SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State baseball program has signed eight high school seniors to National Letters of Intent in the early signing period for the 2017-18 academic year, head coach Reggie Christiansen announced Wednesday.
"This time of the year is always an exciting one as we have an opportunity to highlight the last 18 months of work on the recruiting trail," said Christiansen. "I am very lucky to have great coaches on our staff that have all contributed to putting the 2019 recruiting class together. I want to personally thank Jake Angier, Tim Wheeler, and Tommy Nicholson (now an assistant at Stanford) for their hard work."
The group contains four position players and four pitchers. Four of the signees are Californians, including one from Elk Grove. Of the other four signees, one is from neighboring Nevada, two are from Canada (Saskatchewan and British Columbia), and the fourth comes from Dubai.
"We are fortunate to have a network of contacts throughout the world that have helped us with this year's recruiting class'" added Christiansen. "Our campus is one of the most diverse in all of California and we are excited to put a product on the field that mirrors that of our student body population."
Regardless of where they come from, all eight signees will come to Sacramento to play for a Sacramento State team that has the eighth most wins amongst Div. I programs in California over the last six seasons. Last season, the team won their second WAC Tournament and advanced to their second NCAA Regional under Christiansen after winning at least 30 games for the sixth straight season.
A lot of that success comes from finding not just the most talented student-athletes, but players that Christiansen and his staff believe will fit into the culture of the team, a culture centered around working hard and earning your way.
"Putting together a roster goes beyond the obvious of finding talented student-athletes," explained Christiansen of his team's success. "I believe we have built a culture where things must be worked for and earned. With this class, we aimed to identify recruits and families that understand that principle."
"The best players we have had in our program over the last seven years have checked those boxes. Only time will tell if this group is as good as I think they can be, but I do believe we got the other things we value right."
MEET THE SIGNEES
Evan Gibbons - INF/RHP - 6-0 - 170 - Franklin HS - Elk Grove, Calif.
Plays for coach Brian Kilby at Franklin HS…helped lead the 2017 squad to an 18-9-1 record and a 126th overall rank in the state of California…hit .325 with seven doubles and 21 RBIs while striking out just 28 times in eight games…on the mound, pitched to a 5-4 record with a 3.68 ERA…threw a team-high 53.1 innings…played summer ball with the Milwaukee Brewers scout team.
Coach Christiansen: "Evan is 85-87 with big-time competiveness and is a strike-thrower. He is also a terrific defender in the infield. We believe Evan will be another local product to make his mark in our program. Evan is an outstanding student and comes from a very supportive family."
Evan on why he chose Sacramento State: "I chose Sacramento State because it offers a Div. I baseball program that has seen a lot of success and its future looks even brighter. Equally important, the school offers me academic opportunities that will assist me in reaching my goals and help insure a successful future."
Travis Adams - RHP – 6-0- 180 - Palm Desert HS - Palm Desert, Calif.
Plays for coach Darol Salazar…pitched in a team-leading 17 games last season, posting an 0.98 ERA and a 6-1 record…his 43 innings pitched were second most on the team by a junior…struck out 35 and held opponents to a .263 average against…helped lead the 2017 Aztecs to a 23-8 record…were the 60th ranked team in the state.
Coach Christiansen: "Travis attends the same high school as former Hornet shortstop Scotty Burcham. Travis attended one of our prospect camps a few years back and was very impressive. He has a really good arm and when he makes a commitment to the weight room, he has a great chance to make an impact on our program."
Travis on why he chose Sacramento State: "I chose Sacramento State because they are a wining program and when I visited the campus the coaches made me feel right at home. I feel that their coaching staff will bring out the best in me. I'm also glad to have family nearby."
Dylan Ohlsen - INF - 6-0 - 200 - Chilliwack Secondary School/Abbotsford, BC
Plays for coach Corey Eckstein for both Chilliwack Secondary School and for the Abbotsford Cardinals of the British Columbia Premiere Baseball League (BCPBL)…led his team with eight home runs and 35 RBIs in 43 games…both of those numbers were the best in the BCPBL last season…Ohlsen hit .269 and drew 25 walks…participated in the 2014 BC Summer Games and the 2016 Canada Cup. He also participated on Scout Day at Tournament 12 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Coach Christiansen: "Dylan has a chance to be a middle of the order bat. He's very physical with a very high ceiling offensively, tremendous power. His parents were awesome throughout the recruiting process and there is no doubt in my mind that Dylan will be a great fit in our program."
Dylan on why he chose Sacramento State: "I chose Sacramento State because during my visit I liked the facilities, the campus, and the climate. I got a good feeling from the team and the coaches and felt that they would be able to help me improve my skills and take my game to the next level."
Jaden Lyburtus - OF - 6-0 - 195 - Righetti High School/Santa Maria, Calif.
Plays for coach Brian Tomooka at Righetti HS…plays for coach Daniel Martony with the Santana Barbara Foresters…primary position is centerfield…hit .366 for Righetti HS while posting a .505 on-base percentage…played 25 games with a Righetti Warriors team that was ranked 52nd in the state…represented the US in the 2015 Cuba Friendship Games…won the 2013 Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run competition held at City Field.
Coach Christiansen: "I watched Jaden this past summer at the Area Code tryouts in Santa Barbara and was impressed with his athleticism. Jaden is a plus runner and has a big-time arm. We are going to potentially lose four of our five outfielders this year to graduation and the MLB draft, so we expect Jaden to have an opportunity to play right away."
Jaden on why he chose Sacramento State: "I chose Sacramento State because of the overall feel of the school and program. After seeing the campus, meeting the staff, and hearing more about the program, I felt like it would be a great place for me to better my game and contribute to the fullest. One of my main goals is to win as many games as possible. I feel that I am ready for the next level and to help my team win."
Trevor Doyle - OF – 6-0- 185 - Cimarron-Memorial HS/Las Vegas, Nev.
Plays for coach Mike Hubel at Cimarron-Memorial HS…also plays for coach Marc Kligman for summer ball…hit .441 last season, best among Cimarron-Memorial full-time players…his 41 hits were also most on the squad…in three seasons on varsity, is a career .417 hitter…Doyle was named to the All-Sunset Division 2nd Team and the All-Northwest Division 1st Team.
Coach Christiansen: "We identified Trevor very early in the recruiting process and are very pleased to have him join our program even after he received attention from an ACC school. Trevor played in the Area Codes Games this past summer in Long Beach. He is a plus runner from the left side and, like Jaden, will have an opportunity to play right away in the outfield."
Trevor on why he chose Sacramento State: "I choose Sacramento State because of the culture. I loved the trees and greenery of the campus. During and after visiting the school I fell in love with the team, coaches, and everything about the program. The school's history of winning a lot of games was also a plus."
Connor Sparks - RHP - 6-5 - 195 - Marion M. Graham/Saskatoon, SK
Plays for coach Greg Brons at Marion M. Graham…matched a team-high with seven starts last season and threw a team-high 43.0 innings…posted a 5-2 record with a 1.46 ERA…at the plate, hit .424 (36-for-85) with 25 RBIs, second most on the club…participated in Scout Day at Tournament 12 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto…helped Saskatchewan win their first ever gold medal in the 2017 Canada Summer Games…collected two of the team's six hits in the win.
Coach Christiansen: "Connor is a 6-5 right-hander that reminds me of Phillies pitcher Jake Pivetta. He throws 87-90 with good angle and sink. On his official visit, our players were impressed with his level of maturity and how humble he was for a 16-year-old. I can't wait to get Connor on campus - he has major upside if he puts in the work."
Connor on why he chose Sacramento State: "When I was on my official visit, Sacramento State felt like the place for me. I could tell it was the kind of place where I would want to continue my baseball career and further my education."
Sean Fekete - RHP - 6-3 - 190 - The American School of Dubai/Dubai, UAE
Plays for coaches Sam Ruiz and Marcus Hallberg at the America School of Dubai…also plays for coach Steve Fish with the Perth Heat Colts as a part of the World Baseball Showcase…Fekete is the first member of the World Baseball Showcase from the Middle East to receive a baseball scholarship at the Div. I level.
Coach Christiansen: "I played college baseball with Sean's summer coach, Steve Fish. Sean is a tremendous athlete excelling in volleyball and basketball in addition to baseball. He throws 87-88 with a quality deception and he is only going to get better as he gets stronger. He is a physical kid and is very comparable to former Hornet Tyler Beardsley. His father has been great to work with throughout the process and we are very excited to have Sean become a part of our program."
Sean on why he chose Sacramento State: "I chose Sacramento State because the opportunity could not be turned down. Having the chance to get a higher-level education while playing baseball is a dream come true. Coach Christiansen has been an excellent coach in his tenure with Sacramento State. Leading them to numerous consecutive 30+ win seasons is extraordinary, so I knew that Coach Christiansen would be the coach that I was looking for. Most importantly, I really liked the feel of the campus and the atmosphere of Sacramento. As I spent my high school years in the Middle East, it was great seeing so much green and so many trees in the area and around campus."
Ryan Rodriguez - INF - 6-0 - 165 - Rancho Mirage HS/Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Plays shortstop for coach David Shaw at Rancho Mirage High School…in three varsity seasons, owns a career .308 batting average…as a junior, hit a career-best .392…his 22 games played were tied for most on the team…committed just three errors all season while playing every game at shortstop…also plays for coach Patrick Evans on the Desert Prospects.
Coach Christiansen: "Ryan attended one of our Prospect Camps and we were very impressed with his defense. He comes from the same summer program as former Hornet Scotty Burcham. We take pride in being able to play defense at a high level and believe Ryan will be a part of that continued success. As Ryan gets stronger, I believe he will also make an impact offensively. He reminds us a lot of Scotty Burcham at the same age."
Ryan on why he chose Sacramento State: "I chose Sacramento State baseball because it seems to me their expectations as a team and individuals grow every year. It takes dedication, hard work, and consistency to become a great player and that's exactly what I see in Sacramento's baseball team. I couldn't have missed out on the opportunity to be a Hornet. I am blessed to further my education and baseball career at Sacramento State."