Jacksonville State's Todd Cunningham was selected as the 53rd overall pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball first-year player draft by the Atlanta Braves during Tuesday's second round.
Cunningham was the third pick of the second round and becomes Jacksonville State's highest drafted player since former Major League All-Star Todd Jones was selected by the Houston Astros as a compensation pick in 1989. Cunningham was the first player selected from the state and also in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Jacksonville, Ala., native was a first-team All-OVC selection last month and finished the season batting .359 with 17 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs and 43 RBI after leading the Gamecocks to the 2010 OVC Tournament Championship and a berth in the NCAA Regionals.
A preseason First Team All-America selection by Baseball America, Cunningham boasted a team-high .465 on-base percentage and scored 61 times for JSU in 2010, mostly from the leadoff spot.
Cunningham was an All-OVC second-team honoree as a freshman in 2008, when he also earned Freshman of the Year recognition, before being named to the league's all-tournament team in 2009. He was named the league's Player of the Week on March 5 and boasted a .400 average with seven home runs and a .513 on-base percentage in conference play. In those league games, he was 10-for-12 in stolen base attempts and committed just one error in the field.
In the summer of 2009, Cunningham led the prestigious Cape Cod League with a .378 batting average for the Falmouth Commodores to win the Thumon Munson Batting Award. He also led the league in hits (59) and on-base percentage (.458) while winning the batting title by 36 points.
The switch-hitting outfielder was second in the Cape in runs scored (31) and slugging percentage (.500), while posting 12 extra-base hits with 22 RBI. He also drew 19 walks to post a .458 on-base percentage.
He becomes the fifth player drafted over the last four years for Jacksonville State head coach Jim Case.