Gilliam signs with the Oakland Athletics
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Former UNC Greensboro baseball player Rob Gilliam has signed a contract with the Oakland Athletics, the team announced Wednesday. Gilliam was selected by the Athletics in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft on June 10. It marked the 13th time in the past 14 years that at least one UNCG player has been drafted.
Gilliam left on Tuesday for Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada where he reported to the Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League. The Canadians are the short-season single-A affiliate of the A's.
Sporting a low- to mid-90's fastball, Gilliam began the 2009 season as a starter before returning to his more natural position in the bullpen. As a reliever last season, Gilliam posted a 4.12 ERA and a 4-3 record to go along with his four saves. He struck out 66 batters in 54 2/3 innings of relief while yielding just 16 walks. Opposing hitters also batted just .193 against Gilliam when he came out of the bullpen.
Gilliam's efforts this past season were also some of the best in the Southern Conference. He led the conference in opposing batting average with hitters batting just .224 against him. His 78 total strikeouts this season were seventh in the conference, but he struck out a league-high 35 batters looking.
In his three years at UNCG, Gilliam stamped his place in the school record books. His seven saves in 2008 were the fifth-most in a single season by a Spartan and his four saves last season tied him for 10th all-time in the same category. Those 11 saves rank him fourth in school history in career saves, and he tied for ninth for most games relieved with 62.
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