November 12, 2010

Three Wildcats Commit to Division I Universities

Three Wildcats Commit to Division I Universities

(l-r) Pat McMeel, Kevin Taylor, Brooks Klein
(l-r) Pat McMeel, Kevin Taylor, Brooks Klein

A trio of Western Nevada College players have signed letters of intent to play next fall for top college baseball programs. The players signed in a ceremony at WNC Friday during the NCAA early signing period for Division I universities. The signing sophomores include rightfielder Brooks Klein, third baseman Kevin Taylor, and catcher Patrick McMeel. This brings the total number of Wildcats to sign D-I scholarships to 36 since November 2006.

Brooks Klein will join the University of Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack. He follows in the footsteps of other former Wildcats who have gone on to don the silver and blue, including Tyson Jaquez, Brian Barnett, and Jesse Rasner. Klein had a successful first year with Western, earning four home runs and 36 RBIs. He helped the Wildcats secure some big wins in 2010, including two come from behind, walk-off victories during a four game series against Southern Nevada last April. He hit a three-run home run when his team was trailing in the bottom of the seventh in game one of the series and then hit a walk-off single off Bryce Harper in game three. Klein played at high school powerhouse Sierra Vista High School in Las Vegas before coming to Western.

Kevin Taylor will join Arizona State University. He becomes the fifth Wildcat to sign with ASU in the past four seasons - joining pitchers Cole Rohrbough, Josh Moody Kramer Champlin and Stephen Sauer. Taylor was a first team all-conference, all-region infielder in 2010. He was one of only two freshman selected as first team position players, the other being Golden Spikes award-winner Bryce Harper. Taylor led the Wildcats with 45 runs scored, 41 RBI's, 18 doubles and 25 extra base hits. Taylor was Oregon State Player of the Year at the highest classification 6A level when he played for Sunset High School outside of Portland.

Pat McMeel will play at New Mexico State University. He is the third Wildcat player to sign with NMSU, following in the footsteps of former NJCAA All-American Chuck Howard, and Riley Bevill. McMeel had a great 2010 season with the Wildcats where he threw out 11 of 29 would be base-stealers and earned all-conference, all-region mention honors for his work behind the plate. He finished the season batting .274 with an incredible .9921 fielding percentage. McMeel is originally from Olympia, Wash.

WNC Coach DJ Whittemore said, "All three of these young men are very talented and will be counted on to play major roles for our team this spring, just as they were a huge part of our team last year," when the Wildcats went 43-17.

"WNC baseball relishes days like this when the dreams of young men become realities," he said. "I am sure that we will have more players signing scholarships in the spring, but today, we couldn't be happier with the quality of the programs that recruited these players. To have a member of our team have the chance to move up the road to play for our hometown University of Nevada and Coach Powers is really special!"

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