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Baseball Fri Jun 17 2011

Sox & Cubs Picks Take the Stage in Omaha

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By Jason Csizmadi,

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for white sox.gifThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for cubs.gifAs the College World Series begins this weekend in Omaha, the eight teams still alive include six players picked by the White Sox and Cubs in last week's First-Year Player Draft.

The White Sox drafted a trio of Cal stars -- pitcher Erik Johnson, shortstop Marcus Semien and catcher Chadd Krist -- as well as Texas A&M pitcher Brandon Parrent and Virginia pitcher Cody Winiarski. The Cubs will have only one draftee in the College World Series: Texas pitcher Andrew McKirahan.

All the games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2.

RHP Erik Johnson, Cal
Bio - Stats - Drafted in the 2nd round by the Sox

Cal's pitching has been the team's biggest strength and Johnson (7-4) is the poster child. He has a 2.91 ERA, 100 strikeouts and 54 walks in 102 innings this season. He made notable contributions in his last appearance in the Super Regionals, pitching six solid innings and allowing two runs on three hits. Look for his power pitching and consistency in Sunday's opener against a tough Virginia offense.

SS Marcus Semien, Cal
Bio - Stats - Drafted in the 6th round by the Sox

Semien had a slow start this season, though the Pac-10's pitching talent could have contributed to his struggle. He is known more for his defensive capabilities but has his average at .277 heading into the weekend after hitting .328 last year. He helped win Game 1 of the Super Regionals last weekend with a three-run home run.

C Chadd Krist, Cal
Bio - Stats - Drafted in the 13th round by the Sox

The junior is a two-year starter who originally joined the team as a freshman walk-on, but this season has a .304 batting average and a team-high 25 doubles. Expect Krist to be a big part of the Bears offense. He is a two-time All-Pac 10 catcher and bats third in the lineup. In the series-winning game last weekend, he ignited the team with a hit a two-run homer over the left field fence.

LHP Brandon Parrent, Texas A&M
Bio - Stats - Drafted in the 30th round by the Sox

The 6-foot-2 relief pitcher is 2-4 this season with the Aggies, posting a 4.21 ERA in 47 innings. Parrent, a transfer from Temple College, has worked mostly out of the bullpen, with a few starts as well. That versatility will serve him well with A&M missing ace pitcher John Stilson, who is out for the season with a torn labrum.

RHP Cody Winiarski, Virginia
Bio - Stats - Drafted in the 36th round by the Sox

The Franksville, Wis., native posted an impressive first season with the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers after transferring from Madison Area Technical College. He is 6-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 74 innings, making 13 starts.

He was Virginia's Sunday starter throughout the season but can also play a long relief role behind Danny Hultzen, Will Roberts and Tyler Wilson. In Game 1 of the Super Regionals, he combined on a four-hitter with Hultzen, the No. 2 overall pick, pitching 3.2 shutout innings.

LHP Andrew McKirahan, Texas
Bio - Stats - Drafted in the 21st round by the Cubs

Drafted late by the Cubs, the junior lefty is 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA in 22 relief appearances. Part of a strong Longhorns pitching staff, he doesn't pitch a lot of innings, but he might show up in a big spot or two this weekend. In the Big 12 tournament, he threw 3 2/3 hitless innings across three games against Missouri.

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