FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Head coach Jim Morris and associate head coach and recruiting coordinator J.D. Arteaga have officially announced the 2009 signing class for the University of Miami baseball team. Ranked as the No. 9 class nationally by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, the 13-member class features six players who were taken in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft and a total of 12 players that hail from the state of Florida.
South Florida products Stephen Perez (18th round/Cincinnati Reds) – a switch-hitting infielder out of Gulliver Prep – and E.J. Encinosa (23rd round/Minnesota Twins) – a big right-handed pitcher out of Coral Park High School – headline the group of six draftees in the group.
With assistance from assistant coach Joe Mercadante, Morris and Arteaga brought a class of 11 freshmen, a sophomore and a junior into the program. In addition to Perez and Encinosa, the remaining nine freshmen include Zeke DeVoss, Michael Broad, Ethan Bornstein, Frankie Ratcliff, Jerad Grundy, Eric Whaley, Joe Lovecchio, Zach Robinson and Steven Ewing. The two transfers in the group – junior Chris Pelaez and sophomore Rony Rodriguez – both enter the program via Miami Dade College. Pelaez spent his freshman season at the University of Louisville before transferring to MDC for the 2009 season.
"We are very excited about this recruiting class," Morris said. "J.D. really put together a great incoming class. It’s very, very important that these guys come in and make an immediate impact on our team."
All but one player in the class is from the state of Florida with only Grundy (Johnsburg, Ill.) joining the program from out of state. Over half of the class hails from South Florida, with five players from Miami (Perez, Rodriguez, Pelaez, Encinosa and Robinson), one from Fort Lauderdale (Broad), one from Pompano Beach (Whaley) and one from Key West (Ratcliff).
The remaining players from the state of Florida include two from Orlando (Bornstein and Ewing), one from Mims (DeVoss) and one from Daytona Beach (Lovecchio).
"This group has all of the qualities we look for when finding the right student-athletes to bring into our program," Arteaga said. "We have a certain type of person we look for in the recruiting process and this class certainly has what it takes to be successful on the field and in the classroom at the University of Miami.
"With the combination of myself, coach Morris and coach Mercadante, we were able to go out there and bring in yet another Top 10 recruiting class," Arteaga added. "We have high hopes for all 13 guys and look forward to watching them contribute to our program over the next several years."
The position breakdown of the incoming group includes five infielders, three left-handed pitchers, three right-handed pitchers and two outfielders.
In addition to Perez and Encinosa, Ewing (37th round/Cleveland Indians), DeVoss (38th round/Boston Red Sox), Whaley (40th round/Chicago Cubs) and Grundy (46th round/Texas Rangers) were also selected in the draft this past summer.
Heading into fall practice, the 35-man roster consists of six seniors, five juniors, 11 sophomores and 13 freshmen. The roster features 21 returning players – including 17 letterwinners – from last year’s team that advanced to the NCAA Gainesville Regional. Among the players returning this season include left-handers Chris Hernandez and Eric Erickson – both two-time All-ACC performers – as well as fellow All-ACC performers in second baseman Scott Lawson and catcher Yasmani Grandal.
The Hurricanes will officially open fall practice Thursday, Oct. 15 at Alex Rodriguez Park.