'I'm ready for this next chapter': Matt Waldron becomes first Husker selected in 2019 MLB draft

Matt Waldron was golfing as the Major League Baseball draft continued Wednesday.

The Omaha Westside product pitched his last game for Nebraska on Saturday, saw his collegiate career end Sunday in an NCAA regional and processed Darin Erstad's surprise resignation Monday.

This was the best news of the bunch: The Cleveland Indians had drafted him in the 18th round (550th overall).

"Obviously I was a little nervous and I saw the number get higher and higher," Waldron said. "But I believed it was going to happen at some point and I'm glad it did."

The graduated senior swung between starting and relieving throughout his NU career but took over as the team's Friday ace this spring. The right-hander known for wearing a distinctive red glove throws a fastball, changeup, slider and curveball and features one of the quickest pickoff moves in the country.

An uptick in fastball velocity to around 88 to 92 mph allowed him to be even more effective as a senior. He finished his final campaign with a 3.05 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 93-7 in 100⅓ innings.

"I think at some point, if I keep working at it, my abilities could translate (to pro ball)," Waldron said. "At this very moment I think there's definitely a difference in talent at the next level, so I gotta continue to work to reach that next level. I think it's possible for sure, but it won't be a handout."

Waldron finishes his Husker career ranked third in innings pitched (300⅓) and fourth in strikeouts (253). He's the first NU player or recruit off the board in this 40-round draft, which concludes Wednesday afternoon.

"I think I'm ready for this next chapter as well," Waldron said. "I will say it will be different without some of the baseball guys on our team, but I think I'll be ready for it pretty soon."​