Five Blue Devils heard their names called Monday and Tuesday.
Duke shortstop Ethan Murray was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 147th overall pick in the fifth round of the 2021 MLB Draft. The Crozet, Va., native has been a steady defensive leader and a solid hitter for much of his three-year Blue Devil career, and his draft selection makes him the first Blue Devil off the board and Duke's seventh top-five rounder in the last eight years. He finished the 2021 season with a .297 average along with 22 runs batted in and 10 stolen bases.
Murray first caught national attention as a freshman star for the 2019 team that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals and continued his strong play offensively and defensively through the 2021 season and ACC championship run.
Just moments later, Duke outfielder Joey Loperfido was selected by the Houston Astros with the 208th overall pick in the seventh round.
Loperfido began his Duke career as an infielder and transitioned to the outfield as a junior, and was a force at the top of the Blue Devils lineup as a senior this past spring, batting a team-leading .374 with 29 runs batted in. He caught fire in time for the ACC tournament, giving him the tournament MVP award as Duke took the crown.
Peter Matt was the last Blue Devil taken on the second day of the draft, heading to the Chicago Cubs with the 304th overall pick in the tenth round.
The Larchmont, N.Y., native started the season on a tear as a graduate transfer from Penn. At Duke, he batted .297 with monster slugging numbers, blasting a career-high 15 homers on the year. He showcased aggressiveness on the bases with a team-leading 15 steals and was consistent as a right fielder. The 23-year-old certainly earned his spot as a tenth rounder over his five solid collegiate seasons.
Day Three of the draft had a few more Blue Devils’ names called.
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With the first pick Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected pitcher Jack Carey 313th overall in the 11th round. Carey surprised many by taking the reins as the team’s ace, though the junior righty posted a 5.24 ERA this past spring over a team-leading 68.2 innings.
In the following round, the Detroit Tigers picked catcher Michael Rothenberg with the 345th overall pick in the 12th round. Rothenberg missed out on a prime opportunity to go pro after a stellar start to the shortened 2020 campaign had him just missing the short 2020 Draft. He then struggled to get back to that point, but was still solid in 2021. The switch-hitting catcher was reliable behind the plate over his entire Duke career and showed great potential over the latter half of the 2021 season, which culminated with a walk-off home run to sink Miami in the ACC tournament this past May.
Following the draft, the Cubs signed graduate student Richard Brereton to a free agent contract. He ended the year with a 7.02 ERA in 16.2 innings pitched. He was a two-player at Emory before transferring to Duke for this last season, but he did not a log an at-bat with the Blue Devils.
Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.