Islanders Baseball Picks Up Five NLIs

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team recently signed five players to National Letters of Intent with a mix of three high school players and two junior college transfers.

"I am excited about the group of student-athletes that we have added to the Islander family," head coach Scott Malone said about the signees. "There is no doubt these guys will come in and make an immediate impact on our roster. Most importantly, I know they will represent us in the classroom and be great ambassadors of the Islanders Baseball program."

This was the first bunch of signees for Brett Gips who was recently promoted after Chris Ramirez left the position to become the head coach at the University of Illinois Springfield.

"I am also excited for Gips to put the finishing touches on his first signing class," Malone said. "From the first day that he got the job he has been working around the clock to put this group of individuals together that will continue to propel our program to the next level."

Austin Cornish • C/RHP

Ranked by Perfect Game USA as top 200 catcher in national rankings

Fort Worth, Texas • R.L. Paschal High School - head coach Darrell Preston

Also recruited by: Texas Tech, Northwestern Louisiana State, Abilene Christian, Air Force, Dartmouth and Brown

In his junior year, Cornish hit at a .348 clip at the plate, finding the gap for 12 doubles to go along with 30 RBIs. He was named honorable mention for District 3-5A in both his sophomore and junior years. Cornish has also spent the past four years playing for the Arlington A's travel team. He can make up either portion of the battery for the Islanders either behind the plate or on the mound.

Gips on Cornish: "Austin is very athletic, instinctive player that has great hands behind the plate as well as a very strong, accurate throwing arm. He's a great catch and throw guy. He is really exciting to watch on the mound; attacks hitters and has a bulldog mentality and a fastball that has been over 90 mph on several occasions."

Tanner Griggs • RHP

Ranked by Perfect Game USA as No. 68 junior college prospect  

League City, Texas • Angelina JC - head coach Jeff Livin

Also recruited by: Houston, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese State and Northwestern State

Griggs will come to the Island University following his sophomore year at Angelina JC in Lufkin, Texas. In his freshman year in Angelina, Griggs went 6-6 with a 3.8 ERA. In 60 innings of work, the righty averaged just over one strikeout per inning with 65 Ks on the year. He dominated in high school, going 9-3 with an ERA just under one at 0.97. His strikeout numbers were also high at Clear Creek, setting down 124 batters on strikes in 77 innings. In 2012, Griggs was named the Houston 5A Baseball pitcher of the year.

Gips on Griggs: "Tanner will bring a lot of experience from the junior college ranks and adds depth directly into our starting rotation. He is a tall, athletic righty with a great arm and a fastball with good angle and life between 90-93 mph. He will add toughness and some edge to the team."

Garrett Harris • RHP

Anderson, Texas • Brookhaven JC – head coach Brandon Raines

Also Recruited By: UT-Arlington, UTSA and Stephen F. Austin

Harris will be another arm looking to make an impact on the pitching staff, as the righty logged 62 innings at Brookhaven his freshman year with seven starts and a total of 16 appearances. In three of his starts, he was able to go the distance for the complete game. He finished the season going 6-3 with a 2.68 ERA, while also picking up a save on the year. His performance on the bump led him to a second team all-conference selection, as well as a place on the 2013 NJCAA Texas/New Mexico All-Star Team.

Gips on Harris: "Garrett will bring a lot of experience with him, as he comes to us next year from junior college. He is a big, strong kid that has a clean delivery and good feel for pitching with a great ability to throw the ball downhill with sink at 90 mph. He will come in and immediately make a big impact on our pitching staff."

Carter Lilly • LHP

Ranked By Perfect Game USA as 20th best LHP in Texas / top 175 nationally

Rockwall, Texas • Rockwall High School - head coach Jeff Payne

Also recruited by: Morehead State

The lone southpaw of the signees is Lilly, who went 9-3 with 100 strikeouts at Rockwall en route to a unanimous selection as the First Team All-District pitcher in District 12-5A. Lilly also helped his team reach the regional finals last season. In travel ball Lilly played for the Dallas Mets under the direction of Miguel Perez.

Gips on Lilly: "Carter is a very tall, physical and collected player that comes from a very tradition rich program at Rockwall High School, where he has played in some big games over his career as a high school pitcher. He has a deceptive delivery and very good command of all the pitches in his repertoire."

Frankie Silha • SS

Kingwood, Texas • Kingwood High School - head coach Kelly Mead

Silha is the only one out of the five signees that fans will not see on the bump. He is a strong middle infielder and was named first team all district in both his sophomore and junior seasons. He showed that he wanted to be an Islander early on as he committed to A&M – Corpus Christi his junior year of high school. 

Gips on Silha: "Frankie is an extremely athletic, fast and twitchy middle infielder with a great mentality and understanding of the game. He is a lefty hitter that has a good approach to go along with a mechanically sound swing. He will continue to develop as a player because of his attention to detail and focus."

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