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Pirate battery drafted on first day

From ECU Media Relations with Bonesville staff contributions

Catcher Clayton

Pitcher Sam

Narron to Texas, Indians grab McCullough

GREENVILLE — The Texas Rangers selected their manager's nephew, East Carolina junior left-handed pitcher Sam Narron, in the 15th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft on Tuesday.

A short time later, ECU's senior catcher, Clayton McCullough, was taken by the Cleveland Indians in the 22nd round.

"It was a honor just to be selected," said Narron, whose uncle, Jerry Narron, is the Rangers' skipper. "I was a little apprehensive all day, so this was a welcomed surprise. Not everybody gets this opportunity, so I'm very happy to be given this chance."

According to Pirate assistant coach Kevin McMullan, ECU's coaching staff knew all along it was courting a future professional baseball player when Narron was recruited during his prep days at Eastern Wayne.

"Coming out of high school, we believed that Sam was a professional prospect," said McMullan. "Through three years of hard work he earned the right to be drafted. I think it says a lot about our program and a lot about what (pitching) Coach [Tommy] Eason has done from a development standpoint."

Narron earned second team All-Conference USA honors this season, posting an 8-3 record with a 2.98 ERA. He is tied for sixth place on ECU's career victories list with 26 and also ranks among the school's all-time top 10 in innings pitched (277.2) and games started (41).

In addition to his family ties to Major League Baseball through his uncle, Narron's father, Richard, played professionally in the New York Mets organization, and his grandfather, Sam, played in the majors with Pittsburgh.

McCullough, a native of Greenville, was the 26th pick of the Cleveland Indians and 664th choice overall. As a senior, he batted a career-best .303 establishing career-highs in runs, doubles, home runs, and RBI.

For McCullough, it was the second time he was picked — and this time he went higher in the pecking order. He was originally drafted out of high school by the Seattle Mariners in the 47th round of the 1998 MLB Draft.

"Clayton has a tremendous work ethic and has put himself into this position through hard work," McMullan stated. "It says a lot about our program to have a pair of guys drafted on the first day."

Visit contributed to this report.

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