Photo by Anthony Fiorella/ MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee baseball team added depth to their pitching staff during the November signing period, earning signatures from three right-handed pitchers and a pair of southpaws.
“I think we’ve really bolstered this staff,” said head coach Jim McGuire. “We’re going to be losing some seniors, and we have a chance to possibly be losing some juniors to the draft. We know we need to keep adding to our staff, that’s where we need to get stronger. I think these five guys are going to fill these voids and fill those needs for next year that we need to get better.”
Out of the five, three are from the state of Tennessee, one is from Florida and the other is a Junior College product of Illinois.
The Raiders have found another pitcher from Murfreesboro’s Siegel High School in Zac Pearson. Pearson, who also plays first base and outfield, pitched 4.2 innings and struck out nine while hitting .231 in nine games played, according to Perfect Game USA.
The 6’5″ 230-pound lefty was a member of the 2016 Tennessee state championship team and was a teammate of current Blue Raiders Carson Lester, Alex Carignan and Blake Benefield.
According to Perfect Game USA, his fastball has been clocked at 89 miles per hour, and he holds a spot in the top 500 high school players in the nation.
“Pearson is a Murfreesboro product that we expect big things from,” said McGuire. “He’s a big, left-handed pitcher with huge upside and has an opportunity to be a weekend starter down the line.”
Right-hander Graham Tulloch will come to the Blue Raiders from Brentwood Academy in Williamson County, Tennessee.
Tulloch is another big body who plays first base in addition to pitching. According to Prep Baseball Report, Tulloch features a mid-80s fastball, along with a curveball and changeup. Along with Pearson, Tulloch was an honorable mention on Perfect Game USA‘s underclassmen All American team.
“(Tulloch) is another right-handed pitcher we’re excited about that has had great success at the high school level,” McGuire said. “We’re looking for him to contribute in a big way as a freshman.“
Coming to Middle Tennessee next fall from Soddy Daisy High School in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, is Dylan Perry.
As a junior in 2017, Perry tossed 31.2 innings with a 2-1 mark, 27 strikeouts and a 1.11 earned run average. The 6’3″ 185-pound right-hander took part in Perfect Game USA‘s Top Prospect National Showcase in October and was also an honorable mention for PGUSA’s underclassmen All-American Team.
“Dylan (Perry) is a big, strong right-hander that with limitless potential will impact this team down the line,” McGuire said.
Connor Brian will join the Blue Raiders from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Brian threw 14.1 innings as a junior in 2017 and won three games while carrying a 1.47 ERA. Opponents struggled against Brian, mustering up a measly .106 average against him.
Perfect Game USA has Brian ranked as the 500th best high school prospect in the nation.
“(Brian) is a right-handed pitcher that we got on a little bit later as he continued to get better throughout the summer and fall,” McGuire said. “He comes from a tremendous high school and summer league team in Florida. He will bring a lot of experience to the table that will give him an opportunity to pitch right away for us.”
The final November addition is junior college prospect David Zoz.
As a freshman at Illinois Central College, Zoz made 11 appearances, threw 50.2 innings and had two shutouts. While also striking out 40, Zoz struggled to a 2-6 record and had an ERA of 5.33. The lefty also made a few appearances out of the bullpen and even had a save last season.
“(Zoz) is the only junior college pitcher we signed in the early period,” McGuire said. “He fills a big need with Jake Wyrick being a senior. With his experience, he will have an opportunity to start right away if he does what we think he can.”
McGuire is looking for development from each of the five in their final seasons at their respective schools.
“With (Zoz) being the only junior college pitcher we signed, we’re kind of counting on him to go (next season),” said McGuire. “With the other four, they’ve got to continue to develop through the spring and into the summer and just be consistent. That’s what will get them innings as a freshman. They’re all capable of throwing for us right away.”