GREENSBORO, NC – UNC Greensboro's baseball team announced the signing of eight student-athletes for the 2009-10 school year, head coach Mike Gaski announced Friday.
Eric Brindle, William Henderson, Tyler Hollstegge, Zach Leach, Jake Milinichik, Cody Poarch and Harry Slade will all come into the program from high school, while Colby Hyatt will join the Spartans after playing at Cypress Community College this past season.
"We are very excited about this years class," said Gaski. "We feel that we met every one of our needs. We lost a lot from last year's class, so it was important to get players to help us right away."
Brindle, an infielder from Pickerington, OH, is a first-team All-Central Ohio selection the past two seasons for coach Tim Thomas at Pickerington North High School. Last season, he hit .554 with 46 hits and 21 walks. He plays for the Columbus Cobras during the summer for coach Harry Huskey. The Cobras are the 16U CABA World Series Team Champion and are ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation. Brindle also plays basketball at Pickerington North High School.
"Eric is a very athletic kid who has the ability to play all four infield positions, even though he excels at shortstop," Gaski said. "He is a contact hitter who has a polished swing and we look for him to add depth and consistency to our lineup."
Henderson, an outfielder from Rutherfordton, NC, earned all-conference honors the past two seasons while playing at RS Central High School for coach Chris White. Last season, he hit .338 for the Hilltoppers and was a perfect 9-for-9 on stolen base attempts. He was also named to the all-county team after his performance last season. This past summer, he played for coach Andy Partin of the Dirtbags. He was named a 2009 Under Armour Pre-Season All-American and also played in the Region 8 State games in 2007 and 2008. He is currently ranked No. 14 in the state of North Carolina and No. 269 nationally by Perfect Game.
"Will has tremendous knowledge for the game and will bring lots of energy to our ballclub," Gaski said. "His above-average speed and arm will help the program at all three outfield positions. He has tough at-bats offensively."
Hollstegge, a right-handed pitcher from Hamilton, OH, went a perfect 4-0 last season while averaging 1.5 strikeouts per inning at St. Xavier High School for coach Bill Stinger. Over the summer, he played for the Cincinnati Heat and coach Tom Weiser where he went 4-0 in his starts and average 1.1 strikeouts per inning. He was selected to play in the SW Ohio League East/West All-Star Game played at the Great American Ballpark, which is home, to the Cincinnati Reds. This past fall, he was also picked to play for the Midwest Redbirds, which is the St. Louis Cardinals scout team.
"Tyler's strong right arm will be a great addition to our pitching staff, said Gaski. "His mound presence, work ethic and ability to compete should help him develop into one of the top pitchers in the Southern Conference."
Hyatt, a right-handed pitcher from Huntington Beach, CA, currently plays for coach Scott Pickler at Cypress Community College. This past season, he went 4-2 with a 3.28 ERA for Cypress in six starts. He threw two complete games and pitched 46 innings, while fanning 26 and only giving up four walks. In high school, Hyatt had a 1.78 ERA and went 18-8 with 15 complete games. In 2003, he played in the Goodwill Games in Perth, Australia, where he pitched and won the championship game. This past summer, he played for coach Sam Peraza with the Southern California Fire.
"Colby will be a great addition to our staff," said Gaski. "He will come in after two impressive seasons of junior college baseball and add the experience to our staff. Colby is a polished pitcher with command of all three pitches and we look forward to watching him make an immediate impact on our staff."
Leach, a catcher and outfielder from Herndon, VA, hit .400 last season for coach Alan McCullock at Herndon High School. For his efforts, he was named to the second-team All-Concorde District baseball team as a catcher. During the past summer, he hit .519 for coach Mark Gibbs and Diamond Skills Baseball. Leach plays football and was named first-team All-Concorde District as a running back, linebacker and punter. He also holds a 3.75 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.
"Zach is a big, physical kid whose versatility in the field and very good hitting ability will make him a great addition to our club," Gaski said. "He is a tough kid with a great makeup."
Milinichik, a right-handed pitcher from Apex, NC, plays for coach Mike Valder at Apex High School. This past season, he went a perfect 7-0 with a 2.17 ERA. He struck out 31 batters and had two shutouts and one one-hitter. For his efforts, he was named to the Tri 8 All-Conference team and helped lead his team to the conference championship. He was also named to the 2008 Bobby Murray Invitational Tournament All-Tournament team. He played his summer ball for the Cary Bulls, who are coached by Ron Powell, and is also a starting linebacker for his football team.
"Jake is another two-sport star who will add more depth to our pitching staff," said Gaski. "He comes from a very athletic family; his dad played in NFL and brother plays football at UVA. He has a loose arm and smooth delivery. He also has command of a very good curveball."
Poarch, a right-handed pitcher from Hudson, NC, is another two-way star at South Caldwell High School for coach Jeff Parham. Last year, Poarch went 6-0 with a 1.20 ERA in 54 innings. He struck out 57 and threw a no-hitter against Hibriten. At the conclusion of the season, he was named to the all-conference and all-county team. He played this past summer for Caldwell County Legion Post 29 and coach Gary Hambry. He is also the starting quarterback for the football team.
"Cody is a great addition to our staff," Gaski said. "He is big and intimidating on the mound and has a great arm. His changeup may be his best pitch. He will make an immediate impact on our pitching staff next year."
Slade, an outfielder from Baltimore, MD, is a four-year varsity starter for coach Mike DelGaudio at Loyola Blakefield High School, where he hit .398 and had a .478 on base percentage. During the last summer, Slade played for numerous squads. He played for the Baltimore Buzz coached by Paul Schiminger, the Mid-Atlantic Mets for Dan Gitzen, Baseball U for coach John Wells and Rangers Baseball, coached by Steve Centenio. He clocked a 6.49 60-yard time at the Perfect Game WWBA Skills Event and was named a 2008 Top Prospect by Perfect Game. He has also been on the honor roll his junior and senior years.
"Harry provides us with some excellent speed," said Gaski. "He gets great jumps in the outfield and is a contact hitter who always finds a way on base. Harry knows the game very well and will do what it takes to get the job done."
The Spartans will kick off their 2009 campaign on Feb. 20, when UNCG hosts Kent State for a three-game series.
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