Rhinesmith, Morrison taken in MLB Draft

WKU redshirt senior pitcher Ben Morrison (10) throws against UTSA players during WKU’s victory over UTSA 9-5 on Saturday, March 31 at Nick Denes Field.

Matt Stahl

WKU baseball pitcher Ben Morrison and center fielder Jacob Rhinesmith both became professionals this week.

On Tuesday, Morrison was taken in the 10th round of the MLB Draft with the 301st overall pick. On Wednesday, Rhinesmith was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 18th round with the 551st overall pick.

Last season, Morrison had a 2.21 ERA in the closer role for the Hilltoppers. He collected seven saves over the course of the season and was selected for the All-Conference USA Second Team. Morrison was also one of the team’s best academic performers, making the C-USA All-Academic Team and graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

Rhinesmith joined the team last season after spending his first two years at Indian Hills Community College. Rhinesmith’s batting average was .308 last season, and he led the team with 14 home runs.

Rhinesmith was also one of only nine players in the NCAA with at least 13 home runs and 13 stolen bases. He became the first WKU player to ever win the NCBWA Hitter of the Week Award. He was also named C-USA Hitter of the Week, College Sports Madness Hitter of the Week and was one of Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s players of the week.

Morrison and Rhinesmith are the 55th and 56th Hilltoppers to be drafted in program history. WKU has had 21 players drafted in the last 10 years. 

Morrison and Rhinesmith could become the Hilltoppers’ 107th and 108th players to sign a professional contract. The MLB’s assigned value for Morrison’s contract will be $139,100.

The two draftees helped the Hilltoppers to contend for a C-USA Tournament spot for most of the year, until the team lost 10 of its last 11 games and finished in 10th place in Conference USA, missing the C-USA Tournament.

Reporter Matt Stahl can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @mattstahl97.