CONWAY - A season of firsts continued Saturday afternoon for the University of Central Arkansas Bears when the San Diego Padres drafted pitcher Jeffery Enloe in the 37th round.
Enloe was the third UCA player taken in the 2013 draft, the most in school history for a single season, joining outfielders Forrestt Allday and Jonathan Davis.
Enloe went 7-5 this season with a 3.43 earned-run average. He threw four complete games in 16 starts and struck out a team-high 86 batters. A workhorse for the Bears for two seasons after transferring from Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Enloe threw nearly 200 innings over the past two years, including an 11-inning win over Northwestern State and a 10-inning victory over McNeese State this season.
"I was just overwhelmed,' said Enloe. "I knew it was getting later and later in the draft, so I didn't really know what to think. Then I got a phone call and it said from the San Diego area, so right then I knew it was the Padres.
"I got a lot of information from them all at once. It was a little bit overwhelming. I know I fly out Monday to Arizona for a physical, then to Oregon and I'm supposed to pitch Friday or Saturday night.'
"It's just impressive how far he's come in two years,' said UCA head coach Allen Gum. "He had the arm and then he just worked so hard. Just like the other two, good things come to those who work hard. Jeffery paid the price and put the time in. His hard work paid off.
"I think the Padres got a steal. Getting a guy like Jeffery that late in the draft, that was a big steal in this draft. Because he's going to go out and do some great things. I have 100 percent confidence in that.'
Enloe was second in the Southland Conference in starts and complete games, third in innings pitched and sixth in strikeouts. He helped the UCA pitching staff lead the league in ERA at 2.82.
"It's been a great, great experience,' said Enloe. "(Pitching) Coach (Kirk) Kelley and Coach Gum, and all the coaches, have helped me tremendously to improve my game and get me to the point where I got drafted into Major League Baseball. It's just been a great experience. I'm very blessed to have had the opportunity to play for UCA.'