November 29, 2012
Wichita State has received a national letter-of-intent from 10 baseball players in the early signing period, Head Coach Gene Stephenson announced Nov. 29.
Ray Ashford, a right-handed pitcher from Sachse, Texas; Reagan Biechler, a left-handed pitcher from Colorado Springs, Colo.; Michael Burns, an infielder from Littleton, Colo.; Austin Gardner, a right-handed pitcher from Coppell, Texas; Connor Goedert, a third baseman from Ottawa, Kan.; Zair Koeiman, an infielder from Willemstad, Curacao; Mitch McIntyre, a right-handed pitcher from Wichita, Kan.; Sam Tewes, a right-handed pitcher from Lincoln, Neb.; Cody Tyler, a left-handed pitcher from Terrell, Texas; and Nathan Winfrey, an infielder from Kansas City, Mo.; have signed national letters-of-intent with the Shockers.
“We feel that this group of incoming Shockers will help significantly to continue the winning tradition that WSU Baseball has enjoyed since its inception in 1978,” Stephenson said. “These young men represent the very best in character, academics and baseball skills to keep Wichita State at the forefront of college baseball. We look forward to their arrival and great contributions to our program. They will fill our projected needs very well.”
Ashford pitched 18.1 innings last spring for Grayson County College. He struck out 11 and had a 2.95 ERA. This summer, he pitched for the Liberal Bee Jays and went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA. He pitched 26.2 innings with 35 strikeouts.
“Ray has a great upside and will continue to develop into a strong Division I pitcher,” Stephenson said. “He will play this spring for Coach Dustin Hart at Grayson County Community College in Texas.”
Last spring for Pine Creek High School, Biechler went 5-2 with a 1.69 ERA and 64 strikeouts. He also hit .354 with four home runs. He earned first team all-conference honors as well as being named Mr. Offense in 2011.
“Reagan is a great student and has just scratched the surface in his development as a pitcher,” Stephenson said.
Burns hit .451 with 24 runs, 32 hits, five doubles, five home runs, 15 RBI and 10 stolen bases last spring for Columbine High School. He also helped the Columbine football team to a Class 5A state title last season and played quarterback.
“Michael is a great athlete with high energy on the field,” Stephenson said. “He has tremendous drive and attitude as a team player. He will be an outstanding leader on and off the field.”
Gardner went 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA last spring for Coppell High School. He pitched 35 innings and struck out 27 and earned first team all-district honors. This summer for the Dallas Tigers, he went 7-0 with a 0.79 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched. Austin is the brother of current Shocker pitcher Kris Gardner.
"Austin is a quality student and pitcher and has great character,” Stephenson said. “He knows how to pitch and has very good control.”
Last spring for Ottawa High School, Goedert hit .548 with 46 runs, 46 hits, 32 RBI, seven home runs, 24 walks, 10 doubles, a .964 slugging percentage and a .649 on base percentage. He also earned all-state honors all four years.
“Connor has potential for good power and can play multiple positions,” Stephenson said. “He has a good arm with ability to become an outstanding hitter. He will play this spring at Neosho County Community College for Coach Steve Murry.”
Koeiman hit .265 with 44 hits, nine doubles, two triples, 35 runs, 35 RBI, six stolen bases and seven home runs last spring for Eastern Oklahoma State. Last summer for the Hays Larks, he hit .310 with eight doubles, seven home runs and 28 RBI.
“Zair is an excellent infielder with much improved hitting ability,” Stephenson said. “He is a good team player who makes everyone around him better. He will play again this spring for Coach Craig Price at Eastern Oklahoma State.”
Last spring for Northwest High School, McIntyre went 4-2 with a 1.58 ERA. He pitched 44.1 innings with 62 strikeouts. He also earned first team all-city honors in 2011. Mitch is the son of former Shocker pitcher Rich McIntyre.
“Mitch has excellent command on the mound for his age,” Stephenson said. “He has a good breaking ball and is a tremendous student in the classroom.”
Tewes went 5-1 with a 1.19 ERA last spring for Waverly High School. He also hit .406 with five home runs. He earned all-state honors as a junior in Class B.
“Sam is an outstanding pitching prospect,” Stephenson said. “He will get much better quickly with better competition. He is also an excellent student.”
Last spring for Forney High School, Tyler went 7-3 with a 2.35 ERA. He pitched 59.2 innings and struck out 82 with 28 walks and earned all-district honors. He was also named Sophomore of the Year and MVP during his high school career.
“Cody is another very good prospect,” Stephenson said. “He is a good student with great work ethic on the field as well. He will become a very good college pitcher with a future beyond in baseball.”
Winfrey hit .485 with 15 doubles, six triples, two home runs and 50 RBI last spring for Liberty High School. He earned all-state, all-district and all-conference honors at shortstop as a sophomore and a junior.
“Nate is a very good high school hitter with potential for good power,” Stephenson said. “We expect Nate to be a positive factor in our program immediately and be versatile defensively.”