March 2, 2010

Former Players Highly Successful

Wildcats Alumni Tearing Up NCAA Division I

Twenty-five former Wildcats are still playing baseball this spring and making a big difference on their teams. Five are wearing professional uniforms, 15 are student athletes on NCAA Division I teams, and five are attending college and playing at NCAA Division II or NAIA schools, according to Western Nevada College Head Coach DJ Whittemore.

Last year's Western Nevada players are making a smooth transition to Division I baseball from their Western District Championship/JUCO World Series team of 2009. Among the nine players who moved into the D-1 ranks, many are off to a quick start:

Brian Barnett - University of Nevada, Reno: Brian has been starting in both right field and left field for the Pack and hitting in the clean-up spot. The Pack is 4-3 and Barnett is hitting .370 with four doubles. He is second on the team with six batted in during seven games.

Lance Ray - University of Kentucky: Lance has started in right field as well as first base for the Wildcats and in his most recent game was hitting in the clean-up spot. Kentucky is nationally ranked and competes in the exceptionally tough Southeastern Conference. The Wildcats are off to a hot 6-0 start.

Travis Fiener - University of Nevada, Las Vegas: Travis has been starting at third base for the Rebels and hitting fifth in the batting order. In the season opener he had three hits including a two-run home run to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. Feiner is hitting a robust .357 and the Rebels are off to a 6-2 start.

Jerome Pena - Texas Christian University: Jerome has started five games at second base and one at short stop for the Horned Frogs. He has hit safely in five out of six games so far this season and has recorded multiple hits in two games. He is hitting .318 for the season and the #11 ranked Horned Frogs are off to a 5-1 start.

Josh Moody - Arizona State University: Josh has not allowed a run in two innings so far this season. The #6 ranked Sun Devils are 7-0.

Logan Odom - University of Southern California - has one appearance for the Trojans out of their bullpen.

Others:
Daniel Zylstra - Oklahoma State University: is waiting to debut after the Cowboys have played two games.

Kyle Starratt - Texas Christian University: underwent off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum and has not yet appeared in a game.

Mike Long - Prarie View A&M University: underwent off-season surgery to repair a torn ACL and will redshirt this season.

Players from previous Wildcat teams also making an impact at the D-1 level include:
Cliff Shepard - Centennary College: Cliff is hitting third in the order for the Gents and starting in right field. Cliff homered in the season opener - a 4-3 loss to Louisiana State University in front of the largest NCAA baseball crowd of the season thus far. Shepard is hitting .448 through seven games leading the team with 13 hits, five for extra bases, and 10 RBI.

Matt Klein - Oklahoma State University: Matt appeared out of the bullpen in the second game of the season against nationally ranked Vanderbilt University.

Jesse Rasner - University of Nevada, Reno: Jesse has led the team in appearances after two weeks of the season including a win in the season opener for the Wolfpack. Rasner has appeared in three games with a 1-0 record.

James Crockett - Southern Utah University: James has three appearances out of the pen for the Thunderbirds. Crockett has already struck out 10 batters in just 5.1 innings pitched.

James Nygren - Oregon State University: James has appeared in two games for the Beavers, starting one He has a 1.69 ERA for the 15th ranked Beavers.

Chuck Howard - New Mexico State University: Chuck is taking an academic redshirt and will return for his senior season next year.

Wildcat alumni that are playing well for other four-year college baseball teams
Kyle Gutchewsky - New Mexico Highlands University (NCAA DII): Kyle is starting at shortstop for the Highlanders and hitting well over .472 with three of 17 hits going for home runs. The team is off to a 9-1 start.

Andrew Reid - Concordia University: Andrew is starting at first base and doubling as a relief pitcher.

Javy Perez - Vanguard University: Javy has started two games, winning one for this up and coming NAIA school. Vanguard is 12-1 this season. Perez holds a 3.86 ERA.

Brett Moravec - Vitebro University (NAIA): Brett is starting at third base and hitting in the middle of the order. The V-Hawks also rely on Brett on the mound as one of their starting pitchers.

Marshall Kennebrew - Point Loma University (NAIA): Marshall has seen limited action throught the first three weeks of the season for the Sea Lions, hitting .500. The Sea Lions are ranked second in the country and have won nine of their first 12 games.

Also still getting paid to play are six professional players:
Cole Rohrbough - Atlanta Braves: Cole finished the 2009 season at the high "A" affiliate in the Carolina League Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Rohrbough started 22 games for the Pelicans and struck out 100 batters in 117 innings pitched. Early projections have Cole starting the 2010 professional season in "AA".

Justin Garcia - Tampa Bay Rays: Justin finished last season at the high "A" affiliate of the Florida State League Charlotte . He was 7-5 on the mound and had 62 strikeouts against just 12 walks in 58 innings pitched. After an outstanding 2009 season, expect to see Justin starting 2010 in "AA".

Stephen Sauer - Chicago White Sox: Stephen pitched last season for the low "A" Kannapolis Intimidators of the South Atlantic League. Stephen started last season on a tear very few have witnessed in professional baseball. Stephen struck out 50 professional hitters before walking his second batter of the season. He finished with 123 strikeouts on the season and a 3.36 ERA in 142 innings pitched.

Jose Barajas - Baltimore Orioles: Pitched for the Aberdeen Firebirds of the New York Penn-League in short-season "A" ball. Barajas pitched 33.1 innings and won three games with 26 strikeouts on the season.

Mason Tobin - Anaheim Angels: Mason pitched last season for the Rancho Cucamonga Earthquakes of the California League, the high "A" affiliate of the Angels.

Kyle Farrell - Atlanta Braves: Kyle competed in the Gulf Coast League with the Atlanta Rookie League team last year and will start the year in low "A" this spring.

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