Illinois athlete spotlight: David Kerian


Illini first baseman David Kerian at bat in Illinois’ victory over Wright State at Illinois Field on June 1.

By Christina Lorey

Earlier this month, the Illinois baseball team packed its gear, walked off the field, and officially ended its record-breaking season. 

The Illini finished with an overall record of 50-10-1 and were 21-1 in Big Ten play. They earned the title of Big Ten Champion and, earlier this week, were named Illini Team of the Year. Leading this year’s charge was team captain and recent Illinois graduate, David Kerian.

Kerian finished his senior season with a .367 batting average and a .667 slugging percentage. A mere two weeks have passed since Kerian walked off Illinois Field for the last time, but he soon will be wearing new letters. The Washington Nationals selected him as the 284th overall pick in the ninth round of the MLB draft.

But this isn’t the first time Kerian’s been drafted. The Nationals selected him back in 2011, following his high school graduation. Kerian, however, turned down this initial opportunity to turn professional and instead focused on his collegiate baseball career. 

Four years later, the Nationals came knocking again, and Kerian accepted the offer. He’ll soon jet off to the East Coast to begin minor league play.

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But before Kerian left, The Daily Illini played a game of “fill-in-the-blank” with him. We gave him the beginning part of a sentence and he finished it off. Here’s what we learned:

My favorite baseball players growing up were…

… “No one. I don’t remember having favorite players. My older brother loved Ken Griffey Jr. though, so if I picked anyone, it would be him. We would always try to watch his highlights.”

My favorite baseball players today are…

… “Quite a few players! I look up to many players for many different reasons, but I respect all major league players. I know how much they have sacrificed to get to where they are.”

When I found out I was drafted by the Nationals, I felt…

… “A sense of relief once I saw my name come up on my phone’s draft tracker. I had been following it for a while and when my name popped up, I could feel all of my hard work finally paying off.”

When I decided to play baseball at Illinois, I thought…

… “I still would have a chance to play professionally. I knew the coaches at Illinois would work with me to reach this goal. They helped many people in the past, and they helped many players this year.”

One word that describes my final Illinois baseball season is…

… “Incredible.”

As I start my minor league career, I’ll miss…

… “The guys I spent my four years with. I’ll also miss the college atmosphere around Champaign.”

As I start my minor league career, I’m looking forward to…

… “Meeting new teammates and learning all I can about the game of baseball.”

Kerian will have the chance to do both of these things very soon. Minor league ball with the Single-A Doubledays begins in Auburn, New York, at the end of June.