Bellinger says no to Cardinals, yes to Duke

Jun. 27, 2014 @ 10:16 AM

Duke will indeed be adding power-hitting freshman Justin Bellinger to its roster for next baseball season.

An 11th-round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in the MLB First-Year Player Draft earlier this month, Bellinger told the Herald-Sun Friday morning that he is rejecting the Cardinals offer and will report to Duke on Sunday to enroll for summer school.

Bellinger said the Cardinals made an offer but it was “not enough to pass on an education.”

As for playing college baseball and postponing the beginning of his pro career, Bellinger said “I’m looking forward to it.”

The news is good for Duke baseball coach Chris Pollard, who called Bellinger the best pure high-school power-hitting prospect he’s ever seen.

Coming off the school’s best baseball season since 1994, Duke is losing starting third baseman Jordan Betts (a senior who signed with the Boston Red Sox organization) and Chris Marconcini (a second-team all-ACC pick who is transferring to Florida State as a graduate student).

Marconcini split time between right field and first base while leading Duke with 46 RBIs. The Blue Devils went 33-25, including a 16-14 ACC mark that qualified them for the ACC Tournament for the first time since 2009.