NEW YORK --- North Carolina junior shortstop Michael Russell was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 22nd pick of the fifth round of the 2014 MLB Draft Friday afternoon. A third-team All-America performer and one of the nation's top shortstops, Russell led the Tar Heels offensively with a .339 batting average, a .424 on-base percentage, a .496 slugging percentage, 20 doubles, four home runs and 43 runs.
A native of Huntersville, N.C., Russell was a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and was listed on the most recent Brooks Wallace Award watch list. He hit .371 in ACC play to earn second-team all-conference honors and led UNC to a 13th consecutive NCAA regional.
With Russell going in the fifth round, Carolina has now had a player drafted in the top 10 rounds every June since 1998. In the last six drafts, UNC has produced 10 picks in the top five rounds.
On Thursday, six UNC signees were selected. Braxton Davidson (Atlanta) and Jack Flaherty (St. Louis) were first-round picks, while Forrest Wall (Colorado) was a Competitive Balance Round A selection. Joe Gatto (Los Angeles Angels), Cameron Varga (Tampa Bay) and Mitch Keller (Pittsburgh) were second-round picks.