Georgia baseball signs dandy dozen for 2016 season
Georgia baseball coach Scott Stricklin announced Thursday that 12 student-athletes have signed national letters-of-intent with UGA. They will join the Bulldog baseball program for the 2016 season.
“We’re excited about the 12 student-athletes we’re adding to our baseball program,” Stricklin said. “Coaches Scott Daeley and Fred Corral did an outstanding job of putting this class together, and it’s going to add a lot of pitching depth and several players that can help us offensively too. We’re proud that all 12 new Bulldogs hail from the state of Georgia.”
Eleven of the newcomers will arrive from the high school ranks and one will be coming from a junior college in the state. Here’s a look at the latest class:
Addison Albright (LHP, 6-3, 200, R-L, Cumming, Ga.)
Attends West Forsyth High School where he plays for Mike Pruitt…A four-year letterman for the Wolverines with the most playoff wins in school history and an ERA of 0.64…Posted a 5-2 record and 3.27 ERA as a junior with 47 strikeouts in 32.6 innings pitched…Helped team go 17-11 and advance to the first round of the 6A state playoffs…Summer league action includes part of championship with the Georgia Roadrunners 17u squad and finalist in the WWBA 18u event…Went 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched…Son of Alan and Tammy Albright.
“The University of Georgia was an easy choice for my family and I growing up huge Bulldog fans,” Albright said. “I’ve always wanted to become a Bulldog. The coaching staff is an exceptional group of guys, and I’m excited to learn from them for the next four years.”
Stricklin on Albright: “Addison is a talented left-handed pitcher with a big, strong projectable frame who is only going to get better. He competes on the mound and his breaking ball is a swing and miss pitch.”
Blakely Brown (RHP/INF, 6-1, 175, R-R, Statesboro, Ga.)
Attends Statesboro High School where he plays for Jim Simmons…A two-way standout for the Blue Devils as a pitcher and shortstop and named team MVP…Posted a 1.62 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched as a junior plus hit .462 with five home runs, 22 RBI and 10 stolen bases…Team went 21-10…Summer league action includes part of championship team with the Georgia Roadrunners…Son of David and Alisa Brown.
“I am excited to be a Bulldog,” Brown said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of a special time in UGA baseball history. My decision was strongly impacted by the coaches. I look forward to playing and learning from them.”
Stricklin on Brown: “Blakely has a great arm and is a fierce competitor on the mound. He proved to be one of the top right-handed pitchers in the state this summer. He is a plus athlete with skills to play in the infield and swings an aggressive bat too.”
Blake Cairnes (RHP, 6-2, 220, R-R, Douglasville, Ga., Georgia Perimeter College)
Attends Georgia Perimeter College where he plays for Jeremy Brotherton…Currently 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in six starts with 21 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched for the Jaguars…A 2014 graduate of Hiram High School where he played for Chad Tittle…An All-State, four-time All-County and three-time All-Region selection during his career with the Hornets…Went 5-3 with a 1.88 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 55 innings pitched as a senior to earn Ace Award and MVP…Posted a 6-2 record, 1.96 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 67 innings pitched as a junior…Summer league action with the 643 DP Cougars…Son of Rick and Elizabeth Cairnes.
“Playing at UGA has been my dream since I first picked up a baseball,” Cairnes said. “Now the day I’ve dreamed of is finally here.”
Stricklin on Cairnes: “Blake is focusing his efforts on the mound now but he was talented enough to be recruited as a two-way player out of high school. He’s a strong right-hander with a closer mentality. He’s got a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s and a very good breaking ball.”
Dakota Chalmers (RHP, 6-3, 172, R-R, Gainesville, Ga.)
Attends North Forsyth High School where he plays for the Raiders and Jim Cahill…Began prep career at Lakeview Academy where played for Deuce Roark…Played in 21 games and batted .390 with seven RBI as a leadoff hitter for the Lions as a junior shortstop/pitcher…Ranked No. 7 in the state and No. 39 nationally among Top 500 High School Prospects by Perfect Game…Summer league action with the SEB Tigers and Evoshield Canes…Part of Canes championship team at the 2014 Perfect Game WWBA event…Son of Bill and Tammy Chalmers.
“I’ve always wanted to play baseball in the SEC and Coach Stricklin has given me that chance,” Chalmers said.
Stricklin on Chalmers: “Dakota has come on strong to be one of the best right-handed pitchers in the country. He has a loose arm and is very athletic with room to grow and get better. His fastball/slider combination is as good as you’ll see at this level.”
Michael Curry (C, 6-0, 210, R-R, Gainesville, Ga.)
Attends Gainesville High School where he plays for Jeremy Kemp…Batted .387 with eight home runs and 38 RBI as a junior for the Red Elephants…Also registered a 5-1 mark, 2.73 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched…Helped team advance to the semifinals of the state playoffs and a final record of 27-8…Named First Team All-Region and team’s Best Defense award…Summer league action with the Team Elite Roadrunners…Also lettered in football as a quarterback…Earned Georgia Certificate of Merit Award…Son of Richard and Tawnya Curry.
“UGA gave me that ‘at home’ feeling,” Curry said. “The coaches are great and the future is bright for the Bulldog Nation.”
Stricklin on Curry: “Michael is an athletic catcher with plus tools across the board who hits for power too. He’s got a strong throwing arm and has the leadership skills needed to be an elite catcher.”
Adam Goodman (LHP, 6-6, 205, L-L, Fayetteville, Ga.)
Attends Starr’s Mill High School where he plays for Brent Moseley…Posted a 4-6 record, 3.88 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 57.2 innings pitched as a junior… Also batted .366-3-32 in 34 starts…A two-time All-Region and All-County First Team selection plus named Defensive Player of the Year…Helped the Panthers go 23-11 and advance to the quarterfinals of the 2014 state playoffs…Registered an 8-2 record, 2.46 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 45.2 innings as a sophomore plus hit .391 with 15 RBI…2013 team went 24-4 and advanced to the semifinals of the state playoffs…Member of the Honor Roll and Beta Club…Summer league action with the Home Plate Chilidogs that won the Perfect Game Evoshield Classic Championship and earned MVP Pitcher honors…Allowed just two earned runs in 80-plus innings of travel ball…Son of David and Paula Goodman.
“It is a dream come true and an honor to know that next year I will be putting on the Georgia uniform and playing for the team I grew up admiring,” Goodman said.
Stricklin on Goodman: “Adam is another left-handed pitcher from Starr’s Mill (who will join Georgia freshman Ryan Avidano) who is very athletic for his size, holds runners well and fields his position. He understands how to pitch and projects for a bright future as he has the physical attributes for success.”
Adam Sasser (1B, 6-4, 225, L-L, Evans, Ga.)
Attends Greenbrier High School where he plays for Jason Osborn…Led team with a .389 batting average and 39 RBI plus hit seven home runs and went 4-3 with a 2.80 ERA on the mound as a junior…Helped Wolfpack post a 26-9 record to win a region title and advance to the semifinals of the state playoffs…Hit team-best .406-5-38 as a sophomore plus was 5-1 with a 2.77 ERA as the Wolfpack reached the state finals with a 24-8 record…Earned three letters in football…Summer league action with Team Georgia and the Ohio Warhawks…Son of Jon and Rachel Sasser.
“I was born a Bulldog, my mom and dad and grandfather all are UGA alumni,” Sasser said. “It’s been my dream and I never seriously considered another school. I couldn’t be happier.”
Stricklin on Sasser: “Adam is a big, strong, physical left-handed hitter with lots of power. He is a good athlete who moves well around the bag and projects as a middle of the order hitter.”
Chad Smith (OF, 6-2, 200, L-L, Snellville, Ga.)
Attends South Gwinnett High School where he plays for Steve Teschner…Batted .340 with two home runs, 30 RBI and 10 stolen bases as a junior for the Comets plus went 3-3 with a 3.50 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched…Ranked No. 10 in the state and No. 71 nationally among Top 500 High School Prospects by Perfect Game…Earned 1st Team All-Region honors in 8AAAAAA and team’s Best Offensive Player… An Honor Roll student…Named to the 2014 Perfect Game Underclass 1st Team…Summer league action with the MGBA Braves…Son of Ron and Penny Smith.
“The coaches, the facilities and atmosphere at UGA are what drew me to want to attend UGA,” said Smith.
Stricklin on Chad Smith: “Chad is an athletic outfielder who will hit for average and power from the left side. He projects as a corner outfielder and can make a big impact in our program. He’s got good instincts and plays the game hard.”
Kevin Smith (LHP, 6-5, 200, R-L, Dunwoody, Ga.)
Attends Dunwoody High School where he plays for Chan English…Posted a 5-3 record and 1.67 ERA in helping the Wildcats to a region championship…Registered 66 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched and limited opponents to a .148 batting average…Named 1st Team All-County and a DeKalb County All-Star while earning Pitcher of the Year honors for the Wildcats…Summer league action includes being selected to Team Georgia and earned Pitcher of the Year honors for 643 DP Academy…Son of Dwight and Erin Smith.
“I chose UGA because I felt comfortable that this was the best fit for me,” Smith said. “I love the coaches, the academics and facilities. I couldn’t be more excited about my decision.”
Stricklin on Kevin Smith: “Kevin really progressed last year with a jump in his velocity and now is considered one of the elite left-handers in the country. He’s a hard worker who knows how to pitch and has developed his fastball.”
Patrick Sullivan (1B, 6-3, 190, L-L, Sandy Springs, Ga.)
Attends the Marist School where he plays for Mike Strickland…Hit .398 with 32 RBI as a junior in leading the War Eagles to a 26-4 record and a 6-AAAA Region title…Batted .490 in the state playoffs and named 1st Team All-State, Georgia Dugout Club All Region and to Team Georgia…Batted .442 with 29 RBI as a sophomore for the 6-AAAA Region champion that finished as the state runner-up…Batted .493 in the state playoffs and named Marist Defensive Player of the Year…Also a three-year letterman in football as a quarterback, wide receiver, safety and long snapper…A member of the Marist Honor Council and serves as team chaplain in both sports…Summer league action with the East Cobb Braves, going 66-7 with multiple titles including the East Cobb Perfect Game Invitational…Son of Shawn and Renee Sullivan.
“I chose Georgia because Coach Stricklin and his staff have a history of great success and are going to continue to build on the great baseball tradition at UGA,” Sullivan said. “I also want to continue my education at one of the finest Universities in the country.”
Stricklin on Sullivan: “Patrick is one of the finest defensive first baseman we’ve seen, and he swings from the left side with gap-to-gap power. We like his frame, and as he gets stronger, we project he’ll develop more power.”
LJ Talley (INF, 6-3, 195, L-R, Folkston, Ga.)
Attends Charlton County High School where he plays for Thad Marchman…Batted a team-best .515 with eight home runs and 33 RBI plus had 24 stolen bases as a junior shortstop/pitcher…Helped the Indians go 32-3 and win their second straight state championship…Posted a 7-0 record, 1.44 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 48 innings pitched as a junior…Named the Region 2A Offensive Player of the Year and the Georgia Dugout Club Class A Player of the Year…Summer league action with Chain Baseball…Son of Jason and Shea Talley.
“It is an honor to represent my home state and to be given the opportunity to play in the greatest conference in all of college baseball,” Talley said.
Stricklin on Talley: “LJ is a pure left-handed hitter with excellent bat speed. He’s going to hit for average and power. A plus defender at shortstop, he can excel at any position on the infield.”
Shane Tucker (RHP, 6-0, 185, R-R, McDonough, Ga.)
Attends Union Grove High School where he plays for Allen Franklin…Registered a 3-2 mark and 2.52 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched for the Wolverines as a junior…Batted .280-1-10 with 10 stolen bases in 21 starts as team went 16-12…Earned All-Region honors…Summer league action with the East Cobb Yankees…Son of Justin and Jerri Tucker.
“I chose to attend UGA because of the great coaching staff and academics,” Tucker said.
Stricklin on Tucker: “Shane has a great arm and really separated himself as one of the top right-handers in the country. He features a fastball in the low to mid 90s and his off-speed pitches have really started to develop. He is a great athlete that fields his position well. Shane has a bright future.”