Boxford, Mass., native is Stonehill's first ever MLB draft pick
"I wasn't really tracking the draft because I didn't really want to be glued to the computer all day," said Shepard. "I came in to check what round it was in and started to get a little nervous because I saw it was the 28th round and knew it was getting close to the end of the second day. I saw that the Red Sox were up next on the board and decided to stay and see who they took and then I saw my name pop up and my dad and mom went crazy. To get the opportunity to play professional baseball is a big deal as it is, but to connect with the Red Sox is just unbelievable."
Shepard, the third Northeast-10 Conference student-athlete selected on day two of the draft, emerged as one of the premier closers in the Northeast during his senior season at Stonehill. He led the Skyhawks with 20 appearances in 2011, posting a program record ten saves with a 3.63 earned run average and 0-1 record while combining on four shutouts during the year. Shepard struck out 34 while walking 15 in 22.1 innings pitched, featuring a fastball in the low 90's. He allowed just two runs (both earned) over his first 19 innings pitched (0.95 ERA) of the season in 16 appearances.
"Brenden has been a dedicated student-athlete for the Stonehill baseball program over his career," said Stonehill head coach Patrick Boen. "His goal was to work hard to get a chance to perform at the next level and through that hard work has achieved that goal. It is a great testament to the school and program that you can achieve this success in the classroom and on the field. It's also a great moment for the baseball program at Stonehill to have the first player ever drafted by a Major League team."
Shepard burst on the scene as the closer for Stonehill on its way to the 2010 Northeast-10 Tournament Championship when he posted saves in three of the Skyhawks four wins at the event, collecting All-Tournament team honors. In 38 career appearances, he was 3-3 with 14 saves and a 3.22 ERA with 52 strikeouts and just 22 walks in 44.2 innings. Shepard played 141 games over his four year career at Stonehill, serving as the team's starting shortstop over his first three years before opting to concentrate on pitching as a senior. He was a .239 (99-for-415) career hitter for the Skyhawks with 51 runs scored, 19 doubles, seven triples, four home runs and 55 RBI.
"As a freshman and sophomore, I thought I might get this chance as a shortstop," said Shepard. "But following a year off after my sophomore year with an injury, I developed as a pitcher and blossomed real quick. Coming into the season, I didn't expect to get drafted, so this is all a big surprise. Coach Boen, Coach (Nick) SantaBarbara and Coach (Coley) Lyons really helped me to develop and gave me some much needed guidance along the way as pitching is still so new to me."
Stonehill (30-18, 13-12 NE-10) is ranked eighth in the final NCBWA East Regional poll and fourth in the final NEIBA Division II rankings. The Skyhawks earned a spot in the Northeast-10 tournament for the second straight season before being edged by Franklin Pierce, 3-2, in the first round.