Eight Men In
LAWRENCEVILLE-The Rider University baseball program has signed eight recruits for the 2012 season, Rider head coach Barry Davis announced.
"This class fills a lot of areas," said Davis, who led Rider to the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2010. "We are losing a great amount of production in our graduating class so this is a very important group. If you look at the areas of need, we have made an attempt to fill those needs with guys who can potentially be starters early in their careers. They are all athletic, show a great work ethic, and have good baseball skills. It will be our job to develop it so they reach their potential. This class will be measured and assessed quickly."
From New Jersey, the Broncs signed Greg Fazio of Far Hills (Ridge) and Eric Strano of Robbinsville to national letters of intent.
Fazio is an infielder who collected 26 hits in 22 games as a senior. "Greg has tremendous potential and will have an opportunity to step in as a starting middle infielder from day one," Davis said. "He shows above average arm strength, good hands and the ability to be a good college hitter."
Strano is a catcher who earned Second Team All-Colonial Valley Conference honors, leading his team to the State semifinals (.364 batting average) while earning American Legion All-Star honors (.425 batting average). "Eric has tremendous ability from behind the plate," Davis said. "A plus arm and above average defensive skills. Offensively he will be a productive hitter. He will challenge for a starting position as a freshman as he adds quality depth in a very important position."
From Pennsylvania, Rider landed David Hafer of Pine Grove, Eric Thomas of Dallastown, Kurt Sowa of Bensalem (Father Judge) and Justin Thomas of Richboro (Council Rock South).
Hafer is a left-handed pitcher who earned Second Team All-Area (98 K in 58 innings, 2.88 e.r.a.). "David is a great addition to our staff," Davis said. "He shows plus command of his fast ball and breaking ball. He will challenge for time early in his career."
Sowa is a right-handed pitcher (11-4, 2.92 e.r.a. for Big Leagues Academy). "Kurt has all of the physical tools to pitch at this level," Davis said. " Size, velocity and a plus breaking ball. He is very athletic and will be a great fit on our staff."
Eric Thomas is a left-handed pitcher (27 K in 21 innings). "Eric has tremendous upside," Davis said. "During the recruiting process, Eric made great strides in his development as a pitcher. We expect him to keep making these gains. He has a chance to be a solid contributor as a freshman."
Justin Thomas is an infielder who earned First Team All-Suburban One honors (.425 batting average). "Justin has unlimited potential and is just starting to realize he can be a high level player," Davis said. "A very good offensive player from a solid high school baseball program, he will push for playing time at either first or third base."
The Broncs also added Mike Parsons of Liverpool, NY and Zach Mawson of Magnolia, Delaware (Caesar Rodney).
Parson is an infielder who earned First Team All-CNY, First Team All-League and Sixth Team All-State (.429 batting average) honors. "Mike is a versatile player," Davis said. "He can play all three infield positions. He's a solid hitter with above average speed. He will have a chance to start from day one."
Mawson is a left-handed pitcher who earned First Team All-Conference honors (65K in 44 innings, 2.40 e.r.a.). "Zach has many of the qualities we look for in a pitcher," Davis said. "He is athletic, has command of three pitches, good velocity, game toughness."
Rider won the 2008 and 2010 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships and will host the 2011 MAAC Championships at Trenton's Waterfront Park.