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Shawn Payne goes pro

    Day three of the 2011 Major League Baseball amateur draft has come and gone, leaving yet another Eagle aspiring to make it to the show. 
    Shawn Payne, a senior centerfielder from Stone Mountain, was drafted in the 35th round and will enter negotiations with the San Francisco Giants. 
    After returning to play his senior year for the Eagles, Payne raised his stock by posting a .314 batting average, 39 RBIs, and 33 stolen bases finishing tied for sixth all-time in GSU history with 76 career stolen bases.  Rising 11 rounds after being drafted in 2010, Payne heard his name called in the 35th with the 1,077th-overall pick to the Giants.
    “Being drafted previously I knew how the system works, being my senior year, I had a good idea they were going to draft me but it started to get late so I got on my toes a little bit,” said Payne. “But, it felt good to hear my name called.”
    Payne came to the Eagles by way of junior college.  Originally a Middle Georgia Warrier, Payne transferred after helping the team to the 2009 Junior College Georgia State Championship and a berth in the Junior College World Series which led to him being drafted in the 29th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
    After deciding to join the Eagles, Payne posted a .341 batting average in his junior season and was drafted again by the Kansas City Royals in 2010 in the 44th round, but returned for his senior year with Southern.
    “It was a good decision [to come back]. I felt like we could move farther in the SoCon, and we did. We won a SoCon championship, I got to experience a regional, and I also I got closer to getting my degree,” Payne said.
    One of three seniors, Payne helped lead the Eagles to a successful season. Finding the SoCon to be a “good, competitive” experience, Payne was excited about his and the Eagles success over his time here as well as the support of Eagle nation.
    “I learned more about life outside of baseball and about being successful like how to work as a team and succeed in the classroom. Playing in front of this fan base with their support was great. They get to know you, your name, and where you’re from and it was just an overall good experience,” said Payne.
      Now, he turns his focus to professional baseball, preparing to get started in either the Rookie league or Class A-Short Season in the Giants minor league system. Payne was the third Eagle to be drafted this year.
    Pitchers Matt Murray and Andy Moye were selected in the 10th and 15th round respectively, Tuesday.