Photo by Brent Beerends / MT Athletics
The first day of the NCAA early signing period for Division I college baseball was held on Wednesday. For Middle Tennessee, that meant building off of a season that saw them go 20-35 while only winning five of their 29 total conference games.
Even with how tough their season was last year, the team is reloading for the future. The 2017 MTSU team is returning a good mix of veterans and youngsters as seniors Brad Jarreau and Riley Delgado look to continue their consistent play from a year ago. Delgado led the team in batting average at .388 while Jarreau followed with a .298 clip. Delgado was also second in Conference USA and No. 19 overall in the country in hitting.
Young players like Austin Dennis and Blake Benefield hope to build off solid freshman seasons and make strides in year two. Dennis was second on the team in RBI (29), doubles (11) and runs scored (34). Benefield led the power surge for MTSU, hitting eight home runs and driving in 32 runs to pace the team.
The positions MT is looking to fill are mainly in the starting pitching rotation. The Blue Raiders said goodbye to Garrett Ring, Tyler Troutt and Nate Hoffman and will need some of their newcomers to step in and contribute right away.
MTSU received those reinforcements in the form of right-handed pitcher Ryan Scharf and left-hander Peyton Wiggington. Scharf is a junior college transfer who coach Jim McGuire thinks highly of.
“[He’s a] right-handed pitcher with good stuff that can help right away,” McGuire said on Twitter.
Wigginton is a younger player coming in from Page High School in Franklin, Tenn. He may need to develop, but McGuire sees the potential in both his arm and his bat.
“[We] filled a big need with left-handed pitcher Peyton Wiggington from Page High School,” McGuire said. “Great upside on the mound and can swing the bat too!”
The Blue Raiders also got some offensive help with the signings of Brett Stratinsky and Brycen Thomas. Stratinsky is a a left-handed first base transfer from McHenry College in Illinois, while Thomas comes to the program from right down the road at Spring Hill High School.
MTSU’s signing class up to this point:
|Jake Hagenow||C||R/R||6-foot-2-inches||175 pounds||Knoxville, Tenn.|
|Brett Stratinsky||1B||L/R||6-foot-4-inches||205 pounds||Palos Hills, Ill.|
|Brycen Thomas||RHP/1B/3B||R/R||6-foot-3-inches||245 pounds||Spring Hill, Tenn.|
|Peyton Wiggington||LHP||L/L||6-foot-2-inches||170 pounds||Franklin, Tenn.|
|Ryan Scharf||RHP||R/R||6-foot-2-inches||190 pounds||Mount Zion, Ill.|
|Myles Christian||OF||L/R||6-foot-2-inches||180 pounds||Olive Branch, Miss.|
|Alex Bubord||RHP||R/R||6-foot-4-inches||210 pounds||Fargo, ND|
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