UNC-Charlotte Baseball Inks Six During Early Signing Period

We reported Brock Hudgens signing earlier. Here’s the Press Release:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Contact: Ryan Rose, Charlotte 49ers Media Relations

Charlotte Baseball Inks Six During Early Signing Period

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte 49ers baseball program announces the signing of six players added during the early signing period for the 2011 season.

Tyler Barnette, Micah Bryan, Brock Hudgens, Ryan Mas, Jordan McNeely, and Zach Passerelle all signed early to play for the 49ers program following the completion of their senior season of high school baseball.

“We are very pleased with our early signing group,” said 49ers head coach Loren Hibbs, who enters his 18th season with the program. “We signed outstanding young men who are athletic and have done well in the classroom. This group allows us to stretch our roster based on their versatility and athleticism.”

“This summer was very hectic for our coaching staff but (Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator) Brandon (Hall) did another outstanding job of bringing this whole class together. We look forward to getting them on campus next fall.”

This group includes four student-athletes hailing from in the state of North Carolina. Five of the seven early signees from last year were among the 19 of 34 total current Niners that are home grown. Charlotte signed eight in 2007 and five in the early period in the fall of 2006.

Barnette plays for Hickory (N.C.) High and head coach David Craft. He also is the starting quarterback for the Red Tornadoes. He was a 2009 State Games participant and is ranked a Top 30 player in North Carolina by Impact Baseball. The 6-3 Barnette pitches and plays the infield for Hickory and for his summer league team, The Carolina Lakemonsters and coach Ray Allen.

“Tyler is an outstanding young man who is a great student-athlete and we are very proud of his accomplishments thus far,” said Coach Craft.

“Tyler was our ‘big game’ pitcher and wanted the ball in those situations,” said Coach Allen. “We’ve since had a lot of success, but a lot goes out to him for the two years he played. He’s just as good a kid as you want to meet, and is always up-beat, no matter the situation.”

Bryan is a 6-3 LHP, basketball player and quarterback for East Wilkes High. He plays for head coach Jeremy Helton of the Cardinals and also plays for the Wilkes Legion team. He led all pitchers in the state of North Carolina with 145 strikeouts (besting current Niners freshman Wes Hatley by four) in addition to being honored as an All-Conference performer and 2009 State Games Participant. He is listed as a Top 50 player by Impact Baseball.

“We are excited for Micah as he strives to fulfill his potential and his goals,” said Coach Helton. “He’s a fierce competitor with a strong desire to succeed.”

Hudgens is a 6-0 RHP from Greensboro, N.C. who has one last season at Southwest Guilford under head coach Reid Holmes. He was an All-Conference selection this past spring and participated in the N.C. State Games. He finished his junior season with a 5-1 record, and 2.00 ERA this past spring. Impact Baseball named him a Top 30 player in the state of North Carolina this summer.

“You won’t find many players who have put in the amount of time that he has to make himself a more complete pitcher,” said Coach Holmes. “I strongly believe that his best days are ahead of him. I’m excited to see his continued growth at the Division 1 level.”

Mas is another RHP who plays at nearby Butler High in Matthews under Kim Cousar. He stands at 5-11 and also participated in the State Games. He also played for the Carolina Twisters under coach Bill Harden.

“I know Ryan is very excited about pitching for Charlotte,” said Coach Cousar. “I think he has a very high ceiling and will just continue to improve.”

“Ryan is determined,” added Coach Harden. “He approaches life, academics, baseball all with the intent to succeed and excel. I have coached many young men in the last 14 years and I can tell you without a doubt when the game is on the line and the job has to get done I would always put the ball in Ryan’s hands. He always wanted it.”

McNeely hails from Westminster, S.C. and is a two-way player in the outfield on the on the mound for Seneca High and coach Andy Bay. The 6-1 rising senior was the Mountain Lakes 3A Conference and Western South Carolina Player of the Year in 2009. He is a two-time All-Region selection for the 2009 District Champions. He fanned an astounding 71 hitters in 55.2 innings pitched last season.

“Jordan McNeely has been a leader for our baseball team at Seneca High School on and off the field,” said Coach Bay. “He has been a model student in the classroom, and a leader on the field with his work ethic and determination.”

Passerelle is a 6-3 catcher for Sparta High in New Jersey and head coach Sam Slobodzian. He was All-Conference in baseball this spring and an All-West Jersey fullback on the gridiron. He hit .458 his freshman year and will be a four-year starter for Sparta. He also plays for the New Jersey Twins summer league team and coach John Wilson.

“Zach is one of those special individuals that rarely comes along in someone’s coaching lifetime,” said Coach Slobodzian. “I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Zach for the last four years and it’s been great to watch Zach evolve as player and as a person over that time. He is constantly striving to improve himself academically, as a ball player, and as a person. Needless to say I will miss this bright, dedicated, and genuinely well rounded young man.”

Charlotte will play 23 of its first 28 games in the friendly confines of Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium, which opened on March 30, 2007. Charlotte is 59-20 at home (.747 winning percentage) overall and 28-11 in conference games (.718 winning percentage) at home since 2007.

Charlotte is one of just 17 teams in the country with a Top-75 winning percentage (.600 or greater) in each of the past four seasons. Charlotte is 160-70 in the past four seasons, a winning percentage of .695, which is ninth in the country in that span. Charlotte was one of only three programs that boast a Top 10% Academic Progress Rate number and a Top 10 winning percentage in college baseball in the past three seasons.

Charlotte and High Point begin the season with a home-and-home weekend series. The Niners will travel to Willard Stadium, which also opened in 2007, for a season-opening game there on Friday, February 19. The two teams will then play in Charlotte’s home opener on Saturday the 20th. Both games start at 4 p.m.

Season tickets for Charlotte’s 36 scheduled home games are just $49 for the entire season and are available by contacting the Charlotte 49ers Ticket Office at 704-687-4949.

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