Baseball Signs Nine
Baseball Signs Nine
Early Signing Successful for Owls
Nov. 10, 2006
BOCA RATON, FL - Nine baseball players have signed with Florida Atlantic University in the early signing period announced Kevin Cooney, FAU's head coach and recruiting coordinator John McCormack, Friday.
"I think this is a real good class," said Cooney. " We will loose a lot of players at the conclusion of the 2007 season. We needed a strong class and we were able to accomplish that. We addressed the needs especially on the pitching staff. This class has a nice mix of real talented junior college and high school pitchers."
In keeping with their philosophy of recruiting local talent, seven of the nine players hail from Palm Beach and Broward Counties. The remaining two come from Colorado and New Jersey.
Mike Gipson compiled an 11-1 record with a 1.01 ERA at Palm Beach Central High School. He has received All-County and All-Area recognition while guiding the team to its third district championship in the last three seasons.
"Mike is one of the most polished young pitchers in the state," said McCormack. "He will make an impact on this team with his ability and attitude. He is a winner and has won championships at every level. We are excited that he will be here next year."
Over the summer, Gipson played for the All-American Prospects and won the World Wood Bat Championships. The right-handed pitcher posted a 4-0 record during the run.
Another pitcher from Palm Beach County, and pitching for Doug Ferguson at Jupiter High School, Dan Marcacci earned All-Conference Honorable Mention after posting a 7-0 record and 52 strikeouts in 42 innings. He played summer ball for the Florida Magic and in the fall for the Jupiter High Fall Team.
"Dan is a pitcher's pitcher," said McCormack. "He has a very good understanding of how to pitch and what it takes to get guys out. He will blossom into a front-line guy. I look forward to watching his progression."
Anthony Rizzo plays high school baseball at Majory-Stoneman Douglas High School for Dean Florio and was named a Puma All-American and a Second-Team AFLAC All-American last season. The first baseman played summer ball for the ABD Bulldogs under Mike Speirs. He will join his brother John Rizzo, who is a member of the FAU football team, at FAU.
"Anthony is a big, strong, physical player that has as much power as anyone in the country," said McCormack. "I also like the way he handles himself around the bag. I am excited that he will be here next year."
From St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Glen Troyanowski is one of six pitchers to sign this week. In his junior season, the right-hander finished with a 1.42 ERA in 19 2/3 innings and finished with a 3-2 record and added a save. He struck out 19 with a season-high five strikeouts against Chaminade-Madonna and Nova.
"Glen is a pitcher with a bright future," said McCormack. "As he matures physically he will become a dominant guy. With his work ethic and natural talent he will be an asset to the staff."
Troyanowski received Honorable Mention All-County honors as a junior before playing for the X Team where he pitched against Team USA, the 2006 Youth National Team and won the Pan Am Championships by not allowing the US Champs to score.
Making his way to South Florida from Englewood, CO, Adam Morrison is the lone left-handed pitcher to sign this week. The Cheery Creek High School player finished with a 5-4 record and one save in 60 innings last year. He compiled a 2.83 ERA on the way to being named All-State. He also earned the privilege of playing in the Senior Top 40 All-Star game at Coors Field.
"Adam is a left-handed pitcher that brings a wealth of experience to the staff," said McCormack. "He is a versatile pitcher and will help us tremendously going forward."
Two junior college players also signed from Broward Community College where they were coached by Norberto Lopez's, a current assistant coach at FAU. Nick Criaris was a catcher for the state champions last season and hit .342 with 11 doubles, three home runs and 33 RBI.
"Nick is a prototypical catcher. He can catch, throw and hit," said McCormack. "He will be an asset to the pitching staff and will become a force in our lineup. He will make us a better team."
Criaris hails from Jersey City, NJ where he played for Joe Urbanovich at St. Peter's Prep. While in high school he earned All-State and All-County honors after posting a .477 batting average with five home runs and 25 RBI. After the season he was drafted in the 18th round by the Boston Red Sox.
Outfielder Rian Kiniry stayed close to home to play at BCC where he had an outstanding season last year. The Davie, FL native hit .366 with 11 doubles, six triples and stole 12 bases and was named to the All-State Tournament Team.
"Rian is one of the best athletes I have ever seen in a baseball uniform," said McCormack. "He won a state title as a high school cornerback and was a wrestler. He has become a great baseball player. Rian works hard and loves to play."
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have taken a look at Kiniry and selected him twice in the Major League Draft. In 2005 he was selected in the 40th round and moved up to the 39th round in 2006.
Chris Schmitt attended Atlantic Community High School before playing at Daytona Beach Community College. The right-handed pitcher finished with a 5-2 record and 42 strikeouts in 56 innings last season. His 3.85 ERA was indicative of the .220 batting average opponents held against him. Last season the team won the Mid-Florida Conference under Tim Touma.
"Chris has matured into a dominant college pitcher," said McCormack. "I remember him from high school and the work that he has put in at Daytona Beach Community College is outstanding. We are excited to have a young man with his drive and commitment."
Currently attending Palm Beach Community College, Stephen Vento is a right-handed pitcher that was selected by the Minnesota Twins in last year's draft. He has ties to the program as his brother-in-law, Tommy Murphy, played at FAU from 1998-00.
"Steven is a very good pitcher that has a tremendous work ethic," said McCormack. "We will count on him to be one of the leaders on our pitching staff."
The 2007 FAU baseball team will open the season on February 2 against Mississippi Valley State in a three-game series.