June 13, 2008

Former Wildcats Excelling at Colleges, Universities, Pros

As the Western Nevada College Wildcats baseball program finishes its third successful season, it is worth noting the progress of those student athletes from the team's first two years who have continued their education and athletics at the next level:

Stephen Sauer was one of the leading pitchers for the Arizona State University Sun Devils this spring. The Sun Devils have been ranked in the top five in the country for most of the season and Sauer was one of the top pitchers. Sauer was used in both a starting and a reliever role. In response, the Chicago White Sox drafted him in the 10th round of the recent Major League Baseball draft. Sauer appeared In 25 games, second among the team's pitchers, and threw 51 innings, fourth on the team. His 4.56 ERA was third on the team and his .234 opponents batting average was second. ASU finished the season 49-13 and collected its second straight outright PAC-10 Championship.

Tyson Jaquez was the starting catcher for the University of Nevada, Reno this past season. Jaquez started 35 games and played in 46 for the Wolf Pack. Jaquez led the team in home runs with nine round-trippers. In addition, he drove in 26 runs and scored another 28 for the Wolf Pack, which finished 34-26. Jaquez also threw out 10 of 36 would-be base-stealers.

Ryan Iodence and Aaron Henry both played supporting roles at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2008, helping the Wolf Pack finish second in the Western Athletic Conference to College World Series-bound Fresno State. The Pack was also runner-up in the WAC postseason tournament.

Brad Carlsen had a season to remember for the College of Idaho Coyotes. He led the team with seven home runs, 12 doubles, 32 base-on-balls and 46 runs scored. In addition, he finished second on the team with 31 RBI's and 14 stolen bases. As the team's starting second baseman, Brad also turned in an excellent season defensively, committing just six errors in 226 chances for a .974 fielding percentage. The Coyotes finished the season with their fourth straight conference title.

Jake Bottari was Carlson's teammate at College of Idaho. He pitched his best baseball of the year down the stretch and into the playoffs. Bottari opened the post-season for the Coyotes by tossing his first shutout of the season. He allowed just one hit after the third inning and no runner reached third base in the game. For the season, Bottari led the team in saves and was second in appearances with 17 and 65 innings pitched. He finished with a 3.18 ERA and a 4-1 record.

Andrew Ferguson played centerfield at Bethany College this past season on a team that finished 40-16 and won the KCAC Post-Season Tournament title.

Thomas Miller played for the University of Texas A&M, Kingsville. He was the team's starting first baseman and clean-up hitter - however his season was cut short in the final weeks due to a broken finger he suffered legging out a triple. Miller finished the season with a .301 batting average, seven doubles, three home runs, 31 runs scored and 30 driven in. Miller also led the team in base on balls with 32 and had an on-base percentage of .445. Miller helped his team to the Lone Star Conference Championship and appeared in the NCAA Division II super-regionals.

Daniel Grubbs pitched for the University of New Mexico Lobos this year. Grubbs was used predominantly as the team's set-up man but also started one game. His 19 appearances were third among the team's pitchers. Grubbs finished with 30 innings pitched and 24 strikeouts against just seven walks. Grubbs won twice for the Lobos and helped them to a second place finish in the Mountain West Conference's regular season race and the post-season tournament, both times behind powerhouse Texas Christian University. The Lobos finished 34-25 for the best season in years.

Jeremy Joustra pitched for the New Mexico State University Aggies this spring. He appeared in 13 games, earning a win and save against no defeats.

Josh Brink was the University of British Columbia's Number Two starter for the Thunderbirds. Brink finished with 11 starts and 68 innings pitched which was second among the team's pitchers.

Kyle Bondurant had a good campaign for Vanguard University this spring. Bondurant was the team's starting second baseman for much of the season but played shortstop down the stretch. Bondurant started all 48 games and was second on the team with eight two-baggers. His 31 base-on-balls led the team, and his onbase-percentage of .366 was second among the team's regulars.

Taylor Mieras was the starting catcher for the Western Oregon University Wolves this spring. Mieras hit .339 on the season, which was third on the team. He hit four home runs, which tied him for the team lead. Additionally, Mieras' on-base percentage of .475 was second on the team. Perhaps even more valuable than his offensive production was his excellent defense. Mieras commited just one error on the entire season for a fielding percentage of .997 while throwing out 21 of 50 base-stealers.

Pat Grennan teamed up with Mieras to lead the Western Oregon Wolves to the NCAA Division II super regional in Chico, Calif. The Wolves won their regional championship in order to advance. Grennan was a part-time starter for the Wolves in leftfield and designated hitter, but made his at-bats count when the games mattered most. In one super-regional game, he recorded three of his team's six hits. In total, Grennan started 16 games and appeared in 26 for the season.

James Nygren pitched for the two-time defending national champion Oregon State Beavers this past spring. Nygren appeared in 15 games and started six, pitching 35 innings for the Beavers.

Five other Wildcats are making the most of their opportunities in professional baseball:

Cole Rohrbough is pitching in the Atlanta Braves minor league organization. Rorhbough plays for the Rome affiliate in the South Atlantic League. Rohrbough has pitched 20 innings so far on four starts and has already recorded 25 strikeouts. Last summer he was named league MVP and #4 prospect in the entire Braves organization.

Justin Garcia is pitching in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays minor league organization. Garcia plays for the Columbus Catfish in the South Atlantic League. Garcia has pitched 35 innings and struck out 33 batters while walking only 11. Garcia has the second best WHIP on the team and has two saves on the season.

TJ Wohlever plays for the Atlanta Braves rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League. The season starts in a few days.

Mason Tobin is pitching in the Anaheim Angeles minor league organization. Tobin plays for the Cedar Rapids Kernals in the Midwest League. He has made eight starts and pitched 37 innings while only allowing 13 runs for the season.

Chris Rickey is pitching for the Pensacola Pelicans of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. He has started one game and appeared in another.

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