USF losing juniors Mende, Moran; Shoulders to enroll

The uncertainty surrounding USF baseball and this week's MLB draft is resolving itself quickly -- junior reliever Jimmy Moran said he will sign with the Reds today, and junior shortstop Sam Mende will do the same this weekend with the Rockies.

There is good news for the Bulls, however, as first baseman Roderick "Rock" Shoulders, who hit 14 home runs for State College of Florida this spring, said he's enrolling for summer classes at USF after falling to the 25th round before being picked by the Cubs.

"As of right now, my plan is to go to USF -- I was hoping to go a lot earlier," said Shoulders, who went in the 20th round out of high school and didn't sign. "I've already signed my papers with USF, so I'm planning on being there for at least two years and working on my degree."

Shoulders said the Phillies and Padres called him as early as the fourth round, but weren't offering close to what he was looking for in a signing bonus. He has until August to change his mind and sign a pro contract, but he said unless the Cubs change their position dramatically, he'll be providing a key new power bat in the middle of USF's lineup next spring.

Moran, who carried a 3.91 ERA and was second on the staff with 20 appearances as a junior, said he is signing with Cincinnati this afternoon and will report to Arizona for a short training camp before starting his pro career in Montana with the Billings Mustangs.

"It was great -- it's an opportunity to go and play, which has been my dream," said Moran, who leaves with the blessing of coach Lelo Prado and USF pitching coach Chuck Hernandez.

Moran talked on Wednesday with former USF star Stephen Hunt, who was drafted by the Reds last summer and is already in Bakersfield, Calif., in just his second pro season. He doesn't know yet whether he'll be utilized as a starter or reliever. His contract with Reds will include them paying for his final three semesters of college needed for a degree.

Mende, a three-year starter for the Bulls, tied for the team lead with five home runs and finished second with 29 RBIs, but struggled in Big East play, with a .194 average that was the lowest among Bulls starters. He'll report to Wyoming to open his pro career with the Casper Ghosts of the Pioneer League. Outfielder Chad Taylor is likely to move in as the Bulls' starting shortstop for 2012.

"I need a clean slate," Mende said of his decision to leave USF for the pro ranks. "It was rough, with a lot of ups and downs I hadn't experienced before. I had a lot of great fun my freshman year, went through an unlucky streak my sophomore year and it just seemed to domino into this season. I feel like I failed at times, but it taught me how to be successful."

[Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 3:13pm]

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