Kyle Freeland was sitting down, but he still fell into his father's arms Thursday.

The Rockies selected the left-handed pitcher with the No. 8 pick in the Major League Baseball draft.

Freeland, a 21-year-old Denver native and graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School, crumpled into a hug from his father, Don, after hearing his name read on TV by MLB commissioner Bud Selig.

"Leading up to it, I didn't know how I was going to react," Freeland said. "But it was just a roller coaster of emotions when they called my name. I just had to grab my dad and give him a hug."

Freeland, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound strikeout specialist, went 10-2 with a 1.90 ERA at the University of Evansville as a junior this season. He had 128 strikeouts and only 13 walks.

He showed marked improvement in his junior year after playing in the Cape Cod League last summer. He was 18-15 with a 3.55 ERA overall at Evansville.

Freeland set a Colorado high school record with 145 strikeouts in the 2011 season.

"He always had great body control, and he was lean, with impeccable mechanics with smooth action," said Tory Humphrey, one of Freeland's coaches at Thomas Jefferson. "And a competitor."

Freeland said he throws a four-pitch mix — with a four-seam fastball as his primary pitch and a slider as his out pitch. And in Freeland, the Rockies picked a pitcher familiar with pitching at altitude.

"I grew up throwing in it — had success doing it, especially in high school. I'm not afraid of it. I'm looking to take it head on," Freeland said.

Rockies director of scouting Bill Schmidt said Freeland is above average on two pitches with put-down power.