Point Park University baseball finalizes 2011 recruiting class, Pioneers add 23 players
Aug. 30, 2010
PITTSBURGH – The Point Park University baseball team and head coach Loren Torres finalized its 2011 recruiting class recently. The 2011 season will be Torres’ second year at Point Park, and the Miami, Fla., native has added a total of 23 players to the roster.
“We are thrilled to announce the 2011 recruiting class,” said Torres. “It’s a talented and dynamic group of guys. Our goal is to better compete in our conference and put ourselves in a solid position to make the playoffs. The recruiting class has a good mix of pitching and hitting that should be able to showcase really well in the American Mideast Conference this spring.”
Scroll to the bottom of page for full listing of 2011 recruiting class
PICTURED ABOVE: Infielder Zach O'Neal (pictured above), from Kishwaukee (Ill.), is one of 13 transfers in Point Park's 2011 recruiting class. Photo courtesy Kishwaukee Baseball.
The recruiting class includes 23 players – 13 transfers and 10 freshmen. Of the 10 freshmen, five are from the state of Florida. The recruiting class, which includes 15 position players and eight pitchers, has plenty of talent both from the transfer and freshmen rank that will play for the Pioneers this coming season.
The Pioneers got two transfers from Kishwaukee (Ill.) College, one of the top junior colleges in the country. Zach O’Neal (IF, 5-10, Jr.), a native of Greenfield, Ind., was all-region player for Kishwaukee last year when he hit .444 with four homers and 56 RBIs. Also from Kishwaukee is pitcher Ryan Kruse (RHP, 6-4, Jr.), from Marinette, Wisc., who was 6-4 in 50.1 innings last year for the Kougars.
Three players have transferred from Elgin (Ill.) Community College, also one of the top junior college programs in the nation. Cory Hodge (IF, 6-1, Jr.), from Elgin, Ill., was an all-region infielder last year when he hit .370 with 31 RBIs and 54 runs. Steve Dujka (C/1B, 6-0, Jr.) from St. Charles, Ill., batted .388 with 21 RBIs but was limited to 25 games due to injury. Pitcher Ben Rodriguez (RHP, 5-11, Jr.), from East Dundee, Ill., was 3-1 in 50.1 innings as Elgin’s top reliever a year ago.
PICTURED ABOVE: Other transfers include (clockwise from upper left), from Elgin CC: Cory Hodge (IF), Steve Dujka (C/1B) and Ben Rodriguez (RHP); from Talladega College: Aliciades Gonzales (RHP); from Kishwaukee College: Ryan Kruse (RHP) and from Niagara CCC: Matt Whidden (RHP).
Transfer pitcher Matt Whidden (RHP, 6-4, Jr.), pictured left, had an excellent season in 2010 at Niagara County (N.Y.) Community College. In 10 games at the junior college, Whidden was 8-0 with a 1.94 ERA in 51.0 innings. This past spring, the Ontario native was invited to the post-draft training camp of the Atlanta Braves.
Alcibiades Gonzales (RHP, 6-0, Sr.) is a transfer from Talladega (Ala.) College, an NAIA school in Talladega, Alabama. Gonzales is a native of Panama whose fastball is clocked in the mid 90s. Gonzales was recruited by Torres to play at Judson (Ill.) University, where Torres spent five years as head coach from 2003-07.
The top pitcher among the freshmen recruits is James Monroe (RHP, 6-0, Fr.), a native of Miami, Fla., and the ace at American High School. Monroe was named to the Miami Herald’s All-Dade Second Team for 6A-5A, the highest classification. Monroe led American to the Florida 6A title game. He was 9-1 on the year, and he earned the victory in the state semifinals. American is coached by former major leaguers Ricky Guitterrez and Lenny Harris.
Perhaps the best hitter among the freshmen recruits is Jonathan Tasis (1B/C, 6-1, Fr.), a native of Hialeah, Fla., near Miami. At Mater Academy, Tasis was named All-Dade honorable mention by the Miami Herald the last two years and he ranked among the area’s leaders in batting average.
Other transfers include two players from Duquesne University – Tyler Bowen (OF/C, 5-10, So.) of Bethel Park and Sean Clark (RHP, 6-3, So.) of Titusville, Pa. Bowen (pictured left) played in 21 games and made 12 starts as an outfielder and designated hitter for the Dukes. Clark (picutred below, right) appeared in 17 games on the mound with one start. Both players transferred from the NCAA Division I school after their freshmen seasons because Duquesne dropped its baseball program this past spring.
Dillon Sauers (IF, 5-10, Jr.), from Bridgeville, has returned to the Pioneers after leaving to play at NCAA Division II West Virginia State last season. Sauers hit .305 and started 39 games as a freshman at Point Park in 2009.
Among other transfers is Tom Pasinski (OF, 6-0, So.), a West Mifflin native who was an all-region player at Penn State-Behrend. Apollo native Garrett Mack (RHP, 5-11, Jr.) was an all-region pitcher at Westmoreland County CC. Nathan Raffle (C, 5-9, Sr.) is a Greensburg Central Catholic grad who is transferring from NAIA Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky.
Mike Mulkerin (IF, 5-11, Fr.) from Monroeville and Gateway High School hit .436 with seven homers and 32 RBIs as a senior last year. Chris Smith (1B/C, 6-2, Fr.) was a four-year starter at Jeannette High School, and Jon Corcoran (IF, 5-9, Fr.) started for two-years at Fox Chapel High School. Craig Budzik (1B, 6-2, Fr.) was a standout player for Shaler High School and Shaler American Legion.
Pictured above: Mike Mulkerin (IF) signs with head coach Loren Torres.
In addition to Monroe and Tasis, incoming freshmen from the state of Florida are Kaleb Paulton (IF, 5-10, Fr.) from Clearwater and Daniel Torres (RHP, 5-10, Fr.) and Chris Zitnick (OF, 5-9, Fr.) from Miami. Torres, who is no relation to head coach Loren Torres, was a two-time honorable mention pick by the Miami Herald and a teammate of Tasis’ at Mater Academy. Zitnick was a teammate of Monroe’s on American High School’s state-finalist team.
Rounding out the freshmen recruits is Christopher Pranckunas (OF, 5-1, Fr.), an all-conference player from Sheffield Lake, Ohio, and Brookside High School.
Point Park University, which is located in downtown Pittsburgh, is a member of the NAIA and the American Mideast Conference. The Pioneers have a rich tradition of baseball success, which includes 10 appearances in the NAIA World Series, which is tied for fifth all-time. Point Park was 13-26 in 2009, Torres’ first season.
POINT PARK UNIVERSITY BASEBALL – 2011 RECRUITING CLASS
Ryan Kruse, RHP, 6-4, Jr., Marinette, Wisc., Kishwaukee (Ill.) JC
Zach O’Neal, IF, 5-10, Jr., Greenfield, Ind., Kishwaukee JC
Cory Hodge, IF, 6-1, Jr., Elgin, Ill., Elgin (Ill.) CC
Steve Dujka, C/1B, 6-0, Jr., St. Charles, Ill., Elgin CC
Ben Rodriguez, RHP, 5-11, East Dundee, Ill., Elgin CC
Matt Whidden, RHP, 6-4, Hamilton, Ontario, Niagara Co. (NY) CC
Alcibiades Gonzales, RHP, 6-0, Panama, Talladega (AL) College
Tyler Bowen, OF/C, 5-10, Bethel Park, Pa., Duquesne Univ.
Sean Clark, RHP, 6-3, Titusville, Pa., Duquesne Univ.
Tom Pasinski, OF, 6-0, So., West Mifflin, Pa., Penn State-Behrend
Garrett Mack, RHP, 5-11, Jr. Apollo, Pa., Westmoreland Co. CC
Dillon Sauers, IF, 5-10, Jr. Bridgeville, Pa., W. Va. State Univ.
Nathan Raffle, C, 5-9, Sr., Ruffs Dale, Pa., Lindsey Wilson College
Jonathan Tasis, 1B/C, 6-1, Hialeah, Fla., Mater Academy
James Monroe, RHP, 6-0, Miami, Fla., American H.S.
Kaleb Paulton, IF, 5-10, Clearwater, Fla., Pinellas Park H.S.
Daniel Torres, RHP, 5-10, Miami, Fla., Mater Academy
Chris Zitnick, OF, 5-9, Miami, Fla., American H.S.
Craig Budzik, 1B, 6-2, Shaler, Pa., Shaler H.S.
Mike Mulkerin, IF, 5-11, Monroeville, Pa., Gateway H.S.
Christopher Pranckunas, OF, 5-10, Sheffield Lake, Ohio, Brookside H.S.
Jon Corcoran, IF, 5-9, Pittsburgh, Pa., Fox Chapel H.S.
Chris Smith, 1B/C, 6-2, Jeannette, Pa., Jeannette H.S.