VCU Baseball Welcomes 14 new Student-Athletes for the 2013 Season

RICHMOND, Va. – VCU Baseball Coach Paul Keyes and his staff announced the recruiting class for the 2013 season earlier today.

The class has 14 new student-athletes set to join the Rams in 2013, and is a mixture of both incoming freshman and transfers. There are five pitchers, two outfielders, two infielders, two catchers and three two players that will add depth and experience to VCU's roster.

"I think it's probably the deepest and best recruiting class we have had in quite a few years," said VCU Head Coach Paul Keyes. "It is pitching heavy, but we have also added speed, defense, and some left-handed hitting. All 14 of these athletes are not only quality student-athletes, but the type of people we want to represent our baseball program."

Here is more about each of the incoming student-athletes:

Hunter Absher, Pitcher
(Sussex Tech High School – Georgetown, Del.)
Absher was named by ESPN as a Pre-Season All-American, as well as being named by ESPN as one of the Top 20 Players in Delaware. He was selected to pitch in the Carpenter Cup, which is an all-star game for the best players in Delaware.

During his senior season, Absher, threw 34 innings, finished with a 4-2 record, striking out 39, and posted a 2.24 ERA. He was named Second Team All-Conference following his senior season.

Coach Keyes on Absher:
"Hunter is a very versatile pitcher that brings three quality pitches to the table. He caught the eye of our coaching staff early last summer because of his ability to throw strikes, and keep hitters off balance."

Cody Acker, Outfielder
(Blake High School – Silver Spring, Md.)
Acker was a four year varsity starter at Blake High School in Silver Spring, Md. As a senior he had a batting average of .465. Over his four year career, Acker, set the school record for hits, and went on to break nine other records at Blake.

The awards rolled in for Acker following his senior year. He was named First Team All-County, Second Team All-Met, and 4A East Player of the Year. Over his career, Acker, was named to the All-County team three times, as well as being named to the All-Met team twice.

Coach Keyes on Acker:
"Cody is a guy who fits our VCU style of play and ball park very well. He is a speedy outfielder, who can play all three outfield positions. He is a left-handed bat who can drive the ball into the gap for extra bases, but also can play the small ball game using his legs and speed to change the game."

Dan Black, Pitcher
(Cedar Crest High School - Lebanon, Pa.)

Black finished a strong senior year by pitching his high school team to a District Championship. For the season, the Lebanon, Pa. native finished with a perfect 8-0 record, 2.22 ERA in 55 innings. Black fanned 65 hitters in the spring of 2012. He garnered First Team All-League, All-Section, and All-County Awards following his senior campaign. 

Coach Keyes on Black:
"Dan was a highly sought after right-hander that has three pitches he can throw for strikes. He has a great body, with a 6-5 frame, with a lose arm, and a fastball that can reach 90 mph. [Black] reminds me a lot of VCU pitching greats Cody Eppley and Kyle Haynes."

Tyler Buckley, Pitcher
(Scranton High School/Lackawanna College – Scranton, Pa.)
Buckley spent last season at Lackawanna J
unior College in Pennsylvania. In 2012, he made 15 appearances throwing 78 innings. Buckley finished with a 10-1 record striking out 68, and had an ERA of only 1.84.  As Lackawanna College's number two pitcher, Buckley, helped lead the Falcons to the Junior College World Series last season.

Following the season, the Scranton, Pa. native was a Third Team All-American, Region XIX Division II First Team, and was runner-up in Player of the Year voting.

Coach Keyes on Buckley
"Tyler is a guy who brings a ton of experience to our program from a very good junior college. He is one of those guys that we expect to contribute right away. He has a fastball that will reach 92 mph, and has a slider that he can control in any count. Combine that with his bulldog personality, and we think that he is somebody who can be very successful here."

James Bunn, Outfielder
(The Pennington School – Princeton, N.J.)
Bunn was named an Under Armour Pre-Season All-American in 2012, as well as being named First Team All-State, All-Area, All-Region, and All-Prep after his junior and senior seasons. He holds the school record for career triples (12) at The Pennington School.

The Princeton, N.J. native finished the 2012 season with a .488 batting average. He hit six doubles, three triples while driving in 10 runs.

Coach Keyes on Bunn
"James is a very exciting and fast outfielder with a very high upside. He is a superb athlete that has earned All-State honors in both baseball and soccer. Both his speed and his power give him the ability to take over the game."

Michael Carpenter, Pitcher
(Cosby High School – Chesterfield, Va.)
Carpenter will add depth to the Rams pitching staff in 2013. The Chesterfield, Va. native helped lead Cosby High School to four Dominion District Championships, two Regional Championships, and two appearances in the Virginia State Tournament. He finished his senior season with a 3-1 record while picking up seven saves. Carpenter threw 29 innings this past spring; he struck out 37 batters while only walking 15, and finished with a 2.14 ERA.

Coach Keyes on Carpenter:
"Michael has a chance to come in and contribute for us as a freshman in a number of roles. He has the mentality and the stuff to pitch in the late innings or in a closer role. He possesses the command to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes, that will allow for him to be a starter, as well.

Tom Crimi, Infielder
(Lackawanna College – Nazareth, Pa.)
Crimi appeared in 39 games last season with Lackawanna Junior College. He finished the season hitting .362 with four doubles, three triples, scored 28 runs, and had 20 RBI's.

The Nazareth, Pa. native was named Second Team All-Region in 2012 at Lackawanna Community College.

Coach Keyes on Crimi:
"Tom is an infielder that can play numerous positions for us. He started at shortstop for his Junior College team that went to the World Series. His speed, versatility, and ability to hit from the left side gives us plenty of options coming into the spring."

Walker Haymaker, Catcher
(Dr. Phillips High School – Orlando, Fla.)

Haymaker is ranked as a Top 500 Prospect by Perfect Game. He was named an AP Scholar and was a member of the National English Honor Society at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando Fla. He played his travel ball for the Orlando Scorpions under Matt Gerber, the head coach.

The Orlando Fla. native hit .300 during his senior season, hitting 27 doubles, four homers, and 27 RBI's. He was named All-Metro, All-District, and All-County after his junior and senior seasons.

Coach Keyes on Haymaker:
"Walker comes to us from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, which has a great baseball tradition. He also has played for one of the best summer travel teams in the nation where he has caught some of the top picks in the draft. From a receiving and catching stand point he has a real knack for leading and handling a pitching staff. He also is very good offensive player, who has the approach at the plate and power to hit in the middle of our lineup early in his career."

Logan Kanuik, Pitcher
(Lackawanna College – Scranton, Pa.)
Kanuik spent last season with Lackawanna Junior College. He made 12 appearances for the Falcons and threw 55 innings in 2012. He finished the season with a 3.07 ERA and struck out 59 batters, and had a 7-1 record.

After the season he was named to the Second Team All-Region XIX.

Coach Keyes on Kaniuk
"Logan is a versatile left-handed pitcher, who we have seen up to 88 mph. His outstanding changeup and breaking ball will make him very valuable in a relief role this year, or as a starting pitcher."

Bryce Lee- Pitcher, Infielder, Outfielder
(Rappahannock Community College/Greenbrier Christian Academy – Chesapeake, Va.)
Lee will be a solid utility option for the Rams in 2013. He can play first base, the outfield, as well as pitch. Last season for Rappahannock Community college, Lee, appeared in 10 games for Rappahannock Community college. The Chesapeake, Va. native threw 61 innings, striking out 35 batters, and a 2.95 ERA. At the plate, the Chesapeake, Va. native finished with four doubles and 11 RBI.

Coach Keyes on Lee:
"Bryce is a talented two way player that comes to us from the local Rappahannock Community College. He has the ability and versatility to play both corner outfield positions, as well as first base. His ability to compete and throw strikes with three pitches will also prove valuable on the mound. "

Craig Lopez, Infielder/Pitcher
(Mountain View High School – Fredericksburg, Va.)

Lopez is a highly touted recruit out of Mountain View High School, he is ranked as the 180th best prospect in the nation while being sixth in the state of Virginia by Perfect Game. He was also ranked by ESPN Magazine as a Top 200 player in the graduating class of 2012.

The Fredericksburg, Va. native finished his senior season hitting .349. On the mound he threw 27 innings, striking out 51 batters, with an ERA of 1.27. Lopez was named his Mountain View High School's Team MVP, as well as being named to the All-District and All-Region teams.

Coach Keyes on Lopez:
"Craig is very interesting in the fact that he has registered as high as 93 mph on the gun this summer, and has a really high ceiling on the mound. I can see him pitching late in games for us, as he is very competitive and has a great slider. As a position player, he is very scrappy and can play third, shortstop, or second, so he gives us some flexibility. Overall he is just a gamer and a very good competitor. "

Trevor Marino- Infielder and Pitcher
(West Valley College/Leland – San Jose, Calif.)

Marino played in 37 games for West Valley College a season ago. He hit .304 with 18 RBI, 30 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases. Following the season he was named First Team All-Conference.

Coach Keyes on Marino:
"Trevor comes from a great program in West Valley College in California. He is a very smart player, that can play multiple positions. His ability to move around the infield and drive the baseball will prove very valuable for us this season."

Nick Octavi – Catcher
(Harford Junior College/Treasure Coast – Port St. Lucie Fla.)

Octavi will be a nice addition behind the plate, a position that graduate three seniors a year ago. He joins the Rams after spending the past two seasons at Harford Junior College in Maryland. Last season, Octavi, hit .277 with eight doubles, two triples, and 20 RBI.

The Port St. Lucie Fla. native was named the MD JUCO Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, and won the All MD JUCO Gold Glove. In his two years at Harford, Octavi, caught more than 100 games over two years, and caught four no-hitters. In 324 chances, the catcher, only made two errors for a fielding percentage of .994.

Coach Keyes on Octavi:
"Nick was one of the best defensive catchers in all of junior college baseball last year. He is a plus catch and throw guy who threw out 75% of base runners this season. His ability to handle a pitching staff, as well as, toughness behind the plate will be valuable this year with so many new pitchers in the program."

Michael Thomas, Outfielder/Pitcher
(Lee Davis High School – Mechanicsville, Va.)

Thomas is a local product out of Mechanicsville's Lee Davis High School. During his senior season, he hit .425 with six homers, and 28 RBI's. On the mound, Thomas, was equally impressive, he finished with a 7-2 record, with a microscopic 0.85 ERA.

Following the 2012 season, Thomas, was named First Team All-District (outfield and pitcher) and Second Team All-Region (outfield and pitcher).

Coach Keyes on Thomas:
"Michael is a local product that caught our eye in his sophomore season at Lee Davis. We believe Michael is one of the best high school hitters in the state of Virginia. He is also a very valuable two way player, who can see time on the mound with a left-handed fastball that can reach 90 mph."