November 17, 2011

Mix Of Pitching and Position Players Highlight UC Irvine Baseball Recruiting Class

IRVINE, Calif. --- The UC Irvine baseball staff announced its 2012 recruiting class, a group rich with pitching and three key position players.

The three right-handers and two left-handers who make up the pitching class include, Josh Bornstein of El Segundo High School,  Tyler Brashears of El Toro High School, Kevin Grendell of San Pasqual High School, Andrew Potter of Eastside High School in Lancaster, and Elliott Surrey of Crescenta Valley High School.

"El Segundo High School's Josh Bornstein is a tall, rangy, and polished right hander," said UCI head coach Mike Gillespie.  "He is a blend of good mechanics and athleticism and he features a live fast ball and command of a quality breaking pitch. He won eight games and was named to the All-Pioneer League team. We can confidently project great growth and development for him."

Local product Tyler Brashears has been a highly decorated key to the recent success of the hugely successful El Toro High program. He was named the Co-MVP of the rigorous South Coast League, First-Team All-Orange County, all-state, as well as All-American. He posted an ERA of 0.88 and struck out close to 100 batters. "Tyler has dominated for two years with advanced command of two pitches, and we're confident that he will make an immediate impact at UCI.  He will compete immediately to be a weekend starter and is the quality of pitcher who could anchor a great staff for four years," said Gillespie.From San Paqual High School in San Diego Calif., tall and rangy left-handed pitcher Kevin Grendell has shown all the makings of a winner in the high level of the Big West Conference. "Kevin has unlimited potential," said Gillespie.  He seemed to grow and improve each time our staff saw him. His fast ball is live with movement, there's bite to the breaking ball, and he's hungry.  We see in him the ability to be a starter."

Pitching coach, Jason Dietrich, was immediately impressed with right hander Andrew Potter when he saw him over the summer. Potter, from Eastside High School in Lancaster, Calif., jumped onto Dietrich's radar with his power fastball and put-away curve.  "He has tremendous upside and his future has no limits," said Dietrich. "We are delighted that he has decided to be an Anteater. His competiveness and hunger to learn has really impressed all of us."

Lefty Elliott Surrey has been a consistent winner at Crescenta Valley High School.  "Elliott brings a winner's track record from a strong high school program," said Dietrich.  "He is confident, poised, and trusts his three-pitch mix of fastball, curveball, and change.  The fact that he has such complete command of all three pitches will enable him to pitch quickly for us in a variety of roles."  Surrey is a two-time All-Pacific League and All-CIF pitcher, posting an ERA of under 1.10 each year.

Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator, Pat Shine, and Gillespie are equally as excited with the three position players who committed to UCI this week, who include middle infielder Tim Lopes from Edison High School in Huntington Beach, outfielder Jordan Morrison from Arroyo Grande High School, and outfielder Taylor Dominique from Salt Lake Community College in Utah.

"Timmy Lopes is an advanced player," said Gillespie. "He's a great fit for us in that he's an outstanding middle infielder who has the skills and confidence to step in and succeed in the demanding and key positions of shortstop and second base as a freshman. He is a top of the lineup hitter who is a complete and tough out, a player who has played at the highest levels against the best competition and is prepared to succeed against top-flight college competition immediately. We love his instincts. He's a difference maker," continued Gillespie.

Left-handed hitting outfielder Jordan Morrison, from Arroyo Grande High School in the central coast, is a first-team all-league performer in the Pac-7 and second-team All-CIF.  He hit .408 as the lead-off hitter with 16 extra base hits in 28 games.  "He's an accomplished hitter with speed, and Coach Shine was very impressed with his energy and never-stop-motor," said Gillespie. "He has the kind of intensity and drive with which we've built our teams at UCI."

"Pat Shine became aware of Dominique Taylor early last year, and his efforts in recruiting him have paid off with Dominique's strong commitment to come to UCI," said Gillespie.  "Coach Shine has recognized in Dominique that he possesses the unique qualities of character, work ethic, and physical tools." The 6'-1, 210 lb. center fielder is "one of the most promising young men to come to UCI in 10 years", agree both Shine and Gillespie. "Dominique is a true center fielder with great speed who can really range, and offensively he has demonstrated not only consistent hard contact, but power and the ability to steal bases, as well.  He is a complete player," said Gillepie. In 2011, Taylor hit .385 with 25 extra base hits and 24 stolen bases.

"We are truly pleased with this class," said Gillespie.  "Pat Shine and Jason Dietrich did a fabulous job in in recruiting a group that should be the nucleus of Big West Championship contenders for the next four years."

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