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Diamond Hogs Ink 20 in Early Signing Period

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Diamond Hogs Ink 20 in Early Signing Period


FAYETTEVILLE
, Ark. –
Arkansas head baseball coach Dave Van Horn signed 20 players to national letters of intent during the fall signing period it was announced Wednesday.

The class includes 10 pitchers with seven right-handers and three left-handers along with 10 position players. This signing class will report to campus next fall and step on the diamond for the Hogs in 2008.

“We really needed to go out and fill this class with some pitchers because that is what we are going to lose the most of in next year’s draft,” Van Horn said. “We were able to go out and find some quality junior college pitchers as well as some polished high school guys. I think that we did a good job with that. We had to battle a lot of schools for our kids.”

The Razorbacks signed an athletic group of 10 position players that fill needs for the 2008 team. One of those positions was behind the plate, where UA could lose a couple of catchers off of this year’s team. The Hogs inked Chandler-Gilbert [Ariz.] Community College backstop Ryan Cisterna, who was coached by former Diamond Hog backstop Doyle Wilson.

“We went out and signed a catcher that is ready to play now,” Van Horn said. “We signed three or four – what we call power type bats – guys that have put up big numbers in high school. Then we went after athletic kids with speed and strength. It is another very athletic class that kind of matches the one we just brought in. It is one of the top classes since we have been here.”

Once again the Razorbacks will have to battle Major League Baseball for the services of the 20 players in this class. Four of the junior college players – Ryan Cisterna (47th, Royals, 2006); John Maschino (17th, Rangers, 2006; 36th Devil Rays, 2005); Ryan Miller (36th Indians, 2006); Zack Oliver (24th Braves, 2006) – have already been drafted.

“Just on the pitching side of it, we signed guys with very good arms,” Van Horn said. “Honestly, of the 10 pitchers we signed there is a chance at least eight of them could be drafted. Most all of the guys we signed are 90 mph guys or better.”

Below is brief biographical information on the Hogs’ 20 baseball signees during the fall signing period.

2006 Arkansas Baseball Fall Signees

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (HS / JC)

Ryan Cisterna C 6-1 195 Gilbert, Ariz. (Gilbert HS/Chandler-Gilbert [Ariz.] JC)

Bryan Dixon RHP 6-1 220 Garland, Texas (West Mesquite HS)

Brett Eibner OF/RHP 6-3 190 Houston, Texas (The Woodlands HS)

Conrad Flynn RHP 6-3 195 Midland, Texas (Robert E. Lee HS)

Jake Fuller OF 6-2 200 Fayetteville, Ark. (Fayetteville HS)

Cody Hawn 3B/OF 6-1 195 Knoxville, Tenn. (South Doyle HS)

Jacob House OF/1B 6-1 195 Mansfield, Texas (Timberview HS)

Kendal Korbal RHP 6-6 195 Houston, Texas (Langham Creek HS)

Collin Kuhn OF/INF 5-11 190 Beaver Dam, Wis. (Beaver Dam HS)

Chase Leavitt INF/OF 5-11 195 St. George, Utah (Snow Canyon / CC of Southern Nevada)

Scott Lyons SS 6-0 180 Covina, Calif. (Charter Oak HS/CSN/CCSN)

James Mahler RHP 6-6 225 Salt Lake City, Utah (Jordan HS)

John Maschino RHP 6-5 240 Edmond, Okla. (North HS/Seminole [Okla.] State)

Ryan Miller LHP 6-1 190 Cypress, Texas ( Cy-Fair HS / Blinn [Texas] JC)

Greg Noble OF 5-11 195 Benton, Ark. (Benton HS)

Zach Oliver LHP 6-1 190 Waco, Texas (Midway HS/Paris JC)

Drew Smyly LHP 6-3 180 Little Rock, Ark. (Central HS)

Ryan Turner RHP 6-4 190 Richland, Texas (Richland HS)

Justin Wells RHP 6-0 190 Bryant, Ark. (Bryant HS/Texarkana JC)

Andy Wilkins3B 6-2220Broken Arrow, Okla. (Broken Arrow HS)

Biographical Sketches

Ryan Cisterna, C, 6-1, 195 – Gilbert, Ariz.

Cisterna was the best catch and throw backstop the Arkansas coaches saw this year … was coming off of Tommy John surgery last season when he threw out four of 21 attempted base stealers at Chandler-Gilbert Community College … his arm has returned to full strength and should be one of the toughest junior college catchers in the country to steal on in 2007 … his catch and throw times to second base range from 1.78 to 1.90 … a 47th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals (1,391) in 2006 … batted .224 for the Coyotes in 2006 with five RBI … played for former Razorback Doyle Wilson at Chandler-Gilbert Community College … played high school ball at Gilbert [Ariz.] High School … chose the Razorbacks over Miami (Fla.).

Bryan Dixon, RHP, 6-1, 220, Garland, Texas

Dixon is a strong-armed and athletic right-hander out of West Mesquite High School … possesses a good fast ball (90-plus) and a excellent slider … throws a lot of strikes … has a tremendous upside for the Razorbacks … posted a 1-5 record with four saves as a junior in 2006 … struck out 66 batters in 54.1 innings of work with a 2.19 ERA … named to the 11-4A all-district team as a junior.

Brett Eibner, OF/RHP, 6-3, 190, Houston, Texas)

Eibner comes to the Razorbacks as a two-way player with outstanding athletic ability and a good arm after helping The Woodlands [Texas] High School capture the 2006 5A State Championship … he has great size at 6-3, 190 pounds and should develop good power at the plate … brother, Drew, plays on the Arkansas men’s golf team … he batted .261 with three home runs, 18 runs scored, seven RBI and a .419 slugging percentage … was 2-0 on the mound with a 0.88 ERA and one save … struck out 15 batters in 16 innings of work.

Conrad Flynn, RHP, 6-3, 195, Midland, Texas

Flynn comes to the Hogs as one of the best pitching prospects in the state of Texas … possesses a big 12-to-6 curveball, a quality changeup and pitches with his fastball at 89-92 … the polished right-hander is ranked No. 43 among the top 100 pitchers nationally by Perfect Game … has great mound presence and the ability to be a future weekend starter for Arkansas … went 5-2 in district play in 2006 with a 0.93 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 45 innings … he was a first-team all-district selection and the team’s co-MVP on the mound … attended the Perfect Game Showcase at Baum Stadium last June.

Jake Fuller, OF, 6-2, 200, Fayetteville, Ark.

Fuller is the next in a long line of Fayetteville High School products who played for the Razorbacks … the left-handed hitter is an outstanding athlete with potential at the plate and good speed … was an all-conference selection on Fayetteville’s state championship team in 2006 … batted .413 and fanned only nine times in 116 plate appearances … was recruited by Missouri, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Nebraska and Oral Roberts.

Cody Hawn, 3b/OF, 6-1, 195, Knoxville, Tenn.

Hawn is considered one of the best hitters to come out of eastern Tennessee since Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton in the early 1990s … a pure hitter that is a strong defensive third baseman … attended the Perfect Game Showcase at Baum Stadium last June … turned in an amazing junior season in 2006 with a .560 batting average, 17 home runs, 56 RBI while drawing 31 walks … was named to the All-PrepXtra first team and the All-KIL in 2006 … he also accounted for 54 runs scored on 55 total hits … hit .419 as a sophomore with 11 home runs and 37 RBI. Chose Arkansas over Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Tulane and Memphis.

Jacob House, OF/1B, 6-1, 195, Mansfield, Texas

House is one of the more intriguing signees for the Hogs … he has good speed and makes consistent hard contact … possesses a big upside in the coming years for Arkansas … has great size at 6-4, 190 pounds and can play in the outfield or at first base … the left-handed hitter was named first-team all-district in 15-4A as a junior in 2006 … was a second-team member of the 15-4A all-district team in 2005.

Kendal Korbal, RHP, 6-6, 195, Houston, Texas

Korbal’s 6-6 frame combined with a smooth delivery could spell trouble for the SEC … the right-hander has a fastball that is already in the low 90s … he mixes four pitches well with a tight slider, good curveball and a changeup with sink … a second-team all-district 17-5A in 2006 after posting a 5-2 record with a 1.48 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 52 innings … he boasted a 0.88 ERA in district games that ranked second in 17-5A … attended the Perfect Game Sunshine South showcase.

Collin Kuhn, OF/INF, 5-11, 190, Beaver Dam, Wis.

Kuhn continues the Hogs’ pipeline from Wisconsin … the Beaver Dam infielder possesses outstanding potential … is a great athlete that played both football and basketball … earned all-conference honors as a wide receiver … has an outstanding bat and good speed … he was a second-team all-district 6 selection as a infielder in 2006.

Chase Leavitt, INF/OF, 5-11, 195, St. George, Utah

Leavitt began his college career in 2004, leading Dixie [Utah] Junior College to the NJCAA National Championship … he played second base and hit .351 with 14 doubles, three triples and 30 RBI at Dixie JC … earned first team All-Region XVIII honors in 2004 … he then spent the next two years on a Mormon mission … he transferred to the Community College of Southern Nevada to continue his baseball career this season … he turned in an outstanding prep career at Snow Canyon High School in St. George, Utah.

Scott Lyons, SS, 6-0, 180, Covina, Calif.

Lyons faced the Razorbacks last season when he played at Cal State-Northridge … one of the finest shortstops in California coming out of high school … he will play at Mt. Antonio Junior College in 2007 … he batted .321 with three doubles, a home run and 30 RBI as a freshman at Cal State-Northridge … earned All-Big West honorable mention in 2006 … Lyons attended Charter Oak High School in Covina, Calif. … helped the Chargers to Miramonte League titles his final four seasons … was named All-League, All-CIF and All-Valley as a junior and senior … also earned second-team all-league accolades in his sophomore season when COHS made it to the CIF Quarterfinals.

James Mahler, RHP, 6-6, 225, Salt Lake City, Utah

Mahler got his first taste of Razorback baseball at the 2006 Perfect Game showcase at Baum Stadium last June … ranked No. 33 among the Perfect Game top 100 pitchers … he is the son of former major-leaguer Mick Mahler and the nephew of former major-leaguer Rick Mahler … James possesses a fastball in the low 90s and an outstanding curveball … has a great pitchers body at 6-6, 225 pounds … earned second-team all-state and first-team all-region honors in 2006.

John Maschino, RHP, 6-5, 240, Edmond, Okla.

Maschino possesses all of the intangibles of a future star at Arkansas … has a power arm with a fastball from 90-94 mph … was drafted in the 17th round (508th overall) of the Major League Baseball draft after his freshman season at Seminole [Okla.] State College in 2006 where he went 2-1 with a 5.59 ERA in 10 games … struck out 31 in 27.1 innings of work for the Trojans … was a 36th-round selection of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays out of Edmond North High School in 2005 … originally committed to the University of Oklahoma … his sister, Kathryn, also signed a gymnastics scholarship with the Lady Razorbacks this fall.

Ryan Miller, LHP, 6-1, 190, Cypress, Texas

Miller is a junior college prospect our to Blinn [Texas] JC that should provide immediate help for the Hogs’ pitching staff in 2008 … has a low-90s fastball and a power slider … was drafted in the 36th round by the Cleveland Indians following his freshman season at Blinn JC in 2006 … posted a 5-3 record with a 3.41 ERA and 70 strikeouts and a save in 60.2 innings.

Greg Noble, OF, 5-11, 195, Benton, Ark.

Noble is considered one of the best athletes in the state of Arkansas … he has excellent speed and makes consistent contact at the plate … batted .429 for Benton High School in 2006 while swiping 10 bases … led the team in walks, stolen bases, and triples … scored 39 runs from his leadoff spot … an outstanding student that earned all-state honors as a junior in 2006 and has been named to the 5A-South All-Conference team in both 2005 and 2006.

Zach Oliver, LHP, 6-1, 190, Waco, Texas

Oliver is a left-handed hurler out of Paris [Texas] Junior College that will provide immediate help for the Hogs in 2008 … a big-time prospect that controls three pitches … has an explosive fastball (88-91) that is complimented by a very good curveball and a quality changeup … was 7-2 with a 2.44 ERA at Paris in 2006 where he was an all-conference performer … was drafted in the 24th round (730th overall) of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves … was a all-state pitcher and all-district first baseman out of Midway High School in Waco, Texas in 2005.

Drew Smyly, LHP, 6-3, 180, Little Rock, Ark.

Smyly is a left-handed pitcher out of Little Rock’s Central High School who is smart and poised on the mound … posted fantastic numbers as a junior in 2006 with a 10-2 record and a 1.33 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 73.2 innings … earned AAAAA All-State recognition and was selected to the Arkansas American Legion AAA All-Star game this past summer.

Ryan Turner, RHP, 6-4, 190, Richland, Texas

Turner has a power arm with a tremendous upside … an athlete who also catches, Turner’s fastball has been clocked from 90-94 with a dominating curveball … chose the Razorbacks over TCU, Texas Tech and Clemson.

Justin Wells, RHP, 6-0, 190, Bryant, Ark.

A talented instate prospected that is currently the ace at Texarkana Junior College … a poised right-hander that could start or close … a polished right-hander that pounds the zone with strikes … can throw all three pitches – fastball, slider and changeup – for strikes … went 4-3 last season with the Bulldogs with a 3.26 ERA in 38.2 innings of work … fanned 28 on the year, while issuing just five walks.

Andy Wilkins, 3B, 6-2, 220, Broken Arrow, Okla.

One of the premier high school hitters in the state of Oklahoma … a third basemen with pure power and hitting ability … batted .496 with a school record 17 home runs and 16 doubles at the largest high school in the state of Oklahoma … scored 30 runs and had 60 RBI to go along with a 1.109 slugging percentage and a .519 on-base percentage … named to the 2006 Louisville Slugger High School All-American team … chose the Hogs over Arizona State and Wichita State.



Sports Category : Baseball