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Charleston Southern signs Eight for 2010 Season

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern Baseball Coach Stuart Lake and his staff have announced their first recruiting class, signing eight players for the 2010 season during the early signing period.

“Our recruiting coordinator Charles Assey, with the help of assistant coaches Stan Kowalski and Anthony Hayes, has assembled a fantastic class,” said Lake. “We have a focus in our recruiting on our state and the surrounding region to find the best high school and junior college players available. Also, we focus on guys that understand our purpose here at CSU is to not only stress the baseball aspects for success, but the academic and Christian aspects as well.”

The attention to the southeast was apparent as the class includes four players from South Carolina, and two each from North Carolina and Georgia.

Kyle Ward, LHP/1B, Georgetown, S.C. (Georgetown HS)

Ward will come to CSU from up Highway 17 in Georgetown, S.C., where he played for Coach Mike Johnson, who is widely known for producing excellent baseball players. The lefty pitcher can also play first base, and as a strong hitter adds an additional left-hander to the lineup.

“I have been fortunate to coach several two-way players in my career that have been very good at both positions, and Kyle reminds me a lot of them,” said Lake. “I expect him to be able to come in and contribute immediately.”

Shane Miles, OF, Lake City, S.C. (Lake City HS)

Miles is an outfielder from Lake City HS, where he has excellent speed, going 20-20 in stolen bases last year. As a junior, he hit .325 with five homeruns and 17 RBI, upping the average to .415 over the summer while playing with the Palmetto Sand Gnats. He is a three-time all-region, and two-time all-state selection that was selected to attend Palmetto Boys State. He has also been nominated by Lake City HS for the Wendy’s High School Heisman.

“Shane is one of the most athletic players in the state,” added Lake. “He comes from an area that has produced countless great baseball players. His athleticism will allow him to compete immediately.”

Ali Williams, RHP, Sumter, S.C. (Crestwood HS/USC-Salkehatchie JC)

Williams will join CSU as a transfer from USC-Salkehatchie Junior College, where Coach Lake himself played before coming to CSU. Williams has good velocity on his fast ball and is a solid all-around athlete. In high school he was named the MVP, most athletic and best all around for the baseball and basketball teams.

“Ali is going to be a special player for us,” said Lake. “He is in good hands this year under coaches Bubba Dorman and Jeff Wicker. I am excited to get a mature player like Ali to add to our pitching rotation. When you can add a pitcher like Ali to your staff, you know you are getting a guy who will battle for you every pitch.”

Jaren Sustar, 3b, Anderson, S.C. (TL Hanna HS)

Sustar will add a solid bat and excellent power to the lineup for CSU. The TL Hanna standout is noted as a good third baseman who will be able to come in and battle for a starting spot on the left side of the infield immediately with the graduation of Mark Perry. In 2007, Sustar was named the team MVP, and also earned the award for the best offensive player. Off the high school field, Sustar’s AAU team, the Carolina Bullets, won the 2006 national championship.

“Jaren, along with fellow recruit Drew Woodall, came to our first camp and impressed our coaches immediately,” commented Lake. “He is physical and exactly what we were looking for in a corner infielder. He comes from a part of South Carolina that has several physical baseball players that have gone on to have great success and I expect the same from him.”

Drew Woodall, C, Cary, N.C. (Athens Drive HS)

Woodall will joins CSU from Athens Drive HS, where he plays for Coach Joey Bell. He hit .413 as a sophomore and .488 during the fall portion of his senior year. He has been named all-conference each of the last two years, and was the co-MVP for his summer league last year. He also earned the Phillip Hafer Sportsmanship Award.

“Drew was recommended to us by a friend in North Carolina who we trust in regards to players, especially catchers,” said Lake. “Once we saw him in person we knew he was special. I look forward to watching him grown and he will be thrown in the mix early as we will only have one returning catcher next season. That is why we felt the catching position was such a critical one for us to fill with quality players and we did just that with Drew.”

Brandon McKinney, 2B/SS, Oak Ridge, N.C. (Northwest Guilford HS/Guilford Tech CC)

McKinney is a middle infielder from Guilford Tech CC, where he is playing for John Barrow. He has good speed, and will have a good chance of playing right away. He was an all-conference selection as a senior, helping lead his Northwest Guilford team to the conference championship. As a freshman at Guilford Tech, he started 50 games and hit over .300.

“Brandon has great speed and will contribute up the middle right away,” said Lake. “He has great instincts and we have been impressed with what we have seen from him so far. Our staff is looking forward to watching him continue to grow as a player.”

Jon Matthews, OF, Marietta, Ga. (Pope HS)

Matthews is another speedster in the recruiting class for Coach Lake and his staff. He is currently playing for long time coach Jeff Rowland at Pope High School, a school that currently has seven players continuing their careers in MLB organizations. He has a .415 career batting average, and was named to the 2008 all-region team as well as the team’s offensive player of the year. A three-sport athlete, Matthews also plays on the basketball and football team.

“Jon is a great baseball player as well as a great all-around athlete,” said Lake. “He is a physical kid with great speed that has a chance to do a lot of good things on the baseball field.”

Grayson Wiggins, 2B/SS, Statesboro, Ga. (Louisville/Pensacola JC)

Wiggins will transfer to CSU from Pensacola JC, having also spent time at the University of Louisville. A solid defensive player, he has good speed and is a good all-around player. In 32 games, Wiggins hit .518 with 12 doubles, and 31 RBI. He also stole 28 bases and was a three-time all-region selection as well as an all-state selection as a senior.

“Grayson is an impact player that our program needed,” said Lake. “As we looked at our needs for next year, middle infielders were imperative. We feel that Grayson will impact us immediately both offensively and defensively. He will also bring a lot of maturity to our roster.”

Recent changes by the NCAA have continued to impact recruiting according to Lake. “We are now limited to 27 scholarships and a roster of 35, but more importantly, the minimum scholarship that we can offer is 25 percent. It makes finding solid players that can contribute early very important. Two-way players are also at a premium, which is why we feel so fortunate with our first class.”

Charleston Southern will start their season as they host Marist in a three-game series. First pitch of the season is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 2 p.m.

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