PHILADELPHIA - A boyhood dream came true on Tuesday night, as right-handed pitcher Paul Cusick became the first Penn player selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft since Brian Winnings was chosen by the Cleveland Indians in 2004. To make the scene even better, the 2011 Penn grad received the call from his favorite team, the Philadelphia Phillies, in the 29th round. Cusick was the 901st player chosen overall in the draft.

"It is surreal," Cusick said. "I was home watching the Phillies game with my family and we had the computer up as well with the Draft on. We heard my name called and all looked at each other in amazement and we were all just so happy."

Cusick has already heard from the Phillies -- who called to congratulate him and begin the process of bring Cusick into the fold -- and from his coach at Penn, John Cole.

"Coach Cole told me on my recruiting visit that I had the skills to become a professional baseball player and I didn't always believe him," Cusick said. "Coach stuck with me, though, and made me a believer."

John Cole was very happy for Cusick, the first player drafted during his tenure as head coach at Penn.

“The rest of the coaching staff and I are super excited for Paul,” Cole said. “This is a well-deserved and well-earned moment for Paul and his family. We knew he had this capability in him and to watch him work his way to this level is special.”

Cusick, a 6-foot-3 pitcher from Wilmington, Del. who grew up a Phillies fan, was the 2011 Ivy League Pitcher of the Year after posting a 2.70 ERA and a 5-3 record. Over his 66.2 innings of work, Cusick struck out a team-high 80 batters which is tied for the second-most strikeouts in a single season by a Penn pitcher. His 200 strikeouts for his career are the fourth-most by a Penn hurler. Reaching base was difficult for opposing players against Cusick, as he allowed just 56 hits over the course of the season (only 10 of those went for extra bases). Three times during the spring, Cusick strike out 11 or more hitters including a pair of 12-strikeout games.

Cusick, a first-team All-Ivy and first-team All-Big Five pitcher in 2011, was the Ivy League's Player of the Week for April 5 and was named Big Five Player of the Week three times this season. His path to the Major League First-Year Player Draft included a stint in the Pacific West Baseball League in the summer of 2010, where Cusick was named a PWBL All-Star as a member of the Atwater Aviators.

Recent Penn Players Drafted in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft:

2011 - Paul Cusick (Philadelphia Phillies) 29th Round
2004 - Brian Winnings (Cleveland Indians) 48th Round
2003 - Ben Krantz (Arizona Diamondbacks) 15th Round
2003 - Russ Brocato (Baltimore Orioles) 29th Round
2003 - Andrew McCreery (Arizona Diamondbacks) 32nd Round
1996 - Mark DeRosa (Atlanta Braves) 7th Round
1991 - Doug Glanville (Chicago Cubs) 1st Round