Seattle University head baseball coach Donny Harrel has announced that seven student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to attend the university and join the baseball program beginning in the 2012-13 academic year.
Austen Brand (Tacoma, Wash.) is a 5'9", 170-pound utility player presently in his senior year at Stadium High School. Last season, Brand batted .348 with a .421 on-base percentage, earning 10 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 30 runs batted in, and five stolen bases in 42 games.
"Austen is a true athlete who can play multiple positions for us, including the infield, outfield, and even catcher. He is another great runner in this class that will help increase our team speed. He shows signs of power and will bring more pressure with his impact on doing the little things. Austen is an outstanding human being who fits the Seattle U mold," Harrel said.
Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.) is a three-time First Team All-State selection as well as MVP of the Peninsula and Nisqually League. The 5'9", 168-pound outfielder batted .575 with 53 runs scored, 10 home runs, 27 runs batted in, and 11 stolen bases for the Washington Nationals in the 2010 Area Code competition.
"Landon is a true leadoff hitter. He is tough, fast, and hates to lose. He will push the club with his work ethic and attitude," said Harrel. "Landon will fill our void in centerfield and will be a defensive key when we play in the bigger parks of the Western Athletic Conference. This kid will excite our fans!"
Skyler Genger (Kent, Wash.) is a 6'3", 190-pound pitcher for Kentwood High School. In 2011, the team won the district title and finished in the top eight in the state as Genger earned honorable mention all-league honors as a shortstop. On the mound, he posted a 1.62 earned run average and collected a school-record five saves.
"Skyler has a big upside on the mound. He is athletic and loose and now just needs to add strength to his frame. Skyler is a relentless worker and very coachable. With his make-up and work ethic, this kid should shine in our program," Harrel said.
Chris Jaeger (Carmel, Calif.) is a 6'0", 175-pound shortstop presently entering his senior season at the Stevenson School. Last season he batted .420 with 35 hits and 23 runs batted in, earning second team all-league honors for the third consecutive year. He is also a two-time first team all-league performer in basketball.
"Chris has a chance to be a real dynamic player for us and in the WAC. He is very athletic and adds true speed to our lineup. Chris has gap power to all fields and will really put pressure on the opposing team's defense. He is a solid defender with good range, and he will make the play in the hole because of his arm," said Harrel.
Cash McGuire (Kent, Wash.) is the second member of the recruiting class from Kentwood High School. The 5'10", 180-pound second baseman started the entire year during his sophomore season, batting .444 as the team won the state title. He followed that up with a .400 batting average last season.
"Cash always seems to come up with the big hit or key defensive play when his team needs him. He possesses a tremendous work ethic and a true passion to win," Harrel said. "Cash will be one of our leaders the first day he walks on the field. He has a great glove, a solid bat, and excellent instincts. I am very excited to cut him loose in our program and let him do his thing."
Connor Moore (West Richland, Wash.) is a left-handed pitcher and outfielder at Richland High School. The 5'11", 165-pound player batted .385 during his junior year, earning honorable mention all-league honors, and followed that with a 6-2 record for the Twin City Titans in the Senior American Legion League, winning the Brandy Pugh MVP Award.
"Connor is another two-way player for us, adding depth on the mound and competing for one of the outfield positions. On the mound, he made a nice jump from the late summer when we saw him and can really throw the breaking ball to keep guys off-balance. Offensively, he is a contact guy who will do the little things to help us win," Harrel said.
Ben Ruff (Fife, Wash.) is a 5'9", 190-pound infielder and pitcher for Lower Columbia College after graduating from Fife High School. His 2011 season was cut short by a broken wrist, but the coaches are confident that he will make a full recovery.
"Ben gives us a two-way player that is tough, competitive, and has great game savvy. He will really help us at the back end of games, and he will hit either third or fourth at Lower Columbia this spring. Ben should give us another right-handed option with his bat," said Harrel.
The Seattle University baseball team is tentatively scheduled to start the 2012 season with a three-game series against Utah Valley at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue Feb. 17-19. The full schedule will be released soon.