Trojan Catcher Selected No. 3 in Baseball Draft

Offensive threat Jeff Clement is picked by the Seattle Mariners while teammates Billy Hart and Jack Spradlin also are chosen by major league teams.
Clement leads USC in most offensive categories, including batting average, hits and home runs.

Photo/USC Sports Information
USC junior catcher Jeff Clement was selected as the third overall pick by the Seattle Mariners in the Major League Baseball draft.

Clement is the 38th Trojan to be selected in the first round and the first since 2001 when Mark Prior was a No. 2 overall pick by the Chicago Cubs.

Two other Trojans were selected in the first day of the draft: third baseman Billy Hart in the fifth round by the Houston Astros and pitcher Jack Spradlin in the eighth round by the Washington Nationals.

This season, Clement leads USC in most offensive categories, including batting average (.347), hits (75), doubles (17), home runs (13), RBI (50), walks (44) and on-base percentage (.474).

He has only three errors on the season (.994 fielding percentage) and has thrown out 24 of 59 runners (41 percent).

Clement is one of five finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation’s top amateur player by USA Baseball. He earned 2005 USA Today Sports Weekly and Collegiate Baseball All-America first-team honors, as well as his third consecutive All-Pac-10 Conference honor.

He is third on USC’s career home run list with 44, behind Mark McGwire (54) and Geoff Jenkins (45).

Last summer, Clement made his second straight appearance for the U.S. National Team, batting .275 (19-for-69) with three home runs and 15 RBI. His team won the gold medal at the FISU II World University Baseball Championships in Taiwan, helping Team USA to the championship over Chinese Taipei.

Clement was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in his 2002 season after batting .298 with 21 home runs and 53 RBI, as well as being named Collegiate Baseball Freshman National Co-Player of the Year and Baseball America Freshman All-America first team.

USC is 40-20 on the season and will compete this weekend in an NCAA Super Regional against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore. The winner of this weekend’s series advances to the 2005 College World Series in Omaha, Neb.