NEW YORK, N.Y. -- University of Connecticut baseball saw three players selected within picks of each other on day three of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft. Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.) went to the Milwaukee Brewers in the 13th round of the draft (391st overall), before Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) was selected by the New York Mets in the 14th round (419th) and the St. Louis Cardinals picked Carson Cross (Brentwood, N.H.) later in the 14th (431st). The three selections give UConn 84 in the history of the program, including 38 under 12th-year head coach Jim Penders.
McDowell has backstopped the Huskies as their primary catcher for the past three seasons. A two-time All-Conference pick by The American, the junior hit .286 with seven home runs and 39 home runs in 2015. A strong situational hitter, McDowell is the nation's leader with 11 sacrifice flies this season. In 164 career games at Connecticut he has clubbed 12 home runs, 18 doubles and driven in 98. Behind the plate, he has thrown out 19 would-be base stealers in each of the last two seasons.
The 2015 NEIBA New England Player of the Year, Siena was a First Team ABCA All-Region and All-Conference selection as a junior and finished among the national leaders with a .362 batting average and 64 runs scored. The infielder added 14 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and led the Huskies with 54 RBIs. He also drew 29 walks and stole 11 bases in a breakout junior campaign. Siena hit safely in 54-of-60 games and recorded 27 multi-hit efforts, posting hitting streaks of 18 and 10 games during the season. In 175 career games at UConn he holds a .302 batting average with 30 doubles, 10 home runs and 114 RBIs.
The draft selection is the second of Cross' career, as he was a 24th round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates following the 2013 season. After missing the entirety of the 2014 season with an injury, the 6'6 tri-captain bounced back with an All-America season in 2015. Cross went 10-2 with a 2.29 ERA in a team-best 106.0 innings, striking out 108 batters against only 25 walks on the year.
Named a Louisville Slugger Third Team All-American following the conclusion of his redshirt senior season, Cross also garnered American Athletic Conference and NEIBA New England Pitcher of the Year laurels in 2015. A unanimous First Team All-Conference selection and ABCA All-Region First Team member, his 108 strikeouts were fourth-most in a single-season in UConn history. Cross finished fourth in program history with 222 career strikeouts, compiling a career record of 22-7 with a 2.20 ERA in 254.0 career innings.
McDowell was UConn's highest draft selection since LJ Mazzilli was taken in the fourth round in 2013, while Cross was the highest pitcher selected since Matt Barnes went in the first round in 2011. Last year, Tom Verdi was a 32nd round selection of the Seattle Mariners. Connecticut has seen five former Huskies play in the major leagues this season: Nick Ahmed ('11) of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Barnes ('11) of the Boston Red Sox, Scott Oberg ('12) of the Colorado Rockies, Mike Olt ('10) of the Chicago Cubs and George Springer ('11) of the Houston Astros. That group leads 10 former Huskies currently in professional baseball.