UT MARTIN BASEBALL ADDS ELEVEN PLAYERS IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
November 16, 2016
MARTIN, Tenn. – University of Tennessee at Martin baseball coach Rick Robinson has announced the addition of 11 players to the program’s 2017 recruiting class during the early signing period. The Skyhawks have announced the additions of William Woods, Jacob Jones, Blake Davis, Nick Wohlbold, Ethan Whitley, Austin Buzick, Austen Bullington, Casey Harford, Billy Edwards, Samuel Donato and Brian Baxa.
“Each year we try to find players that fit the parameters to be a UTM Skyhawk baseball player and this year each of the 11 young men are a perfect fit for our program,” said Robinson. “Each will have an opportunity and we expect them to contribute to the success of our program in the first year. Coach Rick Guarno, Jason Stowers and Geoff Murphy did an outstanding job identifying and recruiting these players that will make our program better right away.”
William Woods – RHP, 6-3, 195, Fr., Trenton, Tenn. (Peabody High School)
Woods comes to UT Martin by way of Peabody High School where he was an integral part of the Golden Tide’s recent success. The Trenton, Tenn. native helped lead Peabody to district championships in 2014 and 2015, while also guiding his squad to a regional title in 2015. Woods has been selected to the Jackson Sun All-West Team for two consecutive years, as well as being named to the 14A All-District first team in 2016 and the second team in 2015.
Jacob Jones – RHP, 6-2, 190, Fr., Bolivar, Tenn. (McNairy Central High School)
Jones makes his way to UT Martin out of McNairy Central High School, where he was the leader of the Bobcat pitching staff for head coach Brian Franks. During his time at McNairy Central, the Bolivar, Tenn. native received team accolades such as the Bobcat Award and also the Perfect Game Award. During his time as a Bobcat, Jones has held hitters to a .229 average, notching 101 strikeouts in 25 career appearances.
Blake Davis – C, 6-0, Fr., 195, Crandall, Ga. (North Murray High School)
Davis joins UT Martin out of North Murray High School, where he was the clear leader for the Mountaineers. The right handed catcher has racked up accolades throughout his time with North Murray, including 2015 and 2016 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention. The Crandall, Ga. native was also selected to the 16U WWBA All-Tournament Team in 2015 during his time with the Exposure summer team.
Nick Wohlbold – INF, 6-1, 185, Fr., Columbia, Mo. (Rock Bridge High School)
Wohlbold comes to UT Martin out of Rock Bridge High School, where he helped lead the Bruins to the 2014 state championship. The Columbia, Mo. native has been a key part of the district championships won by Rock Bridge in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In addition to their team successes, Wohlbold racked up several individual accolades, including first team all-district in 2015 and 2016, as well as 2016 Perfect Game Preseason All-American.
Ethan Whitley – INF, 6-1, 185, Fr., Mason, Tenn. (Covington High School)
Whitley joins the Skyhawks from Covington High School, where he excelled on and off the field. Throughout his time with the Chargers, Whitely has compiled three consecutive 15AA First Team All-District selections as well being named to the TBCA Region 7 & 8 Showcase Team his sophomore and junior seasons. In the classroom, Whitley has maintained a leadership position with the National Honors Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and was chosen to represent his school at the annual Tennessee American Legion Boys State.
Austin Buzick – RHP, 6-2, 230, Jr., Granite City, Ill. (Kaskaskia College)
Buzick joins UT Martin from Kaskaskia College, where he was a standout under head coach Mitch Koester. He appeared in eight games last season for the Blue Devils, earning a 2-1 record. The hard-throwing righty held opposing hitters to a .267 average over 26.1 innings pitched while racking up 23 strikeouts for Kaskaskia. In his two wins, Buzick’s ERA was just 2.16 while averaging 9.72 strikeouts per nine innings.
Austen Bullington – RHP, 6-2, 190, Jr., Newburgh, Ind. (Wabash Valley College)
Bullington joins the Skyhawks out of Wabash Valley College under the direction of head coach Rob Fournier. The Newburgh, Ind. native averaged over a strikeout per inning in relief for the Warriors. During 2014-2015 while at Castle High School, Bullington struck out 40 batters while holding opposing hitters to just a .195 average in 41 appearances. His 1.71 ERA was one of the best among his team as he was a dominant force out of the bullpen.
Casey Harford – INF, 5-11, 165, Fr., Cordova, Tenn. (Harding Academy)
Harford joins the Skyhawks as a highly touted infielder out of Harding Academy. The Cordova, Tenn. native has accumulated many awards during his time with Lions, including 2016 TSSAA second team all-state. He won team awards such as the 2016 Gold Glove Award and 2016 Best Defensive Player at Harding Academy. In addition, he has been chosen for the TSSAA all-district team, All-Region Team for Region 8, and the 2015 Best of Preps All-Metro Team.
Billy Edwards – INF, 5-9, 165, Fr., Lakeland, Tenn. (Evangelical Christian School)
Edwards is a switch-hitting middle infielder out of Evangelical Christian School, where he was a standout performer for the Eagles. During his time with Evangelical Christian, Edwards showed his versatility defensively as he was called upon to play multiple positions. The Lakeland, Tenn. native spent time playing shortstop, second base, and third base with the Eagles as the UT Martin coaching staff hopes to capitalize on that versatility during Edwards’ time as a Skyhawk.
Samuel Donato – RHP, 6-2, 165, Fr., Franklin, Tenn. (Father Ryan High School)
Donato makes his way to UT Martin out of Father Ryan High School where he was an essential part of the Fighting Irish pitching staff. Donato was named 2016 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention as well as the 2016 Perfect Game WWBA All-Tournament Team. In addition, Donato was selected to the 2016 Prep Baseball Report Class of 2017 Winter Standouts Hotlist.
Brian Baxa – RHP, 6-2, 225, Fr., Danville, Ky. (Danville High School)
Baxa joins UT Martin from Danville High School where he racked up several accolades including 2016 second-team all-state and 2016 All-Area Pitcher of the Year in his region. Baxa helped lead the Admirals to the 2014 District Championship in which he was named to the All-District team, which sparked a run of three consecutive years being selected for that award. Baxa has also made an appearance on the 45th District of Kentucky All-Tournament Team each season from 2014-2016.