Will Gilbert, who went unscored upon in his career in seven appearances against rival North Carolina, including saving two games in the series that knocked the Heels out of ACC andplay to conclude the 2016 regular season, is the first member of the Pack draft class to take the field as a professional.
Gilbert, who went in the eighth round, had a successful debut for the Vermont Lake Monsters, the Oakland A's A-ball affiliate in the New York-Penn league. The diminutive lefty (5-11, 170) threw eight of 10 pitches for strikes in efficiently retiring all four batters he faced, including two by strikeout.
The dominant debut comes on the heels of a spectacular senior season that saw Gilbert go 5-1 with a 2.22 ERA. He struck out 62 to just 11 walks in 52.2 innings and tied for the team lead with six saves. He will probably be most remembered for being on the mound when skipper Elliott Avent was tossed and suspended in the Raleigh regional for his whirling dervish, balls and strikes arguing antics. Gilbert picked his coach and his team up in a big way, pitching a career high eight innings out of the pen, allowing just a run and fanning nine, to down a Coastal Carolina team that hasn't lost since (including beating #1 Florida in Omaha).
Hopefully Gilbert goes on to enjoy a career like another former Pack lefty reliever, Dan Plesac, who appeared on the mound more times than all but six pitchers in MLB history. OK, so that's probably a stretch, but after what I witnessed against Coastal Carolina, I wouldn't dare doubt the kid.