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Zack Thompson glad he went to a team where he was “the guy they wanted”

Zack Thompson (UK Athletics Photo)

Here is what Kentucky junior left-handed pitcher Zack Thompson had to say Tuesday about being picked 19th by the St. Louis Cardinals in Monday’s Major League Baseball Draft. He was 16-5 in 34 starts, had 268 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.2 last season.

On when his name was called…

“It was an awesome moment. I got a call (a few minutes) ahead of time so I knew it was coming and that helped a little bit. Can’t complain at all. Very thankful. You almost blackout. Just unreal. Couldn’t think straight. It was just an awesome moment.”

 On whether he had any idea the Cardinals were interested in drafting him…

“The week leading up to the draft was pretty quiet. I hadn’t really heard much. I knew a few picks before that there was the possibility something would happen (with the Cardinals) but up until I got the call there was no certainty.”

 On whether he ever got worried he might be slipping on draft night…

“I was just thankful. I was still a first-rounder so I can’t complain at all. It was an amazing moment. For me, it was more important to go to the right team (than a certain pick) and I was very glad to go to a team where I was one guy they wanted.”

On his experience playing in the SEC instead of signing out of high school…

“It was huge. How many guys did the SEC have last night? 13? It’s just such an important league for development. No other league competes like our league.”

On his best memories of time at UK…

“Obviously, the NCAA regional my freshman year (in 2017) was awesome. The relationships I built with the guys and then, of course, (catcher) Marshall Gei this year. He was a blast to be around every day.”

On growing into a leadership role as a junior…

“We lost so many guys to the draft the last two years so we knew we were going to be a really young team and would need somebody to step up and show these guys the ropes. I had to step up every weekend and show the guys the way.”

On what’s next with the Cardinals…

“No clue. They said they’d give me the night off and then get together in the next couple of days and figure everything out.”

On who all he heard from on draft night…

“A lot of the guys I played with the past couple of years have popped up, friends and family back home (in Indiana). I’m still trying to get caught up on all those and get back to everyone but it feels really good to know that many people care.”

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