June 12, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State junior Pierce Johnson, the 43rd overall pick in last week's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, has reached a contract agreement with the Chicago Cubs. Johnson becomes the second 2012 Bear draftee to agree to terms on a professional deal, joining senior second baseman Kevin Medrano, who signed with Arizona over the weekend.
Johnson is coming off one of the most dominant seasons in Bears' history in 2012, setting the Missouri State single-season strikeout record with 119 punchouts in 99.2 innings to help MSU post a Division I-leading team ERA of 2.57. The Arvada, Colo., product led the Missouri Valley Conference in total strikeouts and ranked 10th in the nation in the same category this season after helping guide the Bears (40-22) to their first NCAA Regional appearance in nine years. In three seasons with the Bears, Johnson compiled an 11-13 overall mark and a 4.25 ERA in 49 career appearances, including 29 starts. His 227 strikeouts over 216.0 innings rank fifth on the Bears' career list.
Despite missing a pair of April starts due to a forearm strain, Johnson rebounded to finish the year in style. Over his last four starts, the right-hander went 2-1 with a 1.36 ERA while striking out 34 batters and walking just five. He pitched the Bears to key wins over MVC league champion Indiana State on the final weekend of the regular season, as well as MSU's first postseason win since 2003 and its 40th victory of the year with a landmark win over four-time national champion and top seeded Miami at the NCAA Coral Gables Regional.