Quartet of Cougs chosen in MLB Draft

THE WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS were not as successful as they had hoped on the baseball diamond this spring, but they were quite successful Tuesday in the major league draft. Four Cougars were drafted Tuesday, the second day of the draft. Other Cougars may be selected Wednesday, when the remaining 20 of the draft's 50 rounds will be held.

In addition to second-round pick Adam Conley (see CF.C story), right fielder Derek Jones, first baseman Taylor Ard and third baseman Matt Argyropoulos were drafted.

Ben Roberts, who has signed a letter of intent with WSU, also was drafted. The high school outfielder from Missoula, Mont., was taken by Arizona in the seventh round with the 214th overall pick.

Jones, a junior from Snohomish, went to Baltimore in the 13th round. He was the 395th player selected.

Ard, a redshirt sophomore from Vancouver, Wash., was Boston's 25th-round pick (772nd).

Argyropoulos, a senior from Longview, was tabbed by Arizona in the 27th round (828th).

Unlike Conley, a junior who fully intends to turn pro this summer, Jones and Ard said they are undecided about their immediate futures.

"I am proud to be a Cougar," Jones said. "I will always be a Cougar. I am happy about what WSU has given to me and what I can give back to the program. I'm excited about the opportunity and the decision ahead."

Ard was drafted by Florida in the 33rd round last year out of Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Ore.

"Getting drafted by a pro team is an honor," Ard said. "The round didn't matter to me. It was a relief to hear my name called and we'll see what happens next."

Argyropoulos may begin his pro career with Arizona's short-season Class A farm club at Yakima in the Northwest League.

"I'm blessed and excited to have this opportunity," Argyropoulos said. "Playing professional baseball has been a dream of mine since I began playing at a competitive level."

Conley (6-7, 3.50) led the Cougars in wins and earned run average. Ard led the team in batting (.337), home runs (10) and runs batted in (55).

Jones, eighth in WSU history with 32 home runs, hit .275 with eight homers and 33 RBIs. Argyropoulos hit a career-high .283 with five homers (also a career best) and 28 RBIs.