Sanders Drafted by Tampa Bay Rays

June 13, 2017

TAMPA, JUNE, 13, 2017 – University of South Florida pitcher Phoenix Sanders (Gainesville, Fla.) was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 10th round (289th overall) of the 2017 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft on Tuesday.

Sanders is the second Bull to be picked in the 2017 MLB Draft. Junior shortstop Kevin Merrell was drafted in the 1st round (33rd overall) of the draft by the Oakland Athletics.

The junior right-hander was a two-year weekend starter for USF. Sanders started 31 games, going 11-7 with a 3.46 ERA. He struck out 204 batters in 192.1 innings.

Sanders was named to the All-American Athletic Conference second team in 2017 after posting a 6-2 record with a 2.78 ERA. He led the team with 109 strikeouts, seventh-most in single-season program history. His 4.36 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranked second in the conference. Sanders served as the team's Friday night starter, contributing to a staff that set a program record with 620 strikeouts in 2017.

The Bulls have had at least one pitcher selected in each of the last 12 MLB Drafts. 

About USF Baseball

The University of South Florida baseball team is one of the fastest rising programs in the country. Under the guidance of head coach Mark Kingston, the Bulls reached the NCAA Regionals in 2015 for the first time in 13 years and USF followed that success with a 42-19 2017 campaign and second regional trip in three years. The Bulls earned just their second and third wins over top-five teams with a 4-2 victory against then-No. 3 Florida State on Feb. 21 and 15-10 win at then-No. 5 Florida on May 9. The win over FSU was part of the best start in program history thanks to a 19-game winning streak, the second-longest in USF Baseball records. USF reached the 40-win mark for the first time since 1996 and entered the top-25 in the major collegiate baseball polls on May 1 for the first time since 2013.

The USF Baseball program has won five conference titles and the Bulls have made 12 NCAA appearances. Follow the baseball team on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram), visit for the most up-to-date information, and purchase tickets for upcoming games at For tickets, contact the USF Ticket Office at 1-800-Go-Bulls or by going online to

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