LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell junior Russ Olive (Chelmsford, Mass.) became the 22nd player in program history to be selected in the MLB Draft, as he was selected in the 29th round by the Tampa Bay Rays.
The selection in this year’s draft marks the first time in program history that a River Hawk has been taken in four straight drafts. UMass Lowell has had a player selected in five of the last six drafts.
Olive had a breakout season in 2018, batting .359 and leading the River Hawks with 71 hits, 13 doubles, 13 home runs and .641 slugging percentage. The outfielder’s 37 RBI ranked second on the team, and his seven multi-RBI contests were good for fourth.
“Russ getting drafted is a great honor for our program, I am extremely proud of his efforts here,” said UMass Lowell Baseball Head Coach Ken Harring. “He made himself into the player he became by hard work. Two years of hitting .230 and below to come back and hit .365 with 13 homers is a direct reflection of his mental toughness and his fine focus of what he really wanted to be, which was a professional baseball player and he achieved that goal today. I couldn’t be more proud of what he did for this program and the legacy he left. The Tampa Bay Rays got a really good player in Russ Olive.”
The Chelmsford, Mass. native’s numbers led the America East in slugging, while his home runs were second and his average placed third. He also led UMass Lowell with 23 multi-hit games and reached base in 33 consecutive games.
“I knew he had the ability from the time he was an eight-year-old and came to my youth camp,” added Harring. “He is a tremendous competitor and that competitiveness came into our clubhouse from day one. I think having pro players in our clubhouse in Chris Sharpe and some of these other guys that have gone on. Having Danny Mendick around the program really was the drive, ‘hey if these guys can do it, I can do it”. He made himself into a pro by hard work.”
The 13 long balls set a new program’s single-season high in Division I, and he is UMass Lowell’s DI leader with 31 career doubles. In 137 appearances, Olive connected on 131 hits with 71 RBI and crossed the plate 78 times. With 54 extra-base knocks, the Chelmsford, Mass. native has a career .482 slugging percentage.