FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State head baseball coach Rocky Ward recently announced that 11 student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent to attend school and play baseball at NM State starting the fall of 2010.
Although, these student-athletes won’t play until the 2011 season they will begin attending classes as soon as they get to campus. After a 44-17 finish in 2009 with a team that broke the school record for home runs and was second in the nation with 119, coach Ward is highly optimistic that this signing class is as strong as any other and will help to continue the Aggies’ success.
"There are two highlights of this recruiting class. One is that we found quality players to replace our departing starters on the corners in both the infield and outfield. The second highlight was that we were able to add really good young arms to the pitching staff again," coach Ward said. "Overall, we added front line guys to replace our excellent seniors and added quality depth to the pitching staff."
Among the 11 student-athletes, NM State signed one catcher, four pitchers, three outfielders, one infielder and two utility players. These players will be expected to come in and learn NM State’s notorious offense, while helping the team to more success.
"All of the guys that we signed will have a chance to come in and win a starting position. With the loss of 13 or 14 seniors, all of the guys will have an immediate impact on the 2011 season," coach Ward said.
With the help of assistant coach Chase Tidwell, who is the recruiting coordinator, coach Ward knows that the recruits that come to NM State fill the needs of the team. Ward and his staff look to bring in players that will make an immediate impact as well as players who have great attitudes and are good athletes to coach.
"We look for baseball players in the recruiting process. Yes, we do look for tools, but we are not getting the four and five tool players, the Yankees do," Ward said. "We try to find really good, smart baseball players that have the tools that will fit into what we want to do offensively. On the mound we try to find a variety of different types of pitchers that will fit into the dynamic of a pitching staff to mix and match to try to find the best match-ups available."
DEVON AUSTIN: Austin is a catcher out of Coeur D’Alene High School in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. Described as a true "baseball player" and one of the highest rated players in the Northwest, Devon will come in to NM State and compete to be in the catching rotation in 2011.
RILEY BEVILL: Bevill is a 6-foot-4-inch right-hand pitcher from Boise, Idaho and is transferring out of Western Nevada College where he plays for coach DJ Whittemore. Bevill has a fastball that reaches the upper 80’s and should fill a void in the starting rotation in 2011. He was at the University of Oregon in 2009 before transferring to WNC. Bevill will have three years of eligibility at NM State. In his high school career at Borah High School, Bevill was a 2008 first team all-Southern Idaho Conference selection and a 2008 first team all-state "All-Star" selection.
TREVER BOWDEN: Bowden is a left handed hitting outfielder out of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College where he plays for Roger Ward, brother of NM State head coach Rocky Ward. The Muskogee, Okla. native is a versatile player and will come in and vie for a starting position in the outfield for the Aggies in 2011. In 2009, Bowden helped his team to a 28-23 record while finishing as the regional runner-up. He hit .309 on the year with a .532 slugging percentage and six home runs. At Muskogee High School, Bowden hit .416 as a junior before hitting .360 at the plate and finishing with a 7-3 record on the mound.
TY FORNEY: Forney is a slick fielding middle infielder from Yavapai Junior College where he plays for Sky Smeltzer. Ty is a outstanding good defensive infielder and hit in the middle of the line up for Yavapai last year. He will come in and compete immediately for a starting infield position for the Aggies in 2011. Forney has a versatile offensive game and can hit anywhere in the line up.
TAYLOR HENTRICK: Hentrick is a right-hand pitcher/infielder from Olympia, Wash. and currently plays at Timberline High School. He is a big versatile athlete that will look to fill voids in the infield and on the mound for NM State in 2011. Hentrick has hit .429 in the three years he’s played so far in high school and helped his team to two-consecutive league championships. Not only did Hentrick make the 2009 academic all-league team, but he was also named the league MVP by the Tacoma News Tribune. He was also named the Olympian Baseball Player of the Year and earned first team all-state honors in 2009.
BRYAN KARRAKER: Karraker is a right-handed hitting outfielder from Central Arizona College. The La Quinta, Calif. native is expected to come in and be an immediate impact player for the Aggies in 2011. He has the power potential and speed to be a really good offensive player and will help fill a void in the outfield. Karraker hit .306 as a freshman at CAC and helped his team to a league championship.
BROCK NEIL: Neil is a 6-foot-6-inch left-hand hitting first baseman from Winters, Calif. He will be transferring from Cosumnes River College where he plays for Tony Bloomfield. He is a big, powerful hitter with great power potential and should fit in nicely in the wake of losing two first basemen after the 2010 season. Neil was a 2009 California junior college all-star showcase participant after he helped his team to the 2009 Junior College Super Regional Tournament Qualifier. While playing at Winters High School, he held a 13-3 record as a pitcher as he helped his team to two-straight league championships.
JERRY RENTERIA: Renteria is a crafty left-handed pitcher that possesses a mid 80’s-fastball. Renteria currently plays at Western Arizona College for head coach John Stratton and is a versatile pitcher that will add quality depth to the Aggie pitching staff in 2011. Renteria was a 2008 first team all-conference selection while he played for Cibola High School in Yuma, Ariz.
SKYE SEVERNS: Severns is a right-handed pitcher out of Cerritos Junior College. The Claremont, Calif. native will come in and compete for a spot in the starting rotation. He also will possess the "stuff" to be a quality late-inning relief pitcher. He posted a 5-5 record in 2009 with a 4.01 ERA. While he played four seasons for coach Kevin Gross at Claremont High School, tallying a .376 career batting average, while slamming 10 home runs.
TANNER WAITE: Waite is a left-hand hitting outfielder from Westminister, Colo. He currently plays at Lamar Junior College for former Aggie Scott Crompton. Waite is a power packed hitter that will fit nicely into the offense. He is versatile enough to play anywhere in the outfield and hit anywhere in the line-up. Waite hit .365 and was named to the all-region second team in 2009.
BILLY WALTRIP: Waltrip is a left-handed pitcher from Braggs, Okla. He currently plays at Fort Gibson High School for head coach Randy Smith. Waltrip is a big, strong pitcher that possesses an upper-80’s fastball. He will come in and compete for a lot of innings for the Aggies in 2011.
VINNY ZAZUETA: Zazueta is a shortstop/right-hand pitcher from Western Arizona College. The Surprise, Ariz. native will come in to NM State and compete for a middle infield spot and will add depth to the pitching staff. He has a very strong arm and knows how to play shortstop on a desert infield. He also possesses an upper 80’s-fastball on the mound and will most definitely be counted on to play both ways for the Aggies in 2011. While playing for Willow Canyon High School, Zazueta earned three letters and was a first-team all-conference selection his senior season. He also made it to the Senior All-Star Game that year.