Southern outfielder Rodarrick Jones, selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 37th round of the Major League Baseball draft in June, has signed a contract with the club and will begin his pro career, coach Roger Cador said Wednesday night.

“We would’ve loved to have him next year, but it is what it is. We move forward,” Cador said. “We’re happy for Rodarrick.”

Cador said he didn’t know exact terms of the contract, but said Jones “got a great deal - way above slot money. The Pittsburgh brass wanted him. They had some other picks who didn’t sign, and that allowed them to give Rodarrick a better offer.”

Jones, who transferred last season from the University of New Orleans, was ruled ineligible to play this spring. Still, he was regarded as one of the best prospects in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

As a freshman at UNO in 2009, he hit .299 with seven home runs and 12 steals in 16 attempts. That summer, Baseball America ranked Jones the No. 3 prospect in the New York Collegiate League, where he played between his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Jones transferred after UNO announced plans to drop to Division II.

Jones played at St. John-Plaquemine High School.

Jones’ signing leaves another hole in the 2012 lineup at SU, which also lost two junior-college signees to the pros.

Right-hander Jose Rivera (21st round, to Baltimore) and infielder Julio Torres (45th round, to Minnesota) also signed contracts with the organizations that drafted them.

“It’s tough,” Cador said, “but we will regroup and make it happen.”