By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – With a roster full of upper classmen and draft-eligible prospects, the Tennessee Tech baseball team hit the recruiting trail with a plan to keep the winning tradition of the Golden Eagles alive and well for 2019 and beyond.
Head coach Matt Bragga and assistants Justin Holmes and Mitchell Wright turned in a fantastic year on the road while building yet another extraordinary signing class. Each of the team's 10 incoming players for the 2019 season offer tremendous upside with potential to make an instant impact on Tech's hunt for another Ohio Valley Conference championship and the always challenging berth into the postseason.
"We are so fortunate to have Coach Holmes as our recruiting coordinator," Bragga said. "He is so good at what he does. He has an incredible plan and works with such an upbeat motor, not to mention he possesses a great eye for talent and incredible people skills. Coach Wright is also an integral part our recruiting process here at Tennessee Tech and does a fabulous job helping to get the 'right' young men to TTU.
"With this recruiting class, we again have the exact young men that were born to go to school and play baseball at Tennessee Tech. This is a phenomenal group of great baseball players and high-character student-athletes. We are thrilled to have them committed to our program here at TTU."
Here's a look at the early signees of the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle baseball team Class of 2018:
|Jacob Cole - RHP | 6-2 | 205
Hometown: Mount Juliet, Tenn.
High School: Mount Juliet HS
Previous School: Vol State CC
Travel Team: Nashville Knights
|In nearly two seasons at Vol State, Cole has tossed a remarkable 135 and one third innings, posting a 4.19 ERA with 119 strikeouts and 10-8 record. This year alone, he has raked up 64 strikeouts in 64 and a third innings while posting a 3.64 ERA. While at Mount Juliet High School, the right-hander earned All-District honors in 2015 and led the team to a District 9AAA title in 2016. As a junior, he finished 5-1 with an 0.84 ERA in 41 and a third innings pitched. The next season, as a senior, he completed 29 innings for a 1.25 ERA and 4-0 record.|
|John Dyer - INF | 6-1 | 220
Hometown: Mount Juliet, Tenn.
High School: Mount Juliet HS
Travel Team: Five Star National
|A two-sport athlete at Mount Juliet High School, Dyer lettered three years as a corner infielder and pitcher, earning 2018 Perfect Game Pre-Season All-Southeast Region honors and Perfect Game WWBA All-Tournament honors in both 2016 and 2017. As a sophomore, he led MJHS to the District 9AAA title, batting .299 with 14 RBI and a .438 on base percentage. He improved those numbers as a junior, posting a .386 average and .513 on base percentage with 21 RBI. As of April 24, Dyer was boasting a monster senior campaign, compiling 23 RBI with a .434 batting average and .494 on base percentage. He also earned 2018 All-District First Team honors as a member of MJHS' bowling team.|
|JD Funk - OF | 6-0 | 202
Hometown: Rochester, N.H.
High School: Cheshire Academy (Conn.)
Travel Team: East Cobb New England Expos
|A five-year letterwinner as an outfielder at Cheshire Academy, Funk led his team to championships in both 2016 and 2017. He earned 2017 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention accolades and followed it up with 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American honors. Additionally he was named to the 2018 Perfect Game All-Northeast Region Second Team honors.|
|Jason Hogan - INF | 5-10 | 190
Hometown: Ardmore, Ala.
High School: Ardmore HS
Travel Team: Triton Rays
|Playing both baseball and football at Ardmore High School, Hogan has racked up numerous honors and led his team to multiple titles. He earned All-County honors all four years and All-State Honorable Mention status as a junior. On the football team, he earned All-County accolades as a linebacker and wide receiver. Leading his team to area titles four times, Hogan took his team to the state semifinals in 2017. For his career, the infielder batted .362 with a staggering .545 on base percentage and 100 RBI. He scored 107 runs while totaling 29 doubles, four triples and nine home runs. As a senior, he hit .417 with a ridiculous .689 on base percentage and 31 runs scored.|
|Mark Leonard - RHP | 6-3 | 210
Hometown: Lexington, Ky.
High School: West Jessamine HS
Previous School: Florence-Darlington Tech
Travel Team: Kentucky Baseball Club
|Joining the Golden Eagles from Florence-Darlington Tech, Leonard has already led his team to a regular season championship while tossing 56 innings with 58 strikeouts for a 4-2 record. The right hander posted 41 and a third innings, a 5-2 record and 40 punch outs in 2017, combining with current Tech southpaw, Alex Hursey, to lead FDTC to a Region 10 title, an Eastern District title and JUCO World Series appearance. Leonard was a pitcher at West Jessamine High School, earning All-District Team honors in 2016 and Region Tournament MVP honors in 2015. He led WJHS to four district titles, two region championships and the 2016 state title. As a junior, he tossed 50 innings while earning nine wins and posting 64 strikeouts.|
|Will Long - RHP | 6-3 | 205
Hometown: Limestone, Tenn.
High School: David Crockett HS
Travel Team: CBC Baseball
|A catcher for four years for head coaches Scott Hagy and Nick Lingerfelt, Long will join the Golden Eagles after an impressive prep career on the diamond. In his career, he has earned two All-Conference honors, a spot ont he JC Press Super 22 Team, a spot on the TBCA Team Tennessee, Perfect Game All-American Honorable Mention honors and Perfect Game Preseason All-Region honors. As as sophomore, he hit .406. He followed it up with a .354 average, three home runs, 15 doubles, 24 RBI, 18 walks and 27 runs during his junior campaign.|
Caleb Morgon - RHP | 6-2 | 205
|Boasting a pedigree of success at the highest level of junior college baseball, Morgan will join Tech after a decorated career at Hinds Community College. In 2018, he earned MACJC First Team All-State honors tossed 44 and two thirds innings while sporting a 1.81 ERA, opponent batting average of .232 and 55 strikeouts to just 13 walks. He finished 4-3 on the year. As a freshman, he led HCC to a JUCO World Series appearance with an 8-2 record, 63 and one third innings pitched, 66 punch outs, 28 walks and a 2.70 ERA. He was named MACJC First Team All-State as well. Morgan enjoyed a fantastic high school career at Grenada High School, completing his senior campaign with an 0.35 ERA, 96 Ks and 16 walks on the hill while batting .392 with five home runs in the outfield.|
|Thomas Saliba - RHP | 6-1 | 185
Hometown: Knoxville, Tenn.
High School: Webb School of Knoxville
Travel Team: Diamond Baseball
|A decorated three-sport athlete, Saliba played four positions as a member of the district and region championship baseball team, excelling as a right-handed hurler. As a senior, he compiled a 1.04 ERA and 6-1 record in 40 innings, along with 57 strikeouts. The year before, he totaled 52 Ks, a 2.21 ERA, a 4-3 record and two saves in 52 and two thirds innings. His sophomore year was just as impressive, as he turned in a 4-2 record, 2.02 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 45 innings. Throughout his high school career, Saliba earned District MVP honors, Rookie of the Year honors, three All-District honors, and a TBR Super Sophomore Team nod. After a year on the varsity football team as a sophomore, he spent his final two years as a member of the bowling team, representing his school at the state championships.|
|Jack Schad - C | 6-1 | 195
Hometown: Marietta, Ga.
High School: Walton HS
Travel Team: East Cobb Colt 45's
|On his way to Cookeville for the 2019 season, Schad was a three-year backstop for the Walton High School baseball team. During his career, he led the team to region championships in both 2015 and 2017. As a sophomore, the slugger helped WHS capture a state title just a season after the team finished the year as state runner-ups. In his senior campaign, Schad batted .333 with a .514 on base percentage and .615 slugging percentage. He smash five home runs, five doubles and a triple during his senior season as well.|
|Andrew Swanson - OF | 6-4 | 215
Hometown: Acworth, Ga.
High School: Allatoona HS
Previous School: Dyersburg State CC
Travel Team: Team Elite Prime
|Keeping the recent tradition of former Dyersburg State players joining the Golden Eagles, Swanson comes to Tech after missing a good chunk of the 2018 season due to injury. Prior to the ailment, the outfielder was batting .297 with 21 runs scored, three doubles, four home runs and 19 RBI in just 27 games. As a freshman, Swanson joined current Tech second baseman, John Ham, to lead DSCC to a 48-9 record, conference and regional titles and an appearance in the JUCO World Series. He batted .358 with 15 dingers, 14 doubles and a .679 slugging percentage on his way to Conference Player of the Year honors and an All-American nod. At Allatoona High School, he led both his baseball and basketball teams to district and region titles each season he participated. As a senior, he earned All-Region honors for baseball.|