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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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In his first year as head coach at McNeese, Justin Hill, left, made a lot of changes in the way things were done, getting a 30-28 record out of the Cowboys. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

In his first year as head coach at McNeese, Justin Hill, left, made a lot of changes in the way things were done, getting a 30-28 record out of the Cowboys. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Cowboys add seven recruits to baseball team

Last Modified: Sunday, July 06, 2014 2:49 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

Justin Hill put the finishing touches on his first full recruiting class Wednesday.

Hill, who took over the McNeese State baseball program last summer, signed seven players the school announced.

Six of those players are from the junior college ranks with four of them being pitchers.

“We are excited about the group we got,” said Hill. “We feel that we were able to address some needs we had and add some depth as well.”

When you add the numbers to those the Cowboys have already signed, McNeese will bring 13 newcomers into the program this fall.

“This group, along with the group that we signed in November, turned out to be a great class for us,” assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Cory Barton said in a university news release. “We addressed some needs on our roster and we have added some depth in a few areas as well. I think the biggest thing with this class is that we were able to target guys who will fit into what we want to do here.”

The late signees are Austin Briggs (Conroe, Texas), Tyler Day (Olathe, Kan.), Kris Molter (Jacksonville, Fla.), Ricky Ramirez (Deer Park, Texas), Lewis Guilbeau (Austin, Texas), Ethan Stremmel (Lake Jackson, Texas) and Garrett LaRosa (Long Beach, Miss.).

They join Joe Prevenzano (Downers Grove, Ill.), Bryce Packard (Houston, Texas), Harry Chairs (Kenner), Clay Brast (Houston, Texas), Austin Sanders (Olathe, Kan.) and Connor Crane (Parker, Colo.) who signed last fall.

Nine of the total will come from junior colleges.

“You are always looking for the high schoolers, but it comes down to getting the best player available,” Hill said Hill. “With the junior college kids you know at little bit more of what you are going to get. You have a pretty good idea with them who can come right in and compete on this level and contribute.

“With high school kids you get a chance to work with them for three or four years so it is different. It comes down to what you need and who you can get to fill your positions.”

For Hill that meant getting pitching depth.

“We really wanted to add some people on the mound,” he said. “It was one thing that we noticed last year, we could have used more arms at the end of the season. That was important to us.”

“On the mound all of the guys we will be bringing in have the ability to fill up the strike zone with quality pitches,” Barton said. “Position player wise we feel like we have added a nice blend of guys with power and some guys that can set the table and really defend.”

McNeese finished 30-28, including 17-13 in the Southland Conference, last year, marking the first time the Cowboys won at least 30 games in the last five seasons. They struggled down the stretch, losing five of their last six games in the regular season but did rally to win two games in the SLC tournament.

“We made some strides last year that we want to build on,” Hill said.

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