Dec. 11, 2013
BEAUMONT - Head coach Jim Gilligan went national with his recruiting this season, and it has paid off as six players are set to join the program for the 2015 campaign after signing National Letters of Intent in the NCAA Early Signing Period.
Two of the Cardinal newcomers will hail from Gilligan's home state of New York as both C.J. Moore and Brennan Strovink joined out of Brooklyn and Rocky Point, respectively. Moore, who stars in both football and baseball for Suffield Academy in Connecticut, hit .428 with 20 runs batted in and 15 steals as a junior, earning a spot on the All-New England First Team.
Not to be outdone, Strovink was also a two-sport star, taking home all-league honors in both baseball and wrestling. The 6-foot-3 first baseman hit .380 last season with six home runs to garner a reputation as one of Long Island's top high school players, as selected by Blue Chip Prospects.
"I went up to a Perfect Game USA workout up in Staten Island with probably 300 ball players, and only two really stood out for me. Fortunately, we were able to sign them both," revealed Gilligan. "C.J. is a great athlete who can run, throw and hit, and I think he's going to be a major impact guy as a freshman. Brennan is a big, strong left-handed hitter, and he's going to come in and give us a lot of power. He's an unbelievable athlete."
On the other side of the country, Gilligan turned to Arizona once again, looking to repeat the successes he had with recent graduate and Chicago White Sox draftee Darian Johnson. Brendan Satran, a Phoenix native, is set to join after standout first season at Paradise Valley Community College, where he hit .290 for the year and upped it to .354 in conference games. As a senior in high school the 6-foot outfielder hit .425 with a school-six triples and 22 stolen bases. A two-time all-state selection, he also owns the school record for steals in a season, registering 38 with a .472 batting average as a junior.
"We've done pretty well with everybody that we've had come here from Arizona," Gilligan said. "We're batting pretty close to 1.000 from that state, and I think Brendan is going to keep that going. He's another strong kid, but he has a lot of speed. He's one of the few guys I've had who will be entering our program with a green light to run whenever he wants."
However, as has been the case for much of his time at Lamar, Gilligan looked to Texas to round out his final signees. Ryan Erickson is set to join from nearby Lumberton High School, and the duo of Brewer Money and Jake Nash will transfer in from Paris Junior College and Vernon College, respectively.
Money, a 6-foot-4 right-hander out of Rockwall, made eight appearances out of the bullpen for the Dragons this past spring, posting a 2-0 record with 1.53 earned run average and 11 strikeouts over 17.2 innings of work.
"Money comes from a baseball family, and you can really tell it's in his blood," Gilligan said. "The only adjustments that we'll need to make with him will probably only be tweaks. He's very knowledgeable about the game, and he's going to step in and help right away. We couldn't pass him up."
Following an outstanding prep career, Nash picked up where he left off in his first season for Vernon, hitting .335 with 14 doubles and 24 RBI. In his final two years for Cayuga High School in Palestine, the shortstop led his team to a 51-8 record, hitting an eye-popping .615 in his final campaign to take home all-state honors.
Erickson rounds out the class after an all-district caliber season last year for the Raiders. He's expected to play in both the infield and the outfield after helping lead Lumberton into the state playoffs for the first time in a decade. As the season turns to conference play in 2015, he may have a chance to build a bit of a sibling rivalry as his older brother Tyler currently pitches at conference foe McNeese State.
"We're going to be losing Sam Bumpers after this season, so that will have a big impact on us," Gilligan said. "We were able to get a pair of pretty good shortstops in Jake and Ryan, and they're going to give us a great combination of athletic ability there. Shortstops are usually some of the most athletic players on the field, and that's definitely the case with these two."
Lamar is set to begin the 2014 season in February.