCoby Jones, also had their names called Tuesday.

Jones, an LSU signee widely regarded as the state’s top prep prospect in the Class of 2010, was taken in the 19th round by the Houston Astros. Jones, who is being advised by high-profile agent Scott Boras, has repeatedly insisted he plans to play in college next year.

Dixon, meanwhile, was picked in the 10th round by the Tampa Bay Rays. Dixon’s older brother, Rashun, was a 10th-round pick by the Oakland Athletics in 2008.

“They had contacted me the most saying they liked me,” Deshun Dixon said. “They’ve told me I’m going to be an outfielder because they said I have too much athleticism to go to the pitcher’s mound.”

Ole Miss outfielder Tim Ferguson was picked by the Kansas City Royals in the 10th round. The junior outfielder hit .294 with 9 homers, 36 RBIs and 24 stolen bases this season as the Rebels’ leadoff hitter.

Though he has a year of eligibility remaining, Ferguson said he expects to sign with the Royals, one of his favorite teams growing up.

Former Mississippi State first baseman Connor Powers was taken by the San Diego Padres in the 21st round. Powers returned to Mississippi State last summer after being picked in the 11th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Naperville, Ill., native said he wanted to become a more disciplined and savvy hitter, and he did just that. Powers improved his average from .301 to .379 and cut his strikeouts from 64 to 38.

Mississippi State infielder Jet Butler went in the 26th round to the New York Mets.

Also Tuesday, MSU signee Corey Dickerson, a center fielder at Meridian Community College, was selected in the eighth round by the Colorado Rockies.

Other Mississippi picks include former West Lowndes player William Beckwith in the 21st round to the Braves; former Lafayette pitcher and Alabama football player Justin Woodall, 26th round to the Rays; and ex-Grenada standout Demarcus Tidwell, 28th round to the Indians.

The Associated Press