WKU signees Spalding, Eickhoff mulling over options following MLB Draft

Cole Claybourn

Two WKU signees now have decisions to make.

Louisville St. Xavier pitcher Matt Spalding and Olney Central Junior College pitcher Jerad Eickhoff were both drafted earlier this week in the MLB First Year Player Draft.

Both said as of right now, they’re unsure whether they’ll sign a Major League contract or opt come to WKU in the fall.

Spalding, who was drafted in the 29th round by the Boston Red Sox, said it all depends on what happens this summer.

“The Red Sox want to evaluate me some more over the summer before making me an offer,” he said. “They want more of their upper level management and their scouting director to see me. I’ll either make my decision when they offer me or when the deadline comes to sign.”

The deadline for players to sign with a Major League team is August 15.

Spalding said he couldn’t put a percentage on his chances at ending up at WKU, but said he’s looking at it as a “win-win situation.”

“If I don’t sign, I have been fortunate to have a scholarship to Western to get an education and play baseball for a great program,” he said.

Eickhoff was drafted in the 15th round by the Texas Rangers, and like Spalding, he said it boils down to what happens over the course of the summer.

But he indicated that his interest in WKU still remains very high.

He said he was impressed by the success that WKU has had in getting players drafted.

“I’m in a good spot,” he said. “I’ve got two very good options. It’s nice to know you have Western Kentucky – a program that’s come a long way. I’m just waiting for the Rangers to call, and then I’m going to make the decision that’s best for me.”

Eickhoff appeared in 16 games this past season for Olney Central. He was 10-4 with a 2.44 earned run average and struck out 116 batters in 88 2/3 innings pitched. He also recorded two saves.

The Evansville, Ind., native was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 46th round after his freshman year at Olney Central.

He said he’s spoken with Head Coach Chris Finwood since the draft, but it was mostly just a chance for Finwood to congratulate him on getting drafted.

“He wished me good luck,” Eickhoff said. “They want me to keep them in the loop. I’m right on the fence, just simply based on the fact that I don’t know what they (the Rangers) are going to say. But I could very much see myself going to Western.

“I’ll probably make a decision within a month – hopefully sooner.”