A Pittsburgh Pirates Connection To The College Football Playoff Championship Game

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 06: Zach Von Rosenberg #46 of the LSU Tigers punts during the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 06: Zach Von Rosenberg #46 of the LSU Tigers punts during the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /
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On Monday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates will have a tie to the College Football Playoff Championship Game between LSU and Clemson

On Monday night the sports world will revolve around New Orleans. This is because the LSU Tigers will do battle with the Clemson Tigers in the championship game of the College Football Playoff in one of the more anticipated championship games in recent memories.

As a college football junkie who also writes about that sport in addition to baseball, the only thing that could have me more excited for Monday night is if my beloved Nittany Lions (sorry, Pitt fans) were playing. However, there is something else that I will be keeping an eye on Monday night. That something else is a Pittsburgh Pirates connection to the game.

With the 175th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft the Pirates selected prep pitcher Zach Von Rosenberg. Von Rosenberg was one of the Pirates pitching ‘bonus babies’ that they selected that season. Then general manager Neal Huntington reached on catcher Tony Sanchez in the first round of the draft in order to save money to draft prep pitchers and pay them over slot money later in the draft. While this was a good idea, unfortunately for Huntington and the Pirates, it did not pan out as none of his ‘bonus babies’ went on to find MLB success.

Unfortunately for Von Rosenberg, his baseball career did not pan out. In six professional seasons he never pitched above the High-A level. In 86 career games (56 start) he posted a 4.52 ERA and a 4.50 FIP in 332.2 innings of work.

Fortunately for Von Rosenberg, he had another talent – punting a football.

After his baseball career flamed out, the Louisiana native returned to his home state. In 2016 he enrolled at LSU and took a redshirt. After punting in 11 games for the Tigers in 2017, he became the team’s starting punter in 2018.

As a punter for LSU, Von Rosenberg has found great success. He has averaged a healthy 43.9 yards per punt in his career. In 2017 he was a All-SEC Freshman performer, then in 2018 he was a Second Team All-SEC performer when he averaged a career best 45.7 yards per punt.

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If you are looking for a team to root for in New Orleans tonight, go with ex-Pirate Zach Von Rosenberg and LSU. Unless you’re a Clesmon alum you should already be rooting for LSU since Ed Orgeron is a national treasure. Either way, as long as you predict the Tigers to win on Monday night you should be in good shape.

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