Islanders Baseball Adds 19 to Incoming Class

Courtesy: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Courtesy: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi


CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team has added 19 players to its incoming class for the 2011-12 academic year, head coach Scott Malone announced today. The group joins the five players that signed with the Islanders in the fall signing period.

"This group has a little bit of everything," Malone said. "With our 10 departed seniors, we had a number of needs to fill, but I think we've addressed nearly all of them with this signing class. Thanks to the hard work of recruiting coordinator Chris Ramirez and assistant coach Marty Smith, I know we can continue to take Islanders Baseball to greater heights than we achieved this season."


Will Birge     

RHP/C • 6-2 • 155

Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson


The right-hander from Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville was the District 16-4A MVP as a senior. Birge was also the starter for the North squad at the 14th annual Austin Area Baseball Coaches Association All Star Game.


Ramirez on Birge:


"Will is a wiry, right-handed pitcher that already has a good feel for pitching and an above-average breaking ball. He also has the ability to catch and hit from the left side."


Stafford Brantley        

OF • 5-10 • 165

College Station, Texas/Temple JC


Brantley, a 5-foot-10 hitter from the left side, had a standout season at Temple in 2011. He hit .325 for the year with 10 doubles, two triples and two home runs. He also scored 27 runs, stole five bases and scored 27 times. That followed a freshman year in which he hit .379 with eight doubles and eight bombs, driving in 32 and scoring 26 runs. He was a Vice President's Honor Roll selection in all four of his semesters at Temple for his work in the classroom.


Ramirez on Brantley:


"Stafford is tagged as a 'baseball player' – he is a great athlete that plays the game hard every day. He will hit with some pop from the left side as well as be able to drag and push bunt for a hit anytime."


Kyle Danford               

INF • 6-3 • 180

College Station, Texas/Rudder


Danford is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound player who has appeared at first base, third base and in the outfield in his career. He played three years for Ken Reinhardt at Rudder, earning first team all-district honors all three seasons. In his senior campaign, he hit .457 with 13 doubles, four triples and two home runs for the team. That followed a junior season that saw him set school records for hits (54) and batting average (.567).


Ramirez on Danford:


"Kyle is a physical, athletic outfielder that is an above-average runner. We are looking forward to seeing how Kyle progresses as a baseball player and adapts to the Division I level."


Matt Danton

RHP • 6-4 • 170

Conroe, Texas/Willis


Danton is a 6-4 righty from Willis High School who had an ERA of 2.58 during his senior season while also hitting .521 during the year. He was named first team all-district as a pitcher. He led his team to an Area Championship and was selected to the All-Houston Area All-Star Team following the season.


Ramirez on Danton:


"Matt is a tall and lanky right-handed pitcher that is coming off of a very successful high school career as a starting pitcher. He has a ton of upside and projectabilty that we are very excited about." 


Jacob Dorris

RHP • 6-2 • 150

Weatherford, Texas/Weatherford


Dorris helped lead Weatherford to a 31-7 record and an 11-3 conference mark in 2011 under the direction of head coach Terry Massey. Dorris allowed opponents to hit just .192 off of him with a 1.52 ERA in going 11-3 on the season. The righty punched out 102 in 78 1/3 innings of work in addition to limiting his opponents to just 23 walks. He started 13 games and went the distance in seven of them.


Ramirez on Dorris:


"Jacob is a funky righty with a very live arm that throws from a low 3/4 to sidearm slot. We are very excited to get Jacob in an Islanders uniform."

Jonathan Gonzales

INF • 6-0 • 220

Buda, Texas/Temple JC


Gonzalez stands six feet tall and 220 pounds and was a two-way player at Temple. As a sophomore, he hit seven home runs and drove in 28 while hitting .313 at the dish. He also totaled one win and three saves on the mound. In his first year under coach Craig McMurtry, he hit .361 with six homers and 44 RBI. He played his high school ball at Hays, where he hit 17 longballs and was a Rawlings All-American and the Austin American Statesman Player of the Year.


Ramirez on Gonzales:


"Jonathan will bring a power presence to the middle of our lineup. He should be one of the strongest hitters we have had in the Islanders Baseball program."


Brian Hicks

RHP • 5-11 • 170

Marble Falls, Texas/Marble Falls


Hicks becomes part of the Islanders family after playing for David Norwood at Marble Falls. The righty struck out 65 batters and surrendered just 42 hits in 47 2/3 innings for a .214 batting average against. He made 14 appearances, starting nine times, and pitched a pair of complete games for the Mustangs.


Ramirez on Hicks:


"Brian is a good, young right-handed pitcher with a strong arm. Brian's best days are ahead of him as an Islander."


Seth Horton 

LHP • 6-1 • 180

Crawford, Texas/Temple JC


Horton is a 6-1 lefty from Temple Junior College who appeared in 28 games last season. The native of Crawford, Texas, picked up two saves with a 3.20 ERA during his final year with the Leopards.


Ramirez on Horton:


"Seth is transferring from Temple Community College, where he has had a lot of success as a left-handed pitcher. Seth will provide our pitching staff with experience and maturity right away."


Tim Keller

RHP • 6-1 • 185

Eugene, Oregon/Arizona Western College


Keller played two seasons for John Stratton at Arizona Western College before joining the Islanders. The native Oregonian went 4-3 with a 2.74 ERA in his sophomore season, punching out 56 batters in 69 innings. He surrendered just 51 hits over the campaign. As a freshman, he became the first player in school history to throw a no-hitter.


Ramirez on Keller:


"Tim brings our program a lot of success and experience as a starting pitcher for two years at Arizona Western Community College. He is a very strong competitor and will impact our pitching staff immediately."


Nick Lerick

INF • 5-10 • 175

San Antonio, Texas/Alamo Heights


Lerick will join the Islanders after winning two letters for Glynn Tschirhart at Alamo Heights High School. The 5-foot-10 middle infielder was twice named all-district in his time at Alamo Heights, once at second base and once at shortstop.  In his senior campaign, he hit .429 with a .560 on-base percentage and seven home runs. He also smashed 13 doubles and scored 36 runs.


Ramirez on Lerick:


"Nick reminds me a lot of current Islander Jeramie Marek as a freshman. He is a very athletic defender that can play all three infield positions for us already. "


Daniel Minor

RHP • 6-0 • 180

Dripping Springs, Texas/McLennan CC


Minor played the last two years for Pete Mejia at McLennan. As a sophomore, the righty struck out 64 batters in 65 1/3 innings of work. He went 6-6 with a 4.13 ERA on the season in leading McLennan to a 26-6 mark and a conference championship. He played his high school ball at Dripping Springs, where he was a first team all-district honoree in his senior season.


Ramirez on Minor:


"Daniel has already logged a lot of innings at the college level, transferring in as a starter from McLennan Community College. We will expect Dan to play a strong role on our pitching staff this spring."


Lucas Neely

INF • 5-11 • 155

Johnson City, Texas/Lyndon Baines Johnson


Neely was a standout middle infielder for one of the top small schools in the state at LBJ. He led the team to a 29-5 season and the state championship as a senior, hitting .568 with 13 doubles, two triples and three home runs. He also drove in 42 and scored 36 times on the season. He was a unanimous selection as the District 29-A MVP and earned First Team and Academic All-District honors in addition to being nominated for all-state recognition.


Ramirez on Neely:


"Luke was the starting shortstop for a state championship team as a senior in high school. He is a plus runner that will be as athletic as anybody in our program."


Franco Pace

LHP • 6-0 • 195

Oakville, Ontario/Texarkana College


Pace joins the Islanders after a pair of seasons pitching for Will Bolt at Texarkana College. In his freshman season, he helped the Bulldogs go 36-21 and win a conference championship. He was named to the JuCo All-Star game following that season. The native Canadian was a Dean's List honoree all four semesters at Texarkana after being an honor roll student all four years of high school at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Oakville.


Ramirez on Pace:


"Franco will have some of the better 'stuff' from the left side on our pitching staff this year. He has the ability to be a strikeout pitcher in our league."


Brad Porras

INF • 6-6 • 210

Needville, Texas/Wharton JC        


Porras is a 6-foot-6, 210-pound third baseman from Houston. In his two years at Wharton Junior College, he hit .330 or better both seasons with 29 doubles in total. He was an all-conference selection in 2010 and a Junior College All-Star in 2011. He is also a star off the field, as he earned academic all-conference recognition in 2010 and served as the president of Wharton's Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for the 2010-11 school year.


Ramirez on Porras:


"Brad is one of the most physically imposing players we have ever had in our program. His ability to play the corner infield positions, be an above-average runner and hit for power will be fun to work with throughout the year."


Jordan Schuetz       

RHP • 6-0 • 180

Magnolia, Texas/Magnolia


The 6-0, right-hander from Magnolia High School in Magnolia, Texas, pitched out of the bullpen during his senior year, tossing 23 innings, giving up 23 hits while striking out 16 batters. A dual-sport star, Schuetz also was the quarterback of his high school team during his career, making second team all-district.


Ramirez on Schuetz:


"Jordan is one of the more athletic pitchers we have signed here at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi as he was the quarterback for his high school football team. He will have one of the better fastballs on our staff this year." 


Jared Simbles          

2B • 5-10 • 190

Houston, Texas/Klein


Simbles is a 5-10 second baseman from Klein High School in Houston and was the Most Outstanding Newcomer in District 13-5A. He helped his team to the 5A State Finals twice during his career and was also an all-district performer in football and an all-academic performer in both sports.


Ramirez on Simbles:


"Jared comes to our program highly recommended for his ability to hit. He is a stocky, strong player that we are looking forward to see compete for a position this fall."


Zac Thompson        

C • 6-1 • 190

Frisco, Texas/Frisco


Thompson was a standout player behind the plate for Scott Cook at Frisco. He picked up all-district honors in both his junior and senior seasons for the team, and led the team to a 22-10-1 record and a spot in the district playoffs in his final campaign. The two-year letter winner is also a standout in the classroom, as he was awarded the Calvin Bledsoe Scholarship and the Homerun Club Scholarship.


Ramirez on Thompson:


"Zac is a very hard-working, high-character young man. His ability to catch and throw makes him a great fit in our program."


David Tittle 

INF/OF • 6-2 • 205

Kingwood, Texas/Blinn College


The newcomer from Blinn College hit .390 as a sophomore with six home runs to be selected for first team all-conference honors. During his freshman season at Blinn, he hit 13 homers and had a .330 average while being selected to the all-star game. During his high school career, Tittle played at Kingwood High School and was a two-time first team all-district player during his junior and senior seasons while being named second team all-district as a sophomore.


Ramirez on Tittle:


"David is a physical hitter that has already had a lot of success at the college level while at Blinn Community College. He is another strong athlete that we are excited about bringing to our program."


Eric Weiss    

OF • 6-2 • 190

Houston, Texas/Tyler JC


Weiss is a 6-2 outfielder from Tyler Junior College who hit .401 this past season after hitting .401 as a freshman. He was named First Team All-America and was invited to the Texas/New Mexico All-Star Game. During high school, Weiss was also a two-time all-district performer.


Ramirez on Weiss:


"Eric is a strong, athletic outfielder that has hit over .400 each of his past two seasons at Tyler Community College. Eric and Stafford Brantley are two very versatile athletes that will be fun to watch."


The Islanders also saw one of their incoming signees, Travis Lane, elect to move on to the professional level after being drafted and signed by the Kansas City Royals.


Texas A&M – Corpus Christi set school records in 2011 for wins (37) and Southland Conference wins (19) in advancing to the final day of the SLC Tournament for the first time. The Islanders concluded the year having won 15 of their final 18 contests, and were over .500 from start to finish in the campaign.



Complete 2010-11 Islanders Recruiting Class


Name                          Pos.          Ht.         Wt.      Hometown/Last School

Will Birge                   RHP/C     6-2        155     Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson

Stafford Brantley      OF            5-10      165     College Station, Texas/Temple JC

Kyle Danford             INF          6-3        180     College Station, Texas/Rudder

Matt Danton               RHP         6-4        170     Conroe, Texas/Willis

Jacob Dorris              RHP         6-2        150     Weatherford, Texas/Weatherford

Jonathan Gonzales    INF          6-0        220     Buda, Texas/Temple JC

Brian Hicks                RHP         5-11      170     Marble Falls, Texas/Marble Falls

Seth Horton               LHP         6-1        180     Crawford, Texas/Temple JC

Tim Keller                  RHP         6-1        185     Eugene, Oregon/Arizona Western College

Nick Lerick                 INF          5-10      175     San Antonio, Texas/Alamo Heights

Daniel Minor              RHP         6-0        180     Dripping Springs, Texas/McLennan CC

Lucas Neely               INF          5-11      155     Johnson City, Texas/Lyndon Baines Johnson

Franco Pace               LHP         6-0        195     Oakville, Ontario/Texarkana College

Brad Porras              INF          6-6        210     Needville, Texas/Wharton JC

Jordan Schuetz          RHP         6-0        180     Magnolia, Texas/Magnolia

Jared Simbles             2B            5-10      190     Houston, Texas/Klein

Zac Thompson          C              6-1        190     Frisco, Texas/Frisco      

David Tittle                INF/OF    6-2        205     Kingwood, Texas/Blinn College

Eric Weiss                  OF            6-2        190     Houston, Texas/Tyler JC

*Travis Lane              C              6-2        205     Glendale, Ariz./Central Arizona College

#Timothy Beard         LHP         6-3        175     Canberra, Australia/Western Nebraska CC

#Trevor Belicek         LHP/OF   6-3        185     Uvalde, Texas/Uvalde

#Jake Dziubczynski    LHP         6-1        180     Chandler, Ariz./Central Arizona College

#Jordan Lee                OF            5-8        170     Houston, Texas/Cypress Creek

#Tyler Schnuriger     RHP         5-10      175     San Antonio, Texas/Douglas MacArthur


*-Drafted and signed pro contract

#-Fall 2010 Signee