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WVU Signs 13 in 2020 Baseball Class, Including Two In-State Recruits

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On Wednesday afternoon, West Virginia baseball coach Randy Mazey announced 13 players that will join the Mountaineers baseball roster for the 2021 baseball season about a month after National Signing Day.

This class features players from eight different states, including two from West Virginia high schools. It is also Mazey’s third consecutive top-40 class ranked by Perfect Game.

“We’re extremely excited about our third top-40 class in a row,” Mazey said in a press release. “I can’t say enough about the work coaches Steve Sabins, Mark Ginther and Zach Bargeron have put in to assemble this group. This talented class is a product of their hard work and commitment to making this program one of the best in the country.”

Mazey added to the West Virginia bullpen with the signing of three right-handed pitchers and three left-handed pitchers.

Tyler Chadwick – right-handed pitcher

Tyler Chadwick hails from Marshall, Wisconsin, and plays his high school baseball as a right-handed pitcher for coach Shane Murphy at Marshall High. He was named a first-team all-conference utility player as a junior, as well as a first-team all-conference pitcher as a sophomore. The three-year starter is the school’s all-time leader in doubles and is ranked as the No. 2 right-handed pitcher and No. 3 overall prospect from Wisconsin by Perfect Game. He appeared at the 2019 Perfect Game National Showcase and is a 2019 Preseason Underclassmen All-American First Team selection. The son of Travis and Deanna, Chadwick has two brothers and is undecided on his major at WVU.

“Tyler is one of the most talented high school, right-handed pitchers in the country,” Mazey said. “He possesses as much arm strength as nearly anybody in the high school ranks. He’s big, has been up to 96 (miles-per-hour) with his fastball and is somebody that possesses the physicality and strength needed to make an immediate impact at WVU. With development and hard work, we look for Tyler to be a mainstay on the Mountaineer pitching staff as a freshman.”

Chadwick said he chose WVU because the coaches followed him from the start and it felt like home.

Justin Clark – right-handed pitcher

Justin Clark is a native of Tampa, Florida, and is a right-handed pitcher for coach Miguel Menendez at Jesuit High. As a junior, he helped his school to a state championship after earning a 5-0 mark with a 2.95 ERA in 12 appearances. He also participated at the 2018 Junior National Showcase and is a two-time Preseason Underclassmen All-American High Honorable Mention by Perfect Game. The son of Daniel and Sandra, Clark, who is ranked as the No. 141 overall prospect in Florida, has two brothers and plans to major in business at WVU.

Justin is a 6-foot-5 right-hander with a powerful arm and highly projectable frame,” Mazey said. “He has competed at the highest levels – both in high school and for summer travel baseball. We are thrilled about what Justin will bring to our program as a freshman. He has the size, strength, and skills to push for innings very early in his career.”

“West Virginia is a great place that gave me the opportunity of a lifetime,” Clark said.

Ben Hampton – left-handed pitcher

Ben Hampton will arrive to Morgantown from De Pere, Wisconsin, where he is a left-handed pitcher for coach Joe Rukamp at West De Pere High. The Bay Conference Pitcher of the Year and district player of the year was named first-team all-state and his team’s MVP. He struck out 112 batters in 58 innings with only 12 walks as a junior. He also helped lead his team to the Wisconsin state tournament in 2019. A 2019 Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All-American High Honorable Mention selection, Hampton is the son of Jeffery and Katie and ranks as the No. 22 overall prospect in Wisconsin, according to Perfect Game. He has one brother and is undecided on his major at WVU.

“Ben is an athletic, left-handed pitcher with high-level command and a plus breaking ball,” Mazey said. “We believe he will turn into a three-pitch pitcher with ability to locate all his pitches in any count. Ben has the work ethic and discipline to flourish at WVU, and we anticipate him making an impact for the Mountaineers immediately.”

“Morgantown really felt like home to me, and WVU has an amazing baseball program with great coaches and great technology to help me become a better player,” Hampton said. “Hopefully, that will help me get to the next level.”

Ethan Jones – left-handed pitcher

Ethan Jones is a native of Wesley Chapel, Florida, and he plays his high school baseball as a left-handed pitcher for coach Gary Moye at Wesley Chapel High. He was a part of the 2019 Perfect Game Super 25 national championship team with his travel team and was named to the WWBA World Championship All-Tournament Team. He helped his school to an appearance in the regional tournament as a junior, earning All-North Suncoast honors. A top-200 prospect out of Florida, according to Perfect Game, he is a 2019 Preseason Underclassmen All-American High Honorable Mention. The son of Dan and Amy, Jones has a sister and plans to major in criminology at WVU.

“Ethan is a 6-foot-5, left-handed pitcher who projects as a starter,” Mazey said. “He is a very good athlete with an incredibly high ceiling. He is a competitor with a heavy fastball, and he has the ability to help the Mountaineers early in his career. We can’t wait for Ethan to be on campus.”

“I fell in love with the school and the program from the first meeting,” Jones said. “The coaching staff never wavered from their commitment while recruiting me. Also, Coach Mazey and Coach Sabins made me feel at home and a part of the WVU family from the first time I stepped on campus.”

Carlson Reed – right-handed pitcher

Carlson Reed is a native of Marietta, Georgia, where he is a right-handed pitcher for coach Philip Rogers at Marietta High. He was named a 2020 preseason all-state selection and was a Cobb County All-Star as a junior. He was chosen as the Cy Young Award and Scholar-Athlete Award recipient at Marietta and is a member of the National Honor Society. He owned a 2.58 ERA in 13 appearances last season. He was a Preseason Underclassmen All-American High Honorable Mention in 2019 and ranks as the No. 55 overall prospect in Georgia. The son of Carl and Carol, Reed has a brother and plans to major in mechanical engineering at WVU.

 “Carlson is a 6-foot-4, right-handed pitcher with an exceptional frame and fast arm,” Mazey said. “He has an explosive fastball and a sharp breaking ball that he can throw for strikes consistently. Carlson is what the highest-end prospects look like. He has been up to 93 (miles-per-hour) in the summer and will only continue to develop velocity and command. Carlson is also an exceptional student who will be a great player for the Mountaineers. We hope he can make an impact quickly.”

“I wanted to experience something different, and WVU felt like the best choice for me,” Reed said.

 Trevor Sharp – left-handed pitcher

Trevor Sharp hails from Inwood and is a left-handed pitcher at Musselman High for coach Josh Hartmen. The four-year letterman has been named a first-team All-EPAC selection during his career. As a sophomore, he finished with a 2.19 ERA in 10 appearances. He tallied 28 strikeouts in limited action as a junior. Sharp is a 2019 Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All-American High Honorable Mention and is ranked as the No. 1 left-handed pitcher and No. 3 overall prospect in West Virginia, according to Perfect Game. He is the son of Neil Sharp, has four siblings and plans to major in biology at WVU.

“Trevor is a tall, left-handed pitcher with fantastic command and large physical frame, one that coaches dream about,” Mazey said. “We believe he will be a power pitcher with a plus breaking ball offering. We can’t wait for the native West Virginian to be on campus and make an impact for the Mountaineers.”

“I chose WVU because it’s home,” Sharp said. “West Virginia has always been my home, and WVU will be the same.”

Ben Abernathy – right-handed pitcher, OF, INF 

Ben Abernathy will arrive to Morgantown from Warrior, Alabama, where he is an infielder/outfielder/right-handed pitcher for coach Lucas Drake at Hayden High. Abernathy has hit .400 in his high school career with five home runs. The four-year starter is the school’s first-ever Division I baseball signee. He is a two-time Perfect Game Underclassmen All-American and was ranked as the No. 4 shortstop and No. 23 overall prospect in Alabama by Perfect Game. The son of Lee and Angie, Abernathy has one sister and plans to major in coaching and performance science at WVU.

“Ben is a utility player who can do it all. He plays middle infield, outfield, and pitches at a very high level. Above everything, though, Ben is a winner and a competitor that makes the team better,” Mazey said. “He is a team-first player who will do anything possible to help his team. Ben has an advanced swing and lightning-fast arm. We anticipate him having the skill and work ethic to be able to help the Mountaineers on both sides of the ball.”

“I believe that WVU is the premium for technological, physical and character development,” Abernathy said. “I also believe that this will give me an extra edge over the competition and help shape me into the best player I can be.”

Nathan Blasick – right-handed pitcher, INF

Nathan Blasick will come to Morgantown from Halifax, Pennsylvania, where he is a third baseman/right-handed pitcher for coach Jake Sprengle at Halifax High. He hit .493 with seven homers, as well as tally 81 strikeouts and held a 1.40 ERA as a junior. Blasick is a two-time conference MVP, was named to the all-area first team by Penn Live and was named a 2019 Preseason Underclassmen All-American Second Team selection by Perfect Game. He also has led his team to two conference and district championships during his high school career and has tallied more than 1,000 career points on the basketball court. The son of Frank and Vonda, Blasick, who is the No. 1 ranked third baseman and No. 5 overall prospect in Pennsylvania, has a brother and plans to major in finance at WVU.

“Nathan is a left-handed hitter who is also a high-level right-handed pitcher,” Mazey said. “We first saw Nathan as a young high school prospect, and he really impressed with the bat. He has continued to hit at an extremely high level for his entire high school career and is as good of a hitter as there is in high school. He will hit for average and power during his tenure at WVU. This kid is an absolute workhorse. He is a 4.0 student who has become one of the stronger 2020 players in the country. After we recruited Nathan as a hitter, he also flourished on the mound. He is a strike thrower with a very strong arm and loves to compete.”

“I feel that West Virginia is where I can best develop as a ballplayer, student and person,” Blasick said.

Braden Barry – OF

Braden Barry hails from Louisville, Kentucky, and plays his prep baseball as an outfielder at Trinity High for coach Rick Arnold. He’s been placed on the KHSAA All-Tournament Team and was an all-region selection. Last season, he led his team with seven home runs. He’s a 2019 Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All-American High Honorable Mention and is ranked as the No. 5 outfielder and No. 22 overall prospect in Kentucky. The son of Vinnie and Denise, Barry has a brother and plans to major in finance at WVU.

“Braden is a centerfielder who can flat out run. He is the prototypical centerfielder that every program looks for,” Mazey said. “He’s a quick-twitch athlete with plus instincts and far more power in the bat than you would expect. We anticipate Braden making huge strength and size gains and becoming one of the stronger and more explosive players in the league. He has the athleticism and burst to make an immediate impact for the Mountaineers.”

“I felt at home when I first stepped on campus, and the coaching staff is second to none,” Barry said. “All the knowledge and technology that the staff has is unmatched.”

William Bean – INF

A native of Great Falls, Virginia, William Bean will arrive to WVU from Langley High, where he plays shortstop for coach Jared Scronce. A three-year varsity starter, Bean won the team’s Golden Glove Award as a sophomore. He was named a 2019 Preseason Underclassmen All-American High Honorable Mention by Perfect Game, and he was rated as the No. 9 shortstop and No. 44 overall prospect in Virginia by the outlet. The son of Gordon and Laura, Bean has a twin sister and plans to major in business at WVU.

“William is a right-handed, hitting infielder with plus feel and instincts on the diamond,” Mazey said. “He’s just a natural ballplayer. William is always in the right spot at the right time and has been an extremely successful shortstop and third baseman. We anticipate him being able to challenge current left-side infielders upon arriving on campus. William is a competitor and winner, and we can’t wait for him to be a Mountaineer.”

“WVU was an easy choice for me because of the feeling of home in Morgantown and the blue-collar background,” Bean said. “I grew up a Mountaineer fan because almost all of my mom’s side of the family went to WVU. The University has exactly what I am looking for as a student with plenty of opportunities. From a baseball prospective, the coaches are the best in the country and made me feel a part of the family right away.”

Richard Benitez  – INF

Richard Benitez hails from Miami, Florida, and is an infielder at Westminster Christian High for coach Emil Castellanos. He was named an all-area honorable mention selection by the Miami Herald after hitting .312 with 13 stolen bases as a junior, while helping his team to the FHSAA 4A state semifinal. The son of Alberto Benitez and Anaya Lima, Benitez, who is a 2019 Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All-American and ranked as the No. 125 overall player in Florida, has a brother and plans to major in business at WVU.

“Richard is a slick-fielding shortstop who can really run. He is a right-handed hitter with a wonderful swing and the ability to drive the ball to both gaps,” Mazey said. “Richard’s skill as a shortstop is a very rare thing to see in a high school player. He possesses extremely soft hands and lightning-fast feet. We anticipate Richard to challenge all infielders on our roster upon arriving at WVU.”

“I chose to attend WVU because the coaches want the best out of the players and are fully invested in them outside of baseball,” Benitez said. “They have been really special to my family and I, and I couldn’t be happier to be a Mountaineer.”

McGwire Holbrook – C

McGwire Holbrook is a catcher for Bishop Moore High in Lake Mary, Florida. While playing for coach Tony Mehlich, he has been named first-team all-district twice, second-team all-area and the 2019 Utility District Player of the Year. A four-time preseason all-state selection, he helped his team to the FHSAA 5A state semifinals as a junior. Ranked as the No. 6 catcher and No. 53 overall prospect out of Florida, Holbrook appeared at the 2018 Perfect Game Underclassmen All-America Games, the 2019 National Showcase and the 2018 Junior National Showcase. He’s also a two-time Preseason Underclassmen All-American High Honorable Mention. The son of David, who played college baseball at Stanford, and Renee, Holbrook has a sister and plans to major in finance at WVU.

“McGwire is a right-handed hitting catcher who has worked diligently to become an asset behind the plate,” Mazey said. “He has always been a pure hitter with a knack for finding the barrel. As McGwire’s high school career has unfolded, he has developed power that will only continue to improve with work and maturity. We look for McGwire to step into college and hit right away.”

“As soon as I stepped on campus, I felt at home,” Holbrook said. “The atmosphere of the stadium, fans and coaches is unmatched.”

Michael Kluska – INF

Morgantown from White Sulphur Springs. He currently plays shortstop for Kason Gabbard at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and previously played at Greenbrier East High for coach Cory Mann. In 2019, Kluska hit .431 with 25 hits, 16 runs scored and 14 RBIs at IMG. He is the No. 1-ranked shortstop and No. 2 overall West Virginia prospect, according to Perfect Game, and was named a 2019 Preseason Underclassmen All-American High Honorable Mention. The son of Michael, who was a professional tennis player, and Melissa, Kluska has three sisters and plans to major in business or marketing at WVU.

“Mike is a right-handed infielder who has excelled on the left side of the diamond,” Mazey said. “He has quick feet and extremely soft hands that allows him to be an exceptional defender. Mike is the definition of a team-first player who finds a way to make the team better. We can’t wait for Mike to help make the Mountaineers better.”

“I chose to attend West Virginia University because the coaching staff is second to none and made me feel right at home,” Kluska said. “The energy of the school and the pride of the state makes for an incredible atmosphere. Lastly, I chose WVU because I want to be able to compete in the Big 12 and work for a chance to go to Omaha.”

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