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Dirtbags Welcome a Dozen Recruits in 2018 Signing Class

Nov. 20, 2017

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Dirtbags head coach Troy Buckley has announced his 2018 Signing Class, which features a dozen incoming players who will join the program for the 2018-19 school year. The class features a mix of five junior college transfers and seven incoming freshmen, and it’s tied with the 2014 signing class as the largest of Buckley’s tenure with the Dirtbags.

“We are excited about this 2018 class, since it addresses immediate needs for the program,” Buckley said. “(Assistant Coach) Dan Ricabal and (Associate Head Coach) Greg Bergeron spent a lot of hours this past summer and fall evaluating in order to put this class together. We feel really good about the quality of pitchers with this class, and the position players will provide immediate competition and depth for next year.”

Here’s a look at each member of the 2018 signing class, along with coach’s insight from Ricabal (pitchers) and Bergeron (position players):

Carlino spent last season at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, Calif. following a prep career at El Capitan High School. He appeared in 36 games for the Jaguars under head coach Jay Martel, scoring 13 runs while also driving in 13. Half of his 22 hits went for extra bases, including eight doubles, two triples and a home run. Carlino spent two seasons on varsity at El Capitan HS, playing for head coach Clayton Curo.

Bergeron: “Victor will bring versatility and athleticism to the infield. He possesses a nice swing with a feel to hit from foul line to foul line.”

Gainey was a two-way player for College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., getting 80 at-bats at the plate while tossing 87 innings on the mound. He comes to the Dirtbags as a right-handed pitching prospect, and served as both a starter and reliever for Giants last season. Gainey made 14 starts, going 6-4 with a 3.62 ERA. He threw one complete game shutout, and also came in to record three saves on the season. At Tehachapi High School, Gainey was a .441 career hitter, posting a .478 batting average as a senior with 19 doubles, two triples and four home runs in 32 games played that season. He also stole 66 bases in 72 attempts over three varsity seasons for the Warriors. During his senior season in 2016, Gainey made 11 starts for Tehachapi HS, going 8-3 with a 0.75 ERA, striking out 80 batters in 74.1 innings.

Ricabal: “Sagun is an athletic right-handed pitcher, with the ability to throw three pitches for strikes. He is versatile, and will make an immediate impact on our pitching staff either as a starter or out of our bullpen.

The 6-foot-1 right-hander started 12 games last season for Sierra College, posting a 4-3 record and a 2.61 ERA. Over 76.0 innings pitched, Gums allowed 27 runs (22 earned) on 68 hits and 33 walks while striking out 78 batters. The Auburn, Calif. native played his prep baseball at Placer High School, where he was also on the football team as a tight end/defensive end. He hit .456 his senior season with 26 hits in just 22 games, scoring 22 runs while driving in 14. On the mound, he lowered his ERA from 3.34 as a sophomore, to 1.64 as a junior, then down to 0.94 as a senior in 2015. He made seven starts that season for the Hillmen, recording four complete games. He struck out 61 batters in 44.2 innings pitched while only allowing 27 hits.

Ricabal: “Tyler is a strong and durable right handed pitcher. We look for Tyler to compete for a weekend starter spot, but he has the stuff and mentality to pitch out of the back end of our bullpen.”

Malm spent the 2017 season at Folsom Lake College, where he appeared in 39 games as an outfielder for the Falcons. He hit .325 in his freshman season, striking out just 15 times in 160 at bats. Malm collected 14 doubles and three home runs, scoring 31 runs and adding 30 RBIs. Malm originally signed with San Jose State out of Whitney HS in Rocklin, Calif. before attending Folsom Lake. At Whitney, Malm was a .500 career hitter over his junior and senior seasons. During that senior season, he hit .587, recording 37 hits in 24 games played. He scored 22 runs and racked up 22 RBIs, while also stealing 14 bases and recording a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in the outfield.

Bergeron: “Aidan is a strong and physical player with a very good feel to hit. He is a solid outfielder with a very strong arm.”

Originally signed with Ohio State out of Forest Hills Central High School in Grand Rapids, Mich. and spent the 2017 season with Central Arizona College. Vander Wal played in 61 games for the Vaqueros, hitting .323 with a .434 on-base percentage. He also stole 15 bases, hit 12 doubles, four triples, and a pair of home runs while leading the team with 44 RBIs. Finished the season on an eight-game hitting streak, going 15-for-26 (.577) with three doubles, a triple and 7 RBIs in those games. He is also the son of former big leaguer John Vander Wal, who had a 14-year MLB career from 1991-2004.

Bergeron: “Jake is a left-handed-hitting outfielder with a mature approach at the plate along with a middle-of-the-order type of physicality. He is very athletic and has shown great instincts in the outfield.”

Carlson has spent the last two seasons as a varsity starter for the Thundering Herd, hitting .287 with a .358 OBP during his junior season. He made just three errors defensively in 112 chances last season, contributing to 16 double plays. Carlson has also helped Elk Grove to consecutive CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 championships in 2016 and 2017, making it three straight section titles for the Thundering Herd. Plays for his father, Jeff, who is the head coach at Elk Grove HS. Tanner’s older brother, Dylan, is a switch-hitting outfielder who was a first-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2017 MLB Draft.

Bergeron: “Tanner is a very instinctual player both offensively and defensively. Tanner brings a blue collar mentality to go along with an advanced approach to the game.”

Hogan will be a three-year varsity player for the Huskies, who have gone a combined 56-15 over the last two seasons. As a shortstop for Reno HS, Hogan follows in the footsteps of former Dirtbags shortstop Garrett Hampson, who is currently moving through the Colorado Rockies organization. Following his junior season, Hogan was named the second-team shortstop on the 2017 Northern Nevada 4A All-Conference team.

Bergeron: “Kaden is extremely athletic with very good speed and a strong arm. He has shown a solid foundation to his fielding, possessing a good feel with the glove, and he comes from a quality and well-respected program.”

Pacheco is a left-handed pitcher/first baseman at Segerstrom HS in Santa Ana, where he won Golden West League MVP as a junior in 2017. He helped lead the Jaguars to a 21-11 record and a league championship last season. Pacheco was a first team All-CIF selection for Division 4, and was named All-Orange County by the OC Register following his junior campaign, checking in as the second-team first baseman. Also, according to the school’s athletics website, he is the first Segerstrom High baseball player to receive a Division I scholarship.

Ricabal: “Basilio is an athletic left-handed pitcher from Segerstrom High School who continues to mature with every outing. Since committing to being a Dirtbag, he has increased his strength, and we’ve seen a significant jump in velocity. His athleticism and quick arm is what caught our attention, but now his ability to pitch is taking the forefront. He is trending in the right direction, and with that, he should come in as a freshman and compete for a significant role on our staff.”

Platero is a right-handed pitcher for Beckman HS in Tustin, where he helped the Patriots to a 21-7 record in 2017 serving both as a starting pitcher and a closer. He plays for head coach Kevin Lavalle at Beckman and also plays with Quakes Baseball Academy in Lake Forest.

Ricabal: “Jared is a big, strong, and physical right-handed pitcher who has above-average stuff. He is still learning to pitch, and his arm strength continues to improve, so we expect Jared to come in as a freshman and compete for valuable innings immediately.”

Rozell is a talented infielder from Northern California, who will be a four-year varsity contributor at Lincoln HS. His numbers have improved each year of his career, culminating in a .434 batting average in his junior season. He is a career .394 hitter at the varsity level with 77 hits, 94 runs scored and 36 RBIs in 76 games played. Rozell is also a very effective baserunner, going 51-for-51 in stolen base attempts the last two seasons, earning All-Pioneer Valley League recognition. This past summer, the shortstop was invited to participate in the 2017 Area Code Games at Blair Field, representing NorCal’s Oakland Athletics squad.

Bergeron: “Brennan is a very athletic infielder that possesses quick feet, a solid glove, and a strong arm. He has a solid approach at the plate with an above average run tool and solid instincts on the bases.”

Ruiz started six games as a junior at Santa Fe HS in Norwalk, going 5-1 with a 0.86 ERA last season. He allowed just three extra-base hits in 32.2 innings pitched while striking out 34. He also played outfield for the Chiefs and was a .368 hitter. Ruiz helped lead Santa Fe to a 20-12 record and a Del Rio League title in 2017 and was named Second Team All-Area by the Whittier Daily News.

Ricabal: “Alfredo has a tremendous feel for pitching, with three above-average pitches that he can command in the strike zone. He is competitive, and attacks hitters aggressively. Alfredo, with his ability to throw strikes and compete, will have a chance to play a significant role as a freshman.”

Sheck is a big, versatile infielder from nearby South HS in Torrance. He committed just two errors as a junior, totaling a .971 fielding percentage for the Spartans. Sheck received High Honorable Mention status on the 2017 Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All-American Team. As a younger baseball player, won the 2013 Babe Ruth World Series with the El Segundo 13-year-old All-Star Team.

Bergeron: “Josh has shown great versatility on defense, being able to play SS, 1B, 3B as well as catch. He is also a switch hitter who has demonstrated a solid approach from both sides of the plate.”

Long Beach State begins the 2018 season with a home series against Saint Mary’s, starting Feb. 16 at Blair Field. Secure your season tickets now and don’t miss a moment of another exciting season of Dirtbags Baseball!



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