Lions welcome latest recruiting class as fall practice set to open
Published 10:41 am Friday, September 24, 2021
Southeastern Louisiana University head baseball coach Matt Riser announced the program’s latest recruiting class Friday as the Lions prepare to kick off fall practice this weekend at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.
Riser welcomes 18 newcomers into the fold this fall. Eight of the program’s newest members hail from the high school ranks while two of the 10 transfers are from within the Southland Conference.
“First and foremost, we were trying to get more left-handed – both on the mound and offensively,” Riser said. “I think we addressed those needs properly. Coach [Tim] Donnelly, Coach [Andrew] Gipson and Coach Sal [Gerry Salisbury] did a fantastic job of putting together another solid recruiting class. There is some quantity in this, but there is also some really good quality. With all the COVID stuff, we’ve had a very good stretch in getting class balance back in order with a solid freshman class and transfers who can make an impact immediately.”
The newcomers will get their first full taste of Lion Baseball this weekend as fall practice begins Sunday.
Regular intrasquad scrimmages are slated for Tuesday and Thursday afternoons as well as either Fridays or Saturdays leading up to the annual Heart of a Lion Fall World Series in early November. Practices are free and open to the public.
SLU returns six of nine starters from the 2021 lineup as well as 55 percent of the innings thrown by the pitching staff.
2021 SLU BASEBALL RECRUITING CLASS
Ethan Butler | IF/C | FR | Baton Rouge, La. | University HS
Butler joins the program after playing baseball for coach Justin Morgan at University HS … Perfect Game Top 500 nationally and the No. 4-ranked catcher in the state of Louisiana … earned All-District honors twice … played travel ball for the Louisiana Knights and coach Jay Hodges.
Coach Riser on Butler – “He is a physical, right-handed bat that can play multiple positions for us. We’ve had a lot of success with guys out of U High because they’re tough-mentality kids and Ethan is from the same mold.”
Ethan Crayton | LHP | FR | Loranger, La. | Loranger HS
Crayton joins the program after playing baseball for coach Brian Corr at Loranger HS … Perfect Game Top 500 nationally and the No. 2- ranked LHP in the state of Louisiana … team captain for two seasons … hit .393 during his HS career, splitting time between the outfield and the mound … compiled a 4.22 career ERA, striking out 158 batters in just 93.0 IP … played travel ball for Elite Squad Gulf Coast and coach Brandon Efferson, one of the winningest pitchers in Southeastern Baseball history.
Coach Riser on Crayton – “He is a physical, left-handed pitcher and that was a position where we had a dire need. Adding a local product with his repertoire and competitiveness, Ethan has a chance to be a great one in our program.”
Michael Curry | C | FR | Brusly, La. | Brusly HS
Curry joins the program after playing baseball for coach Mike Forbes at Brusly HS … Perfect Game Top 1000 nationally and the No. 9-ranked catcher in the state of Louisiana … earned All-State, All-Region and All-District honors … District Gold Glove winner … participated in the LHSCA All-Star Game … also logged significant time on the mound … team captain as a senior.
Coach Riser on Curry – “He reminds us of Connor Manola – a veteran captain behind the dish. Michael does a really good job of controlling the running game and handling the pitching staff. He has an advanced approach at the plate, giving him a chance to be a veteran catcher in our program for many years.”
Adam Guth | LHP | FR | Lake Charles, La. | Barbe HS
Guth joins the program after playing baseball for coach Glen Cecchini at Barbe HS … Perfect Game Top 1000 nationally and the No. 3-ranked LHP in the state of Louisiana … fanned 15 batters in 1-0 shutout of Anacoco as a senior… tossed a perfect game against St. Louis Catholic HS as a sophomore … finished career with a 13-1 record.
Coach Riser on Guth – “A physical, left-handed pitcher out of Barbe H.S., he’s known for winning championships. Coming from a winning environment, along with his repertoire, gives him a chance to be a weekend starter by the time he leaves our program.”
Jake Johnson | OF | JR | Bullard, Texas | Tyler JC
Johnson joins the program after transferring from Tyler JC … appeared in 51 games during the 2021 season … earned All-Conference honors, slashing .341 / .493 / .543 with 20 doubles and five home runs … scored 57 runs and drove in another 50 … walked (52) more than twice as often as he struck out (25) … stole 29 bases … recorded 16 multi-hit performances, including a four-hit game against Bossier Parish CC (4/8) … smacked three doubles in a single game (4/2) against Coastal Bend CC … homered in both ends of a DH against Northeast Texas CC (3/28) … helped lead the Apaches to an NJCAA DIII National Championship … hit .353 (6-for-17) with two doubles, one homer, five runs scored and six RBIs during the national tournament … appeared in 20 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season … slashed .319 / .467 / .464 with eight doubles and one triple … scored 23 runs and drove in another 18 … walked (18) more often than he struck out (11) … stole eight bases … turned in five multi-hit performances, including a pair of four-hit games … went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and five RBIs against Paris JC (2/1) … appeared in 52 games during the 2019 season … slashed .256 / .354 / .387 with 17 doubles, one triple and one home run … stole 14 bases … turned in 10 multi-hit performances.
Coach Riser on Johnson – “Jake is a physical center fielder with gap-to-gap power. He comes from a winning program at Tyler J.C. Energy oozes out of his game.”
Lance Lauve | RHP | FR | Madisonville, La. | Holy Cross HS
Lauve joins the program after playing baseball for coach Andy Cannizaro at Holy Cross HS … Perfect Game Top 500 nationally and the No. 8-ranked RHP in the state of Louisiana … battled back from an injury senior year to throw a perfect game against John Curtis HS, striking out 12 batters in 7.0 IP … struck out 30 batters in 21.0 IP as a senior, compiling a 2.00 ERA … earned All-District and All-Academic honors … appeared in eight games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, starting five … compiled a 3-2 W-L record and a 1.87 ERA in 30.0 IP, walking six and striking out 31 batters … finished career with 113 strikeouts and 2.51 ERA in 122.0 IP with a 1.18 WHIP.
Coach Riser on Lauve – “Lance was an early commitment for us and did a great job of working back from an injury after his junior season. His repertoire gives him a chance to be a weekend starter late in his career.”
Pierce Leavengood | INF | JR | Snohomish, Wash. | Bellevue College
Leavengood joins the program after transferring from Bellevue College in Bellevue, Washington … appeared in 23 games during the 2021 season … slashed .333 / .453 / .587 with four doubles and five home runs … scored 21 runs and drove in another 24 … walked (14) more often than he struck out (12) … swiped six bags … homered twice and drove in eight runs during 13-8 win over Skagit Valley (May 28) … appeared in eight games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season … slashed .333 / .444 / .333 with three doubles … scored two runs and drove in another seven … stole one base.
Coach Riser on Leavengood – “He’s a big, physical, left-handed bat. We’re very fortunate to get a player the caliber of Pierce so late in the process. He will make an immediate impact offensively and in the field.”
Jay Long | LHP | JR | Stillwell, Kan. | Johnson County CC
Long joins the program after transferring from Johnson County CC … averaged 12.39 K/9 during his JUCO career … appeared in 13 games during the 2021 season, earning 10 starts … compiled a 7-1 W-L record and a 4.33 ERA in 52.0 IP … allowed just 39 hits and 23 walks, striking out 66 batters … earned honorable mention All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference East Division … held hitters to a .190 batting average, best among the starters … struck out a season-high 10 batters while allowing just two runs over the final eight innings in a 13-9 win over Garden City in the first round of the Eastern Sub-Regional Tournament (5/13) … earned NJCAA All-Academic second-team … selected honorable mention All-American by JUCO Baseball Blog following pandemic-shortened 2020 season … made seven appearances all in relief … was 1-0 with a save and an earned run average of 1.31, with 34 strikeouts in 20.2 innings of work … allowed just one hit and a run and struck out eight over a season-high 5.1 innings to earn the save in a 3-1 win over Ellsworth (2/16) … struck out a season-high nine batters in 4.1 innings of relief to earn the win in a 6-5 victory over Kirkwood (2/29) … earned JCCC student-athlete academic honors in the fall 2019 semester … earned NJCAA All-Academic Second-Team.
Coach Riser on Long – “Jay was one of our early targets last fall. We knew we needed left-handed pitching. He’s physical and comes from a winning program at Johnson County with a three-pitch repertoire. He has a chance to be in our weekend rotation this year.”
Ryan Peters | RHP | SO | Cypress, Texas | Sam Houston State
Peters joins the program after transferring from former Southland Conference foe Sam Houston State … appeared in 10 games as a freshman … made his collegiate debut at Southeastern (March 12), striking out the only batter he faced … recorded one save, May 21, at Nicholls … compiled an 8.03 ERA across 12.1 innings pitched, walking four and striking out 10 batters … allowed 16 hits as batters hit .327 against the right-hander … logged scoreless outings against Southeastern, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, New Orleans, McNeese, Stephen F. Austin and Abilene Christian.
Coach Riser on Peters – “Ryan is a physical, right-handed pitcher that has been up to 95 mph. He’s transferring in after a year at Sam Houston. He fell in love with our place and wanted to be here. We always win with guys that have that type of ability and that kind of mentality.”
Alex Potter | RHP | JR | Parker, Colo. | Northeast CC
Potter joins the program after transferring from Northeast CC in Norfolk, Nebraska … averaged 12.26 K/9 during his JUCO career … appeared in 12 games during the 2021 season … compiled a 4-0 W-L record, five saves and a 1.52 ERA in 23.2 IP … allowed 13 hits and 12 walks, striking out 41 batters … earned DII JUCO All-America honors … did not play during pandemic-shortened 2020 season … named Third Team NJCAA All-Academic and Second Team Academic All-Region … made 26 appearances on the mound during the 2019 season … recorded a 2-2 W-L record, 12 saves and a 1.39 ERA in 45.1 innings … allowed 30 hits and 24 walks, striking out 53 batters … a member of the NJCAA DII Baseball World Series team.
Coach Riser on Potter – “Alex was a JC All-American in the closer’s role at Northeast, a program that has won a lot in the last couple of years. He was a big part of that and will be a big part of our bullpen, an area where w lost a lot of arms after last year.”
Reid Reynolds | RHP | JR | Heidelberg, Miss. | Pearl River CC
Reynolds joins the program after transferring from Pearl River CC … appeared in 12 games, starting two during the 2021 season … compiled a 3-0 W-L record and a 4.65 ERA in 31.0 IP … tossed one complete game … allowed 27 hits and 12 walks, striking out 27 batters … appeared in two games, starting one during the 2020 pandemic-shortened season … struck out five batters in 5.0 IP with a 1.80 ERA … logged 15 appearances during the 2019 season, earning six starts … compiled a 5-1 W-L record, one save and a 2.87 ERA in 47.0 IP as a freshman … tossed one complete game … allowed 46 hits and 14 walks, striking out 31 batters … helped PRCC squad advance to the NJCAA Division II World Series in Enid, Oklahoma.
Coach Riser on Reynolds – “He’s a big-energy arm with a sinker. Reid can come in and get outs over multiple days. He had a lot of success at a very prestigious Pearl River program.”
Hayden Robb | RHP | JR | Vancleave, Miss. | Gulf Coast CC
Robb joins the program after transferring from Mississippi Gulf Coast CC … averaged 10.09 K/9 during his JUCO career … appeared in 11 games during the 2021 season, starting five … compiled a 3-4 W-L record and a 3.81 ERA in 52.0 IP … allowed 59 hits and 16 walks, striking out 52 batters … honorable mention for All-Conference honors … earned wins against East Central CC, East Mississippi CC and Southwest Mississippi CC … made three appearances on the mound in 2020, going 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 14.0 IP … struck out 10 batters in 6 innings of three-hit, shutout work in a 6-0 win over Nunez … redshirted in 2019.
Coach Riser on Robb – “Hayden is big, physical right-hander we identified in the early signing period. His fastball has been up to 94 mph and has some serious life. He compares very favorably to Tate Scioneaux, who obviously was a very good arm in our program. Hayden could be a starter or a back-end guy for us, but will be a huge piece no matter his role.”
TJ Salvaggio | INF | FR | Slidell, La. | Northshore HS
Salvaggio joins the program after playing baseball for coach Glenn Rivero at Northshore HS … three-time district champ … District MVP as a senior … hit .420 with 13 doubles, two triples, one home run, 21 runs scored, 21 RBIs and nine stolen bases … tied for the parish lead in doubles … also earned All-Metro and All-Parish honors.
Coach Riser on Salvaggio – “TJ is a long, athletic infielder. He has a lot of success with his athleticism at Northshore H.S. He has a chance to really grow his tools as the years go along and he grows into his frame.”
Jacob Scherer | RHP | JR | Mandeville, La. | Pearl River CC
Scherer joins the program after transferring from Pearl River CC … NJCAA Academic All-American … PRCC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year … earned MACC Distinguished All-State honors … averaged 9.94 K/9 during his JUCO career … appeared in 12 games during the 2021 season, starting eight … compiled a 7-2 W-L record and a 6.28 ERA in 28.2 IP … allowed 34 hits and 19 walks, striking out 33 batters … earned wins against Mississippi Gulf Coast CC (2/7), Southwest Mississippi CC (2/23), Northwest Mississippi CC (3/3), East Mississippi CC (3/20), Itawamba CC (4/7), Southwest Mississippi (4/15) and Northeast Mississippi CC (4/25) … appeared in four games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, earning the start in each … compiled a 1-2 W-L record and a 2.33 ERA in 19.1 IP … allowed nine hits and 12 walks, striking out 20 batters.
Coach Riser on Scherer – “A local product who was at Pearl River C.C., he had a great COVID freshman year. Jacob is a four-pitch guy that knows how to win at all levels.”
Logan Shurden | INF | FR | West Monroe, La. | West Monroe HS
Shurden joins the program after playing baseball for coach Wade Simoneaux at West Monroe HS … Perfect Game Top 1000 nationally and a preseason All-American as a senior … earned All-Region, All-District and LHSAA All-Academic honors after hitting .359 … helped lead the Rebels to the state title game … hit .366 during his career … played travel ball for the Louisiana Knights and coach Jay Hodges.
Coach Riser on Shurden – “An electric infielder with a great glove and left-handed bat, Logan is a top-of-the-order kind of guy. He has decent speed and compares favorably to Cody Grosse.”
Shea Thomas | IF | SO | Olympia, Wash. | Edmonds College
Thomas joins the program after transferring from Edmonds College in Lynnwood, Washington … appeared in 32 games during the 2021 season … earned All-Conference honors and was named the Snohomish County Collegiate Athlete of the Year … slashed .360 / .474 / .523 with 10 doubles, one triple and a pair of home runs … scored 25 runs and drove in another 21 … drew 21 walks in 136 total plate appearances … produced multiple hits in 13 games, including three 3-hit performances … drove in multiple runs five times, including a season-high three RBIs twice … appeared in 10 games as a freshman during pandemic-shortened 2020 season … slashed .167 / .355 / .292 with one double and one triple … scored two runs and drove in another two.
Coach Riser on Thomas – “He’s a long-levered, 6-foot-3 shortstop who can play anywhere on the infield. Shea has a great presence in the box with an ability to hit for average and power. He is another player overlooked because of COVID that we were fortunate to get late in the recruiting process. She will be a big piece for us in the spring.”
Tristan Welch | OF | GR | Baton Rouge, La. | Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Welch joins the program after transferring from Southland Conference foe Texas A&M-Corpus Christi … appeared in 50 games during the 2021 season, starting 48 … slashed .236 / .309 / .308 with six doubles and two home runs … scored 22 runs and drove in another 19 … picked up five stolen bases … turned in three-hit performances against Sam Houston, Central Arkansas and SLU … homered against McNeese and Stephen F. Austin … appeared in all 18 games during pandemic-shortened 2020 season, making 16 starts … slashed .269 / .448 / .310 with two doubles, two triples and two home runs … scored seven runs and drove in another seven … drew three walks and was hit by one pitch … was 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and a walk at HBU (3/10) … went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple against UIW (3/8) … hit a home run at Texas A&M (3/3) … hit his first home run of the season against Missouri (2/23) … had 23 putouts on the year with no errors … played two seasons at LSU Eunice after redshirting in 2017 … team captain appeared in 53 games as a redshirt sophomore during the 2019 season … slashed .380 / .571 / .459 with 18 doubles, one triple and five home runs … scored 57 runs and drove in another 73 … drew 27 walks and was hit by eight pitches, striking out 33 times … produce 10 sacrifice flies … stole 22 bases … appeared in 42 games during the 2018 season … slashed .318 / .533 / .423 with nine doubles, four triples and two home runs … scored 27 runs and drove in another 21 … stole four bases.
Coach Riser on Welch – “Tristan is a grad transfer who knows our league very well. He is a local product that is ready to compete in the outfield to help us win a championship. An advanced approach at the plate with the chance to tap into some power, he will help us be even deeper in the outfield.”
Andrew Yuratich | RHP | FR | Livingston, La. | Doyle HS
Yuratich joins the program after playing both basketball and baseball at Doyle HS … helped coach Tim Beatty lead the Tigers to the state title game … compiled a 10-4 W-L record with three saves and 0.61 ERA in 80.0 IP as a senior, striking out 121 batters … earned All-State, All-Metro and All-District honors … threw a perfect game against Loranger in season debut … helped lead Doyle to a 29-9 record … played in the LHSCA All-Star Game … once struck out 17 in a single game.
Coach Riser on Yuratich – “An athletic, right-handed arm at 6-foot-2, he has good life on his fastball with a plus-plus offering on his off-speed pitches. Andrew can really spin the ball well. As he grows into his frame, he has a chance to be a premier arm in our program for years to come.”
DIAMOND CLUB / S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the baseball program are encouraged to join the Diamond Club. Lion baseball alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letter winners.
All membership fees and donations to both the Diamond Club and S Club (baseball) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern baseball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at email@example.com or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.
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