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11-02-2014, 05:29 PM

Baseball’s 2014 Recruiting Class among Top 35

SPOKANE, Wash.—Baseball America recently released its rankings of the 2014 college recruiting classes and the Gonzaga University baseball team was recognized as having one of the top 35 classes in Division I.

“This recruiting class represents the future of the program and does so on an elite level,” said Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf. “We have addressed the areas that will help us contend for a WCC title for years to come. With a concerted effort, Associate Head Coach Danny Evans and Assistant Coach Steve Bennett have brought another nationally-ranked recruiting class to Gonzaga and continue to represent the university on a prestigious level.”

The Zags were included on Baseball America’s “The Next 10” after the initial top 25 list was announced. This is the second time the Zags have hauled in one of the 35 best recruiting classes, the first time coming in 2012.

Baseball America features Gage Burland, Tyler Frost, Nick Nyquist, and Branson Trube in their analysis of the newest group of Zags. Burland, No. 242 on the publication’s individual rankings, is a power pitcher who can also provide his own run support at the plate. The Otis Orchards, Wash., native was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 26th round of the 2014 MLB Draft but elected to attend Gonzaga instead. Frost is also a two-way player and is one of the Zags’ two Gatorade Players of the Year, winning the award for his home state of Arizona. He earned First Team All-State as a senior when he broke his high school record with a 0.93 ERA.

Nyquist is the Zags’ other Gatorade Player of the Year, representing Idaho. He earned All-State honors from the CDA Press and can play numerous positions throughout the infield for the Zags. Also from Idaho, Trube will wreak havoc on the basepaths as the one-time All-State honoree owns the Mountain View HS stolen bases record. He figures to play in the outfield for Gonzaga.

There are numerous others that make the Zags’ recruiting class of 2014 among the best in the nation. Four of the incoming players are transferring from junior colleges. Of those, both Justin Jacobs and Hunter Wells come from Lower Columbia College. In 2014, Jacobs hit .386 as an infielder for the Red Devils, leading the squad in batting average and hits and finishing second in runs scored. Wells started eight games for LCC, throwing 44.1 innings including one complete game. He led the team with 45 strikeouts while tallying a 3.05 ERA, third-highest among the Red Devil starters.

Jarod Gonzales spent the last two years playing in the infield at Walla Walla Community College. In his sophomore year for the Warriors, Gonzales hit .293 and was second on the team with 39 runs and third with 44 hits. He also swatted a team-leading 15 doubles while drawing 34 walks. At Clark Community College, Kyle Vanderkin was second on the squad with a .354 average, leading the Penguins with 57 hits and 37 runs last season. The infielder helped lead Clark to a 31-14 record and the NWAC Championship tournament. This past summer, he hit .321 for the Wenatchee AppleSox, tallying 18 hits and drawing 24 walks in 17 games while leading the squad with a .519 on-base percentage.

Four more incoming freshmen make up the Zags’ recruiting class. Originally from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Eli Morgan spent the summer of 2014 in Washington pitching for the Yakima Valley Pippins. He made 10 starts and 11 appearances with the Pippens, tallying a 3.04 ERA in 62.0 innings of work. He struck out 56 batters, second-most on the team, and posted a record of 8-0 with one save. The Zags are picking up another pitcher in Calvin LeBrun, a Phoenix, Ariz., native and brother of current Zag Cory LeBrun. The lefty has been part of the USA 17U National Development Program and was named Phoenix Pitcher of the Year, All-State, and All-Arizona, among other titles. He tallied a 3.77 ERA in 12 appearances for the Wenatchee AppleSox this last summer.

Last but not least, a couple of freshmen from eastern Washington round out the Zags’ incoming class. Justin Blatner, a Spokane native from Gonzaga Prep, will provide GU with another strong arm. Blatner played on the 2013 Kansas City Royals Area Code Team and earned MVP honors of the Greater Spokane League that same year. Gonzaga picked another 2013 conference MVP in Jace VanDeBrake. A speedy shortstop, VanDeBrake broke the West Valley High School single-season steals record as a sophomore.

The newcomers to the Gonzaga baseball program will look to continue the Zags’ winning ways in 2015 and help the squad return to the WCC Tournament for the third consecutive year. The 2015 campaign begins in mid-February.

Gonzaga Article Link (http://www.gozags.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=627525&SPID=90843&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=209742731&DB_OEM_ID=26400)

11-02-2014, 09:27 PM
Thanks Terp.