SECAUCUS, N.J. – Gardner-Webb pitcher Ryan Boelter was selected in the 33rd round (986th pick) of the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Chicago White Sox Saturday afternoon.
Boelter (South St. Paul, Minn. / South St. Paul HS) is the third Gardner-Webb pitcher selected in the 2016 MLB Draft. Rotation mates Jeremy Walker (Braves, 5th Round) and Brad Haymes (White Sox, 17th Round) were also selected. It is the largest draft class for Gardner-Webb since four men – Roger McSwain, Bobby Lail, Charles Leroy and Larry Sisk – were drafted in 1969.
Boelter – a southpaw – joins Haymes in the White Sox draft class. McSwain (1972) and Sisk (1969) were also popped by the Chicago club from Gardner-Webb.
The South St. Paul, Minn., senior made a notable velocity jump midway through the 2016 season, with his fastball pushing into the low 90s – along with improved control of a very effective slider. That improvement paid dividends for the Runnin' Bulldogs as Boelter moved from the bullpen into a starting role in April.
Boelter hurled 5.0 scoreless in a no decision at USC Upstate on April 13 – his first career start – and went on to post a 4-1 record to go with a 3.25 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 63.2 innings of work. His finest effort came against eventual Southern Conference champion Western Carolina on April 27, when he tossed 8.0 shutout innings in a 4-0 win over the Catamounts.
He hurled 4.0 shutout frames against NCAA Regional participant Duke in a late-season relief appearance and went 7.0 shutout frames at UNC Asheville. All told, Boelter made 19 appearances for Gardner-Webb in 2016, with six starts. Four of his starts lasted at least 7.0 innings.
In two seasons he went 4-3 with two saves and a 3.84 ERA in 35 appearances. He fanned 84 batters in 77.1 innings pitched for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
Boelter transferred into Gardner-Webb after two seasons at Iowa Central Community College, where he went 6-3 with a 3.73 ERA as a sophomore.
Boelter played a key role in a strong season for Gardner-Webb. The Runnin' Bulldogs finished 37-21 and tied for second in the Big South Conference regular season standings. The win total set a new Division I era mark and the conference finish was the highest for the program since joining an all-sports league in 1990.
The Runnin¹ Bulldogs also established a new school mark for regular season wins (36) in 2016 under head coach Rusty Stroupe.
Chicago White Sox Draft Picks From Gardner-Webb (Since 1967)
1969 Larry Sisk (4th round, 75th pick)
1972 Roger McSwain (3rd round, 53rd pick)
2016 Brad Haymes (17th round, 506th pick)
2016 Ryan Boelter (33rd round, 986th pick)