Spartanburg, S.C. – USC Upstate head baseball coach Matt Fincher has announced today the signing of eight players during the spring signing period. The eight players hail from California, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina and South Carolina.
“This group represents a lot of hard work by Tyler Cook and Tim Brown,” Fincher said. “These players are significant additions to the roster and I’m extremely hopeful they will make an immediate impact on the program. We are looking forward to assisting their development this year.”
The signees are Johnathan Carlyle, Kyle Gensler, Grant Hoppock, Andres Kim, Zach Lea, Jeff Taylor, Josh Tomlin and Cauy Williams.
Johnathan Carlyle, P, West Brunswick HS (North Carolina)
Carlyle was a two-time All-State selection as well as a two-time Mid-Eastern Conference Player of the Year at West Brunswick High School. As a junior in 2016, Caryle posted a 9-1 record as he struck out 72 batters with a 1.20 ERA. At the plate, he hit .386 with one home run and 17 RBI. This past season, he recorded 53 strikeouts and four wins while batting .427 with 24 RBI and nine doubles.
“Johnathan is another tall arm that really knows how to pitch,” assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Tyler Cook said. “His recognition as conference player of the year as a junior is testament to that. We hope he can be a dominant arm for us in the future.”
“I chose to attend USC Upstate because I really liked the coaches and the atmosphere,” Carlyle said. “After getting to tour the campus and the athletic facilities I knew this was the college for me.”
Kyle Gensler, INF, Cary HS (North Carolina)
Gensler joins the Spartans after earning four varsity letters on Cary’s basketball and baseball teams. He was a three-time All-South Wake Athletic Conference selection and had a career .370 average and .502 on-base percentage. During his senior year, Gensler batted .411 with a .517 on-base percentage.
“Kyle’s best baseball is in front of him,” Cook stated. “His athletic ability allowed him to start in basketball for four years as well. With his focus solely on baseball, I think he will grow into an exceptional player here at USC Upstate.”
“I chose Upstate because it was the best fit for me academically and athletically,” Gensler said. “The campus and the coaching staff made me feel at home as soon as I stepped on campus. I can’t wait to spend my next four years here.”
Grant Hoppock, P, Johnson County Community College (Kansas)
Hoppock arrives in Spartanburg following a season at Johnson County Community College in Kansas City, Kan. A team captain and a NJCAA Academic All-American, Hoppock made 14 appearances allowing 10 hits with 13 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of .222. He was named to the Ban Johnson Baseball League All-Star Team and competed in its All-Star game at the Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium last month.
“Grant is a side arm pitcher that comes from a very successful junior college in Kansas,” Cook said. “His leadership and deception will be a valuable addition to our bullpen, and we think he will have a great two years here in Spartanburg.”
“During my recruiting process, I knew I wanted to be a part of a great team environment as well as contribute to the team on the field against top competition for coaches who genuinely care about their players,” Hoppock said of his decision to join the Spartans. “After my visit, I knew that USC Upstate was the place for me.”
Andres Kim, INF, Pasadena City College (California)
Kim will make the cross country trip from Pasadena City College to play for the Spartans in 2018. Kim batted .317 with 52 hits, 43 runs scored, two home runs, eight stolen bases and 26 RBI during the 2017 season.
“Andres is a talented infielder that we were lucky enough to find out in California,” Cook remarked. “His ability to hit for average and steal bases will be a great addition to our offense.”
“I chose Upstate to learn from Coach Fincher and the coaching staff, and to experience a new culture of baseball on the other side of the country,” Kim stated.
Zach Lea, UTIL, Dorman HS (South Carolina)
Lea will join the Upstate program from nearby Dorman High School where he was named to the GoUpstate All-Area First Team as well as the All-Region team. Diamond Prospects named Lea to its All-Academic Team as well as the 5A All-Second Team.
“Zach is a local talent that we are excited to get to campus,” Cook said. “His versatility will allow him to play a multitude of positions, and will provide another outstanding option for our offense.”
“I chose USC Upstate because it was the best place for me to further my academic and my baseball career,” Lea commented. “Not only will USC Upstate help me pursue my major, but I feel the university will make me a better person in life.”
Jeff Taylor, OF, Northwestern HS (South Carolina)
Taylor led the 5A state champions with 27 RBI while batting .398 with two home runs. During the championship series against River Bluff, Taylor went 8-for-11. He earned a spot on the All-Region 4 Team and All-Area Team. Taylor was also named to Diamond Prospects 5A All-State Team.
“Jeff is a winner,” Cook stated. “He won the state title this year in South Carolina, and hit exceptionally throughout his career. We can’t wait to get his winning mentality to campus.”
“I chose Upstate because I’ve always wanted to play Division I baseball,” Taylor said. “I was attracted towards the competitive schedule they played and getting to travel to new places. The coaches at Upstate made me feel comfortable and at home.”
Josh Tomlin, P, Lakewood Ranch HS (Florida)
Tomlin went 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA on the mound during his senior season with a no-hitter against rival Braden River.
“Josh is a guy who had a bright future,” Cook said. “He is a tall right hander who we think will develop into a great pitcher in our program.”
“I chose Upstate because I felt like it was the best place for me to continue to develop into a better athlete, baseball player, and student,” Tomlin said.
Cauy Williams, P, Woodland HS (Georgia)
Williams joins the Spartans after being named a 2017 Rawlings Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Southeast Region Honorable Mention. In 2016, Williams was an Underclass Honorable Mention.
“Cauy is a physical right handed pitcher who can run his fastball into the low 90’s,” Cook stated. “We think he has room to grow in this program, and are looking forward to his contributions over the next 4 years.”
“I chose Upstate because of the coaches and atmosphere,” Williams said.
Upstate will open the 2018 season in mid-February.