2019 Niner Baseball Thread

Seems like a good time to start this thread since the 2019 roster has been updated. Lets start with that.

In addition to the Seniors we lost and JR Reece Hampton that was drafted, the following players are no longer listed on the roster from last year:

19 Zack Smith So. INF/C
6 Levi McLaughlin Jr. INF
20 Chase Haywood Fr. OF
12 J.C. Ouzts Fr. RHP

Two of those were freshman that didn’t play last year. Levi McLaughlin was a juco who battled injuries last year and only started 1 game. He transferred out.

The big name here is Zack Smith. He was our back-up catcher who started several games behind the plate, at 1B, or at DH the past 2 seasons. After being drafted out of HS he struggled at times, but I was looking forward to his Junior campaign. Not sure what happened or where he is headed.

Now the newcomers. We have 7 JUCOs, 2 transfers (1 will sit this year, 1 sat last), and 8 freshmen.

2 Carson Johnson Jr. INF 5-10 165 Springdale, Ark. Springdale HS Connors State
11 Patrick Wheeler Jr. OF 5-10 170 Fuquay-Varina, Va. Holly Springs HS Pitt CC
33 Ethan Earhart Jr. LHP 5-11 190 Plainview, Texas Plainview HS Seward County CC
34 Ryan Czanstkowski Jr. RHP 6-2 190 Mountain Home, Ark. Mountain Home HS Connors State
36 Rafi Vazquez Jr. 1B/RHP 6-1 210 Annadale, Va. Bishop O’Connell Florence-Darlington Tech
39 Spencer Ard Jr. LHP 6-1 185 Weatherford, Okla. Weatherford HS Redlands CC
45 Austin Lynch Jr. OF 5-10 175 Houston, Texas Jersey Village HS R

6 Josh Haney Fr. INF 5-11 175 Stanley, N.C. Southlake Christian
12 Riley Cheek Fr. INF 5-11 165 Shelby, N.C. Crest HS
13 Mason Herbert Fr. RHP 6-3 185 Canton, N.C. Pisgah HS
19 Bryce McGowan Fr. RHP 6-1 190 Cary, N.C. Cary HS
20 Carter Foster Fr. C 6-0 186 Yadkinville, N.C. Forbush HS
28 Justin Offschanka Fr. RHP 6-4 188 Huntersville, N.C. Hough HS
29 Alec Roberts Fr. OF 6-3 215 Alexandria, Va. West Potomac HS
35 Will Palinkas Fr. RHP 6-5 205 Matthews, N.C. Providence HS

38 Kyle Gensler So. INF 6-2 190 Cary, N.C. Cary HS USC Upstate*** **Sitting in 2019
44 Jacob Whitley R-So. C 6-2 205 Clemmons, N.C. West Forsyth HS Gardner-Webb


I’m excited to see how these guys fit in. As of now we have SS, CF, and RF as open spots. We have starters returning everywhere else.

Carson Johnson had a big summer and should compete at SS. Rafi Vazquez started his career at Coastal Carolina and got some playing time there as a Freshman. He ended up at JUCO last year and won player of the year in his conference. Could be a two-way player, big lefty bat, and RHP. Austin Lynch and Patrick Wheeler were both leadoff guys and played CF for their respective teams last year. They could battle for the CF spot with the returning guys.

We lost lots of our bullpen depth last year to graduation. Hopefully the incoming JUCO guys can provide quality veteran depth.

Out of the Freshmen we have 2 All-State players in the state of NC in this class(Carter Foster & Riley Cheek), and several local guys. Personally, I’m most excited to see Alec Roberts. At 6’3" 215, the guy looked like a grown man playing against boys in his HS highlights. He played with a Collegiate Summer team this summer so hopefully his transition will be a little easier this fall.

At first glance, this is one of the deepest rosters we’ve had in a while. There will be lots of competition this Fall and that is always a good thing.


clt provides 2020 signee


Gensler bros were great hoopsters for the Imps… made it to the state championship. His bro Cory plays for Campbell basketball.

Thanks for the update Mr. B.


2k tweeted this out but worth mentioning here, we are hiring a Director of Baseball Operations. We have had this position for a year or so in the past but it was an unpaid grad student. Very nice to see this investment in the program.

By my count, we were one of three teams in C-USA without a Director of Ops or Director of Player Development position. It will definitely take some of the day to day load off of the staff so they can focus on coaching and recruiting.


clt says mr bojangles is the man for this job

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I saw Carter Foster play in a legion game this summer. He’s fairly tall and lanky for a catcher but had decent arm strength and good power to the opposite field. I don’t think he’ll surpass our returning catcher but I believe he could step in and provide some depth at the position and look forward to seeing him develop over the next few years.


We can’t afford Mr. Bo.

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Good to hear cds. Hopefully a fall in the weight room will help him fill out his tall frame. He was supposedly a late bloomer that we got in on early. I hope he keeps developing and becomes a big time player for us.

With Zack Smith leaving, we have Harris Yett returning as the starter behind the plate, then Foster will battle with transfer from Gardner-Webb Jacob Whitley. Whitley’s numbers at GW are not impressive, but he had decent stats in the CPL this summer for the HiToms.

My hope is to see Foster have a good enough fall for him to be our weekday catcher when Yett needs a day here and there. Yett started 37 games behind the plate last year and Smith started 21.

clt says check out the new Kentucky baseball facility. $50M


That’s what the $EC money will get you. It seems like every team in the $EC is building something equivalent to BB&T Ballpark. Mississippi State just built a $55 million stadium.

Here we are at Charlotte, excited about finally getting a $850,000 indoor facility. The facilities arms race in baseball is almost as crazy as college football. I think ours are pretty good for C-USA, but are below average for the teams in the Carolinas.

The 2019 Schedule is leaking out bit by bit as other teams announce them. Last year’s runner-up in the CWS, Arkansas released their today and we play there for a 2 game mid-week series in March.

Another good non- conference series we have lined up is Kent State coming to the Hayes for 3. They had an RPI of 59 last year. Arkansas was at 2. They were 1 caught foul ball away from winning the National Championship last year.

Other than those 2, we open up at home vs Deleware (RPI 158) and have 3 games scheduled for Uptown at BB&T Ballpark.

clt points that BB&T field was $54M


Mr. B says that the Charlotte Knights should join the SEC.

clt says they would actually need to upgrade facilities

The NCAA has a new rule for baseball that allows up to 2 fall exhibition games vs other colleges that do not count against the 56 regular season game schedule.

We will be playing on the road at Virginia Tech (Sept 14) for one of those games, and hosting a team that hasn’t been announced yet at the Hayes this Fall.

Tyro, check my PM to you. Thanks.

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