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College righty Eppler taken by Bucs in Round 6

Right-hander Tyler Eppler, a right-hander from Sam Houston State University, became the Pirates' sixth-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft on Friday.

Eppler, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound pitch-to-contact guy, has the distinction of becoming the first collegiate pitcher taken in this Draft by the Bucs, who in recent years have prioritized big collegiate arms.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 1 p.m. ET.

A few minutes after his selection, Eppler apparently did some "drafting" of his own. Via twitter:

"Proud to announce I'm a member of the @Pirates!! And proud to announce @MarissaDiggs is now my fiancé!"

In the fourth round of last June's Draft, the Bucs selected Cody Dickson from Sam Houston State; Dickson, a lefty, broke in sharply last season with Jamestown (2-0, 2.37 ERA in 14 starts) but now is struggling with Class A West Virginia (2-7, 5.19 ERA).

Eppler went 9-6 this season, with 67 strikeouts in 109 2/3 innings. He has kept the ball in the park throughout his collegiate career, allowing only six home runs in a total of 246 innings.

Eppler was Sam Houston's so-called "midweek" pitcher last season, when he went 5-2 with a 3.41 ERA, and graduated into the school's weekend ace role this year. He pitched the Bearkats to a 2-1 victory over Dallas Baptist in an NCAA regional tournament game last weekend, striking out six and walking one in seven innings. That was his fifth win in his last six starts.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.
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