FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Head baseball coach Dave Van Horn welcomed 20 newcomers and 16 returning letterman to his 2008 Razorback squad this week as classes began at the University of Arkansas.
The signing class includes seven players who have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including the Houston Astros fourth-round choice in 2007, Brett Eibner (Houston, Texas / The Woodlands HS).
The class includes 10 position players, nine pitchers and Eibner who will pitch and play in the outfield. The group is comprised of 12 high school players, seven junior-college athletes and one Division-I transfer.
“We are very excited to get this collection of athletes on our campus for the 2008 season,” Van Horn said. “We were able to keep some guys who were taken in the Major League Baseball Draft and address our needs at the same time. This is a talented group of players that should help our baseball team right away.”
Along with Eibner, who was the 141st pick of the this year’s draft, the Hogs got the Texas Rangers 25th-round choice 3B/1B Andy Wilkins (Broken Arrow, Okla. / Broken Arrow HS), the Red Sox 36th-round pick SS Scott Lyons (Covina, Calif. / CC of Southern Nevada), the Phillies 42nd-round selection RHP James Mahler (Salt Lake City, Utah / Jordan HS) and catcher Ryan Cisterna (Gilbert, Ariz. / Chandler-Gilbert CC), who was taken by the Washington Nationals in the 46th round.
A late additions to the class were junior-college right-handers Gary Poynter and Mike Bolsinger. Poynter, a Flower Mound, Texas, native was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds out of Marcus High School in 2005 in the 48th round and then after his freshman year at Weatherford [Texas] College in the 38th round by Texas. Bolsinger was a 34th-round choice of the Cleveland Indians out of North McKinney High School in 2006.
The newcomers should come in and boost an already talented group of veteran returners. Five starters return to anchor the lineup, including Logan Forsythe, Casey Coon, Jeff Nutt, Ben Tschepikow and Tim Smalling. On the mound Shaun Seibert is coming off of Tommy John surgery and Dallas Keuchel returns after a strong summer in the Cape Cod League. Senior right-hander Travis Hill is set to lead the bullpen.
Below is a roster of the Hogs’ incoming signing class and a brief biographical sketch of their accomplishments.
2007 Arkansas Baseball Recruiting Class
# Player Pos. B/T Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/HS/Previous School
32 Mike BolsingerRHP R/R 6-2 200 So. McKinney, Texas (North McKinney HS/Grayson CC)
18 Tim Carver INF R/R 5-10 160 Fr. Fayetteville, Ark. (Fayetteville HS)
6 Ryan CisternaC R/R 6-1 195 Jr. Gilbert, Ariz. (Gilbert HS/Chandler-Gilbert [Ariz.] JC)
21 Bryan DixonRHP R/R 6-1 230 Fr. Mesquite, Texas (West Mesquite HS)
24 Brett EibnerOF/RHP R/R 6-3 190 Fr. Houston, Texas (The Woodlands HS)
15 Jake FullerOF L/R 6-2 200 Fr. Fayetteville, Ark. (Fayetteville HS)
9 Jacob HouseOF/1B L/L6-3 180 Fr. Mansfield, Texas (Timberview HS)
35 Kendall KorbalRHP R/R 6-6 205 Fr. Houston, Texas (Langham Creek HS)
25 Collin KuhnOF/INF R/R 5-11 185 Fr. Beaver Dam, Wis. (Beaver Dam HS)
8 Chase LeavittINF/OF L/R 5-11 185 Jr. St. George, Utah (Snow Canyon/Dixie JC/CC of Southern Nevada)
3 Scott LyonsINF R/R 6-0 180 Jr. Covina, Calif. (Charter Oak HS/CSNU/Mt. Antonio [Calif.] JC)
42 James Mahler RHP RHP 6-6 225 Fr. Salt Lake City, Utah (Jordan HS)
19 Greg Noble OF L/R 5-11 195 Fr. Benton, Ark. (Benton HS)
39 Gary Poynter RHP R/R 6-3 220 Jr. Flower Mound, Texas (Marcus HS/Weatherford [Texas] College)
38 Michael ShaddockRHP R/R 6-3190 Jr. Maumelle, Ark. (Central Arkansas Christian/UA-Fort Smith)
43 Houston SlempOF L/R 6-0 170 Fr. Tulsa, Okla. (Union HS)
33 Drew Smyly LHP L/L 6-3 180 Fr. Little Rock, Ark. (Central HS)
28 Cliff SpringstonLHP L/L 6-2 210 Jr. Lorena, Texas (Lorena HS/Baylor)
30 Justin WellsRHP R/R 5-11180 Jr. Bryant, Ark. (Bryant HS/Texarkana JC)
17 Andy Wilkins3B/1B L/R 6-2220 Fr. Broken Arrow, Okla. (Broken Arrow HS)
Mike Bolsinger, RHP, 6-2, 200, So. – McKinney, Texas/McKinney North HS/Grayson CC
Bolsinger joins the Razorbacks after one year on the mound at Grayson Community College where he posted a 6-1 record with a 2.93 ERA over 46 innings of work as a freshman … struck out 48 over 10 appearances and nine starts while issuing 24 walks … originally signed with Texas Tech out of McKinney North High School where he was coached by Brandon Milam … Bolsinger posted a 9-3 record with a 1.66 ERA and 116 strikeouts as a senior … was a 34th-round draft choice of the Cleveland Indians (1,031 overall) in the 2006 MLB Draft … pitched his way to a 7-2 record as a junior at North McKinney with a 2.30 ERA … played with Razorback teammates Jeff Nutt and Sean Jones on the Coppell Copperheads in the Texas Collegiate League during the summer of 2007 … finished with a 3-3 record and a 3.41 ERA in 34.1 innings.
Tim Carver, INF, 5-10,160 – Fayetteville, Ark./Fayetteville HS
Carver and high school teammate Jake Fuller continue a long line of hometown products under head coach Dave Van Horn … the slick-fielding shortstop helped Fayetteville to back-to-back state championships under head coach Vance Arnold … batted an impressive .412 during his senior campaign with three home runs, 27 RBI, 31 runs scored, 15 doubles and 12 stolen bases … as earned 7A all-state honors in 2007 … a junior in 2005 he hit .357 with a team-best 45 hits, 13 doubles and 32 runs scored.
Ryan Cisterna, C, 6-1, 195 – Gilbert, Ariz./Gilbert HS/Chandler-Gilbert CC
Cisterna is one of the best catch and throw backstops coming into college baseball in 2008 after an outstanding career under former Razorback Doyle Wilson at Chandler-Gilbert [Ariz.] Community College … hit .361 as a sophomore with nine doubles, two home runs, a .480 on-base percentage and 18 RBI in only 29 games … threw out 50 percent 15-of-30 would-be base stealers in 2007 … was coming off of Tommy John surgery in 2006 when he threw out four-of-21 attempted base stealers … his catch and throw times to second base range from 1.78 to 1.90 … batted .224 in limited action as a freshman … a 47th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals (1,391) in 2006 and a 46th round choice of the Washington Nationals (1,351) in 2007 … played high school ball at Gilbert [Ariz.] High School where he was a three-year letterman, missing most of his senior season after Tommy John surgery … earned first-team all-region and second-team All-State as a junior and was first-team all-region as a sophomore … ranked 16th on Baseball America’s top draft prospects in Arizona in 2007 … chose the Razorbacks over Miami (Fla.).
Bryan Dixon, RHP, 6-1, 230, Garland, Texas/West Mesquite HS
Dixon is a strong-armed and athletic right-hander out of West Mesquite High School … possesses a good fast ball (upper 80s) and a excellent slider … throws a lot of strikes … has a tremendous upside for the Razorbacks … was 3-7 as a senior in 2007 for a West Mesquite team that finished with a 7-16 record … Dixon led Texas 10-4A in strikeouts with 95 while ranking ninth in the state of Texas … recorded an impressive 1.53 ERA with 32 walks … also hit .417 as a senior … 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, 195, Houston, Texas/The Woodlands HS
Eibner comes to the Razorbacks as a two-way player with outstanding athletic ability and a tremendous arm … was a fourth-round draft pick of the Houston Astros (141) in the 2007 MLB Draft … the seventh-highest drafted player to come to a Division-I college in 2007-08 … ranked 24th on Baseball America’s list of top draft prospects in Texas … has great size at 6-3, 195 pounds and is developing good power at the plate and throws in the low-90s on the mound … batted .417 with six home runs, four doubles and 15 RBI … was even better on the mound with a 5-0 record, one save and a 2.80 ERA in 35 innings … fanned 58 while walking 24 … was a 15-5A first-team all-district outfielder in 2007 and named third-team 5A All-State by the TexasSports Writers Association … helped The Woodlands [Texas] High School capture the 2006 5A State Championship … hit .254 as a junior with three home runs and 18 runs scored … was 2-0 on the mound with a save and a 0.88 ERA … struck out 15 and walked six in 16 innings … brother, Drew, plays on the Arkansas men’s golf team.
Jake Fuller, OF, 6-2, 200, Fayetteville, Ark./Fayetteville HS
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, a strong arm and good speed … helped head coach Vance Arnold’s Purple Dogs to back-to-back state championships in 2006 and 2007 … earned an all-conference recognition as both a junior and senior and was a 7A All-State selection in 2007 … hit .418 (41 for 98) with two home runs, 11 doubles and 31 RBI as a senior … also drew 15 walks and swiped 17 baes in 2007 … batted .398 (37 for 93) while fanning only nine times in 116 plate appearances as a junior in 2006 … was recruited by Missouri, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Nebraska, Air Force and Oral Roberts.
Jacob House, OF/1B, 6-3, 180, Mansfield, Texas/Timberview HS
House is one of the more intriguing signees for the Hogs … 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 a three-time all-district selection, including first-team honors in 2006 (15-4A) and 2007 (4-5A) as well as a second-team in 2005 (15-4A) … was named to the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Second-Team Super Team following his senior year in 2007 … batted .425 (34 for-80) with seven doubles, five home runs and 30 RBI in 2007 … all four marks ranked second in district 4-5A … hit .496 (59 for 119) as a junior in 2006 with 16 doubles, four triples, four home runs and 40 RBI.
Kendall Korbal, RHP, 6-6, 205, Houston, Texas/Langham Creek HS
Korbal’s 6-foot, 6-inch frame combined with a smooth delivery could spell trouble for the SEC … the right-hander has a fastball that is already in the upper 80s … he mixes four pitches well with a tight slider, good curveball and a changeup with sink … did not allow a run in two appearances as a senior in 2007 before missing the remainder of the season with an injury … a second-team all-district 17-5A in 2006 for head coach Armando Sedeno … posted a 5-2 record with a 1.48 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 52 innings as a junior and 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, 185, Beaver Dam, Wis./Beaver Dam HS
Kuhn continues the Hogs’ pipeline from Wisconsin … the Beaver Dam infielder possesses outstanding potential and tremendous athletic ability … earned All-State and regional All-America honors by the American Baseball Coaches Association … has an outstanding bat and good speed … earned first-team All-State honors from the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association as a senior in 2007 … batted .534, which is the second-best average in Beaver Dam school history, with 26 runs scored, three doubles, three home runs, 24 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 21 games … was a second-team all-district 6 selection as a infielder in 2006 where he hit .438 with a home run and 16 RBI in 12 conference games while posting a .656 slugging percentage and a .578 on-base percentage … chose Arkansas over Minnesota and Wisconsin-Milwaukee … his high school coach Joe Loizzo told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “In my 30 years of coaching, he was probably the biggest impact player at Beaver Dam.”
Chase Leavitt, INF/OF, 5-11, 185, St. George, Utah/Snow Canyon HS/Dixie JC/CCSN
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 … a line-drive hitter with good speed … transferred to the Community College of Southern Nevada to continue his baseball career in 2007 and hit .332 (65 for 196) with 14 doubles, three triples, 37 RBI and 20 stolen bases … helped CCSN capture the Scenic West Athletic Conference Championship and was named first-team all-conference as a designated hitter … ranked No. 13 on Baseball America’s top draft prospects from Nevada … earned All-California collegiate League honors during the summer of 2007 playing for the Santa Maria Indians … turned in an outstanding prep career at Snow Canyon High School in St. George, Utah.
Scott Lyons, SS, 6-0, 180, Covina, Calif./Cal State Northridge/CC of Southern Nevada
Lyons faced the Razorbacks in 2006 as a member of the Cal State Northridge Matadors … one of the finest shortstops in California coming out of high school … played at Mt. Antonio Junior College in 2007 where he hit .456 (73 for 160) with 12 doubles, four triples a home run and 20 RBI … also scored 44 runs, drew 23 walks and was hit by 14 pitches in 42 games … garnered All-South Coast Conference honors … was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 36th round (1,099) of the 2007 MLB Draft … 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 in all 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 … played for the Chatham A’s in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2007, hitting .246 with a home run, three triples and 13 RBI.
James Mahler, RHP, 6-6, 225, Salt Lake City, Utah/Jordan HS
Mahler got his first taste of Razorback baseball at the 2006 Perfect Game showcase at Baum Stadium in June of 2006 … ranked No. 33 among the Perfect Game top 100 pitchers … is the son of former major-leaguer Mick Mahler and the nephew of former major-leaguer Rick Mahler … possesses a fastball in the upper 80s and an outstanding curveball … was a 42nd round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies (1,262) in the 2007 MLB Draft … ranked No. 6 on Baseball America’s list of top professional prospects from Utah … has a great pitchers body at 6-foot, 6-inches and 225 pounds … fanned 10-consecutive batters in a 2007 game against Alta, Utah, which is the second-most in state history … as s senior in 2007 he garnered second-team All-State honors while leading Jordan High School to a Utah 5A State Championship … earned second-team All-State and first-team all-region honors in 2006 after posting an 8-3 record with a 2.12 ERA.
Greg Noble, OF, 5-11, 195, Benton, Ark./Benton HS
Noble is considered one of the best athletes in the state of Arkansas … has excellent speed and makes consistent contact at the plate … earned 6A All-State and all-conference honors in 2007 … batted .426 (49 for 115) for Benton High School in 2006 with nine doubles, three triples, 40 runs scored and 20 RBI while swiping 12 bases … an outstanding student who earned All-State honors as a junior in 2006 and was named to the 5A-South All-Conference team in both 2005 and 2006 won the 2006 Gold Glove Award at Benton High School … also a 2006 All-State selection on the football field and a two-time all-conference selection.
Gary Poynter, RHP, 6-3, 225, Jr., Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus HS / Weatherford [Texas] College)
Poynter joined the Razorbacks in August right before the start of class … a two-time Major League Baseball draft pick … was selected in the 48th round of the 2005 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds (1,342) and went in the 39th round of the 2006 MLB Draft to the Texas Rangers (1,168) … originally committed to play at the University of Oklahoma for the 2008 season, but changed his mind in August and joined the Hogs … posted a 2-5 record in 2007 on a team that finished in the bottom half of the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference … went 7-3 as a freshman in 2006 at Weatherford with a 4.46 ERA and a team-high 64 strikeouts … finished fourth North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference in wins (7) and ninth in strikeouts (64) … was a JUCO All-Star Game selection after his freshman season at Weatherford … was a 2006 Texas Collegiate League All-Star as a member of the Weatherford Wranglers and played for the Wranglers again in the summer of 2007 … was an All-State, all-area, and District 8-5A co-MVP as a senior in 2005 at Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas.
Michael Shaddock, RHP, 6-3, 190, Jr., Maumelle, Ark./Central Arkansas Christian/UA-Fort Smith
Shaddock was a late addition to Arkansas’ 2008 class … the in-state product played at UA-Fort Smith for the last two seasons where he was a two-way starter for the Lions … the right-hander will concentrate on pitching for the Razorbacks … posted a 4-3 record with a 3.26 ERA and two saves in 19 appearances (two starts) for UA-Fort Smith as a sophomore in 2007 … 46 strikeouts and just 10 walks over 47 innings … also compiled a .337 batting average in 51 games in the field … earned AAA All-State honors at Central Arkansas Christian as a senior in 2005.
Houston Slemp, OF, 6-0, 170, Tulsa, Okla./Union HS
Slemp signed on with the Razorbacks in the spring of 2007 … an outstanding athlete who led Union High School in Tulsa, Okla., to back-to-back state championships in 2005 and 2006 … earned All-State honors in 2007 on both the baseball and football fields … a two-time Frontier Valley All-Conference selection … hit .378 with two home runs and 25 RBI as a senior in 2007 with 15 extra-base hits.
Drew Smyly, LHP, 6-3, 180, Little Rock, Ark./Central HS
Smyly is a left-handed pitcher out of Little Rock’s Central High School who is smart and poised on the mound … compiled a 3-1 record in 2007 with a 1.27 ERA before an injury derailed his senior season … 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 … set the Little Rock Central school records for wins (10) and strikeouts (118) … earned AAAAA All-State recognition and was selected to the Arkansas American Legion AAA All-Star game in the summer of 2006 … garnered 7A All-State honors as a senior … No. 16 on Baseball America’s list of top professional prospects in the state of Arkansas in 2007.
Cliff Springston, LHP, 6-3, 210, Jr., Lorena, Texas/Lorena HS/Baylor
Springston transfers into the Hogs’ program after two seasons at Baylor … the hard-throwing left-hander could be a key component on the Hogs’ pitching staff in 2007 … compiled a 3-3 record with a 6.92 ERA in 18 appearances as a sophomore at Baylor in 2007 … was 2-1 with a 6.39 ERA during his freshman season with the Bears … played for the Chatham A’s during the summer of 2007 with a 1-2 record and a 2.88 ERA … was ranked the No. 4 prospect in the Jayhawk Summer League by Baseball America in 2006 … first-team All-State and all-district as a senior at Lorena High School in 2005 … posted a 12-2 record with a 1.82 ERA and 121 strikeouts … was the district MVP and an All-State honoree as a junior in 2004 with a 11-2 record, a 0.90 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 66 innings.
Justin Wells, RHP, 5-11, 180, Bryant, Ark./Bryant HS/Texarkana JC
Wells is a talented in-state prospected who played for two season at Texarkana Junior College … a poised right-hander who could start or close … a polished hurler who pounds the zone with strikes … can throw all three pitches – fastball, slider and split-finger – for strikes … posted an impressive 10-1 record for Texarkana College in 2007 with a 2.25 ERA that ranked 43rd in the NJCAA … pitched 80 innings and struck out 73 while issuing just 20 walks in 14 starts … earned Region 14 East Zone All-Conference honors in 2007 … went 4-3 in 2006 as a freshman with the Bulldogs … posted a 3.26 ERA in 38.2 innings of work and fanned 28 on the year, while issuing just five walks.
Andy Wilkins, 3B, 6-2, 220, Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow
One of the premier high school hitters in the state of Oklahoma … a third basemen with pure power and hitting ability … drafted in the 25th round (770) of the 2007 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers … named a 2007 Louisville Slugger High School All-American … Baseball America ranks him as the No. 11 professional prospect in the state of Oklahoma and called him “the best high school hitter in the state” … hit an astonishing .538 (63 for 117) at Broken Arrow High School last season … collected 18 doubles, a triple, 12 home runs, 51 RBI and scored 52 runs … posted a .635 on-base percentage with the help of 25 walks while slugging 1.017 … received All-State honors from the Oklahoma High School Coaches Association … a pre-season Louisville Slugger High School All-American … batted .496 with a school record 17 home runs and 16 doubles at the largest high school in the state of Oklahoma in 2006 … 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.