EVANSVILLE, Ind.--Most baseball coaches believe in the old adage that you can never have enough pitching. University of Evansville head coach David Seifert is a firm believer in that statement and he proved that point during the summer recruiting season by landing five additional pitchers for the upcoming 2008 season.
Seifert announced the addition of high school pitchers Evan Blakeley (Dallas, Texas/Highland Park), Zach Taylor (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Carroll) and Curtis Hudson (Villa Park, Ill./Willowbrook) and junior college transfers Corey Davisson (Bakersfield, Calif./Bakersfield College) and Tom Heithoff (Carroll, Iowa/North Iowa Area CC) to his 2008 roster this afternoon. Among the group are a former Major League Baseball draftee, a 2007 NJCAA All-American, a pair of all-state pitchers, and an all-district ace from Texas.
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Blakeley, a 6’2 right-hander from Dallas, Texas, was one of the top pitchers in Texas this past year as a senior. He posted an 8-2 record and 1.86 ERA on the mound for Highland Park High School, while striking out 54 men in 49 innings of work. Blakeley earned first team all-district 10-4A honors as a senior, and helped the Scots go 33-10, including advancing to the Region II-4A finals.
“Evan’s story as a relative unknown his junior year in high school to a highly recruited prospect this summer is an almost unbelievable story,” said Seifert. “Coach Carroll worked many hours recruiting Evan, who is a potential weekend starter for us as a freshman. Evan’s fastball currently sits in the mid to upper 80s, he has a very good delivery with loose arm action and has a plus breaking ball that he will throw for strikes in any count.”
Taylor, a solidly built 6’5, 225-pound right-hander from Carroll High School in Ft. Wayne, chose playing baseball at Evansville over receiving full-ride offers for football as a quarterback. He went 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA on the mound last year for Carroll High School, while also hitting .390 and earning all-conference honors in the outfield. Taylor was an honorable mention all-state first baseman as a junior, and was an academic all-state pick in baseball, football, and basketball.
“Zach is an exceptional athlete,” said assistant coach Jacob Gill. “We are excited about Zach’s learning curve as he never had a chance to focus solely on baseball as a three-sport athlete in high school. He has already shown an upper 80s fastball with a solid change-up and his upside is much greater than that.”
Hudson, the lone left-hander in the group, was one of the Chicago area’s top strikeout pitchers this past year, striking out 104 men in just 64.1 innings of work. A consensus all-area pick and special mention all-state hurler, Hudson went 9-1 with a 1.52 ERA and three saves as the ace pitcher for Willowbrook High School. Hudson struck out 17 men in a game against Hinsdale Central this past year, and set school records for victories and strikeouts in a season as a senior.
“Curtis is a fiery competitor who is not afraid to challenge hitters with his fastball,” said Gill. “He has a college-level breaking ball and a developing change-up that will allow him to compete immediately in the Missouri Valley Conference. Curtis flew under the radar until his senior year and we’re thrilled to add a left-hander of his caliber so late in the recruiting process.”
Davisson transfers to UE from Bakersfield College in California and will have three years of eligibility remaining at Evansville. Davisson was drafted in the 40th round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft by the Boston Red Sox as a catcher, but will likely see time as a pitcher at UE. Davisson earned first-team all-league and all-area honors as a utility two-way star in high school at Bakersfield West High School and participated in the 2005 Team USA try-outs.
“Originally drafted out of high school as a catcher with a great arm, Corey is now a hard-nosed competitor on the mound with an upper 80s to low 90s fastball and a power slider,” said Seifert. “He is the son of a high school baseball coach and has a tremendous knowledge of the game. His stuff and mindset should place him in our closer’s role this season.”
Heithoff becomes the third NJCAA All-America selection to sign with UE in David Seifert’s three years at Evansville as both an assistant and head coach. Heithoff earned third team Division II All-America honors this past year as a sophomore at North Iowa Area Community College. He hit .406 with 17 doubles, five triples, and 12 home runs offensively as the Region XI Player of the Year, while also going 6-1 with a 3.15 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 45.2 innings of work on the mound. Heithoff is NIACC’s all-time winner in pitching victories with 11 over his two years in junior college.
“Tom is a very athletic two-way player,” said Seifert. “At 6’4, he played shortstop in junior college for awhile, but moved to first base to protect his arm. On the mound, he is a legit low 90s pitcher who throws strikes. He’ll flash a very good breaking ball and a solid change-up to keep hitters off-balance. We’re excited to help him develop in our program because the sky is the limit for him.”
Evansville returns 13 players from last season’s 35-23 squad. UE posted its third-straight 35-win season this past spring under Seifert’s direction.
- "Baseball Adds Five Arms To 2008 Roster," University of Evansville Athletics (Baseball) http://gopurpleaces.com/sport_front.asp?sportid=301, August 20, 2007 http://www.gopurpleaces.com/news/2007/11/9/BB_1109074718.aspx