NCAA Baseball News

Wenninger, Gowens Selected on Day Two of MLB Draft

Wenninger, Gowens Selected on Day Two of MLB Draft

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois had two players taken in during day two of the 2023 MLB Draft, right-handed pitchers Jack Wenninger and Riley Gowens.

RHP Jack Wenninger: New York Mets, Round 6 Pick 186

Wenninger is coming off an All-Big Ten Second Team season as the Illini’s Sunday starter and has spent this summer competing in the MLB Draft League with the Williamsport Crosscutters. 

The Cary, Ill., native was twice named Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week last season, the first on April 3 following a dominant 8.0-inning outing against Michigan where he allowed just one run on three hits and struck out five.

Wenninger won his second weekly award on May 1 throwing a complete-game, one-hit, shutout of Ohio State on April 29. He allowed just one batter to reach and retired the final 21 batters to end the game. The performance also earned him NCBWA Co-Pitcher of the Week as well.

Wenninger led the Illini pitching staff in wins (6), innings pitched (80.1) and strikeouts (76). He was one of two Big Ten pitchers to throw a complete-game shutout during the 2023 campaign.

A Murray State transfer, Wenninger has gone 8-7 in his Illinois career with a 5.09 ERA in 31 games, 17 starts, striking out 109 batters in 122.0 innings of work.

He was the first Illini drafted in the 2023 MLB Draft. Wenninger is the sixth Illini to be selected by the Mets in the MLB Draft, with Nathan Lavender being the most recent selection in 2021.

RHP Riley Gowens: Atlanta Braves, Round 9 Pick 279

Gowens was an All-Big Ten Freshman Team selection in 2021 and spent this season as the Illini’s Friday starter. He has spent the summer competing in the MLB Draft League with the Williamsport Crosscutters.

The Libertyville, Ill., native kicked off his 2023 season by punching out a career-high 11 batters vs. Youngstown State on Feb. 17 and would go on to work a career-high 8.0 innings vs. Southern Illinois on March 17, to go along with 10 strikeouts. Gowens would tally a total of three double-digit strikeout performances during the season.

Gowens pitched his way into Illinois lore on April 25, 2021, by starting the Orange and Blue’s combined no-hitter (7.0…

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