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June 7, 2011
SECAUCUS, N.J. - Junior third baseman Jordan Steranka was selected by the Houston Astros in the 30th round of the Major League Baseball draft after headlining the Penn State baseball team during a sensational 2011 campaign.
The Pittsburgh, Pa. native was chosen with the 910th overall pick in the annual amateur draft. It marks the second straight season during which the Astros selected a Nittany Lion after the organization picked Ben Heath in the fifth round last year.
During his junior campaign, Steranka had another excellent season and helped anchor the potent Penn State attack. He led the team and finished third in the Big Ten with 57 RBI while posting a .323 batting average. A consummate power threat, he also placed fifth in the conference with a .544 slugging percentage while blasting eight home runs and five triples.
An outstanding run producer, Steranka posted at least two RBI in 14 games, which was the highest total on the team. His finest effort came against Illinois on April 3 when he went 3-for-5 with six RBI, including a three-run bomb, during a 13-4 victory over the Illini. The former Mt. Lebanon product also roped three hits and launched a pair of home runs against Le Moyne on March 25.
During the year, he had 19 multi-hit efforts, including a 4-for-4 performance against Norfolk State on March 12. A good base runner as well, he was successful on six of seven stolen base attempts and 12 of 13 since arriving in Happy Valley.
Over the last three years, Steranka has established himself as one of the top hitters in the Big Ten. During his freshman campaign, he hit .365 with six home runs and 42 RBI. For his efforts, he was selected to the third-team All-Conference squad as well as the Big Ten All-Rookie team.
Last year, he continued to shine at the plate, launching seven home runs with 44 RBI. He also roped 16 doubles and scored 45 times. Uniquely consistent, he posted exactly 70 hits in each of his first three seasons with the Nittany Lions.
A starter in 152 games, Steranka has a .326 batting average with 21 home runs. He currently ranks fourth in program history with 143 RBI and fifth with 10 triples. He also sits among the top-10 all-time with 39 doubles and 130 runs scored.
On the radar of major league teams from the very beginning of the season, Steranka was named the 11th best prospect in the Big Ten according to Perfect Game, the largest scouting service in the nation. He was also selected to the conference's preseason "Players to Watch" list.
The selection continues a long relationship between the Astros and PSU. In addition to Steranka and Heath, Houston also selected Greg Vogel in the 1975 draft. Current Penn State coach Robbie Wine was also a first-round selection of the Astros in 1983 and appeared in parts of two seasons with the big league club in 1986 and 1987.
The major league draft will conclude on Wednesday with the final 20 rounds beginning at noon.
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