Louisiana Tech finalizes 2019 baseball signing class

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RUSTON, La. – On Friday afternoon, Louisiana Tech head baseball coach Lane Burroughs announced the completion of the signing class for the upcoming 2019 season along with the updated fall roster, featuring 13 newcomers to the program.

Last season, the Bulldogs notched 39 wins, making it three consecutive seasons with 35 or more triumphs (first time since 1989), and return a strong nucleus, including the entire starting pitching rotation and eight of nine starting position players from a season ago.

“I just can’t say enough about the efforts of our coaches and the class they put together,” Burroughs remarked. “When you talk about recruiting, it’s a lifestyle and a never ending cycle. Everyone plays a role in putting together a class. Administrators, players, academics, strength staff and many more. We want to thank everyone that played a role, especially Travis Creel who did a wonderful job coordinating these efforts. Recruiting takes so much time away from families, from being at the park, on the phone and visits. I want to send along a huge thank you to all our coaches’ families as well and the sacrifices they made. It truly is a total TEAM effort. We feel like we addressed some immediate needs and set up our program for continuous progression, especially from an offensive standpoint. We are very excited about these young, talented position players.”

#1, Champ Artigues, INF
5-10, 175, L/R, Fr., HS
Hammond, La. (St. Thomas Aquinas HS)
• Member of the 2018 LBCA Composite All-State Team
• A 2018 Second Team ALL-USA Louisiana Team selection
• Named Hitter of the Year in the 2018 LBCA All-Region 9 Team
• 2018 1st Team LSWA All-State Team
• Named District MVP as a senior
• As a senior, hit .453 while slugging .716 with 43 hits – 19 of which went for extra bases
• Led St. Thomas to a 2016 2A state championship title
Comments from Burroughs:
“Champ is a ball player. He has grown up around the game and he plays the game the right way and the way we like to play. He has a tremendous baseball IQ. Champ is one of those guys that forces you to play him. He really handles the bat and knows how to pressure a defense in multiple ways. Advanced defender that could play multiple positions. His level of toughness and maturity far exceed his years. Being the son of a coach, he is well equipped to know what it takes to win a championship at this level.”

#38, Beau Billings, RHP
6-4, 225, L/R, Fr., HS
Houston, Texas (Cypress Falls HS)
• Graduated from Cypress Falls High School in 2018
• 2018 Perfect Game Texas Region Honorable Mention
• 2017 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention
• Named Second Team All-District as a senior
• Earned Academic All-District honors this past season
Comments from Burroughs:
“Beau is a big, physical, right-handed arm that has the ability to throw from multiple angles with tremendous command. He prepped in one of the best baseball areas in the country. Beau’s better days are ahead of him and his makeup is off the charts. Definitely checks all the boxes in what we look for in a player and young man.”

#18, Dalton Dinkel, C
6-1, 210, R/R, Jr., JC
Wichita, Kan. (Cowley College)
• Named First Team all-conference and Second Team all-region in 2018
• Hit .400 with six home runs and 40 RBI this past season as a sophomore at Cowley
• Led Cowley to back-to-back conference titles
• AVCTL First Team Catcher 2014-16
• 2016 Wichita All-Metro Catcher of the Year, AVCTL Player of the Year, First Team all-state catcher
• Over high school career hit .417 with 100 hits, 24 doubles, six triples, and six home runs
Comments from Burroughs:
“Dalton is a high-energy leader behind home plate. His dad is a coach, so he has been around the game and understands what it takes to be great. He comes to us from one of the most tradition-rich, successful JUCO programs in the country. Dalton put up great numbers at Cowley and we look forward to him adding value to our program”

#37, Bryce Fagan, RHP
6-4, 210, R/R, R-Jr., JC
Petal, Miss. (Jones County JC)
• As a redshirt freshman, Fagan was 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 18.2 innings pitched
• Member of JCJC’s 2016 National Championship team
• Earned two letters for Petal High School
• Named offensive MVP in high school
• Hit .330 while posting a 2.25 ERA in high school
Comments from Burroughs:
“Bryce is another tall and loose arm that throws from multiple arm angles. He possesses a tremendous feel for the split. Comes from two baseball powerhouses that our staff knows and respects in Petal High School and Jones County Junior College. Obviously won a National Championship in Junior College and will rejoin four of his JC teammates. We are extremely excited about what Bryce will immediately add to our staff”

#19, Manny Garcia, OF
6-0, 200, R/R, Jr., JC
Caguas, Puerto Rico (Northeast Texas CC)
• Led NTCC with a .389 average last season as a sophomore, collecting 74 hits, 16 doubles 14 home runs and 56 RBI, while swiping 11 bases
• Named to the 2018 Region 14 All-Region Team
• Paced NTCC to a 35-22 record last season
• Played both baseball and volleyball in high school
• Took MFP Puerto Rico 18U to the AABC Connie Mack World Series
Comments from Burroughs:
“Manny is a versatile defender that we feel will hit in the middle of the order. He brings power and tremendous energy to our TEAM. Manny plays the game with passion and is a definite student of the game. This young man loves to play baseball. Played for Andy Morgan at Northeast Texas who was a former assistant of mine. Great baseball man and we know Manny will be prepared for the grind of C-USA.”

#39, Luke Honeycutt, RHP
5-11, 195, L/R, Fr., HS
Calhoun, La. (West Ouachita HS)
• Named First Team all-district, all-NELA, all-state and all-Ouachita Parish as a senior
• As a junior, posted an ERA of 2.47 and went 7-3 as a starter
• Also hit .385 with 35 RBI during his junior season
• Posted a career win-loss mark of 33-8
• Earned all-district honors in each of his four years in high school
Comments from Burroughs:
“Luke had a tremendous career at West Ouachita, which is always one of the tougher programs in the state. Coach Thomas does a tremendous job and his players are always prepared for college baseball. Luke knows how to pitch and pounds the strike zone with multiple pitches. He is an outstanding student of the game and a very mature young man. We are excited about watching Luke progress and become a force on our staff”

#12, Blake Johnson, INF
5-11, 185, R/R, Jr., TR
Benton, Ken. (John A. Logan CC)
• Attended Shawnee CC in 2016-17 and transferred to John A. Logan last season
• In 2017-18, batted .345 with nine home runs
• Hit .442 as a freshman at Shawnee
• Posted a .428 career average while attending Marshall County High School
• Earned all-district, all-region and all-tournament accolades while lettering in baseball all four years in high school
Comments from Burroughs:
“Blake is a winner and a very tough kid. His level of maturity and the way he approaches the game definitely drew us to Blake. He also comes from a winning program where they do things the right way. We are expecting Blake to come in and compete immediately for a spot in the middle infield. He is the type of young man that fits our culture. He’s blue collar and plays with an edge.”

#29, Dane Kapande, RHP
6-0, 180, R/R, Jr., JC
Evergreen, Colo. (Hill College)
• Spent the past two seasons at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas
• As a freshman, he posted a 4-3 record across eight appearances while striking out 46
• Graduated from Evergreen High School in 2016
• Earned three letters in baseball while at Evergreen
Comments from Burroughs:
“Dane comes to Tech from Hill College which produced recent Bulldog pitchers Nate Harris and Cam Linck. One of our few JUCO arms that we expect to come in and add to our staff immediately. He has an arsenal of upper 80’s low 90’s FB with a swing-and-miss breaking ball. Hard working young man that is extremely intelligent. This will serve him well navigating through a tough C-USA.”

#15, Philip Matulia, C
6-2, 200, L/R, Fr., HS
Kingwood, Texas (St. Thomas HS)
• Earned First Team all-state (twice) and all-Houston honors at St. Thomas HS
• As a senior, hit .398 with 47 hits, five doubles two triples, nine home runs and 46 RBI
• As a junior, he helped lead St. Thomas to a 30-5 record and a state championship title
• Lettered in baseball all four years at St. Thomas
• 2018 Rawlings PG Honorable Mention (All-American, Texas-All Region First Team)
Comments from Burroughs:
“Phillip was quite frankly one of the better catching and hitting prospects in the entire state of Texas this past season. He had a chance to go very high in the MLB draft, but expressed his desire to attend school. Phillip is a physical, advanced left-handed hitter that should experience great success at the Love Shack. We are thrilled that Phillip chose Tech and you will hear a lot about this young man in the years to come.”

#7, Adarius Myers, OF
5-10, 185, R/R, Fr., HS
Seminary, Miss. (Seminary HS)
• Back-to-back Mississippi 3A Player of the Year
• Earned First Team all-district honors from 2015-18
• First Team all-state as a junior and senior
• Hit .467 with 11 doubles, nine home runs, while stealing 23 bases as a senior at Seminary
• As a junior he hit .472 on 51 base knocks and scored 39 runs, propelling Seminary to State Champion Runner-Up honors
• Posted a career average of .463 and a career OBP of .523 while at Seminary
Comments from Burroughs:
“AD is a flat-out baller. We are extremely excited that he chose Louisiana Tech. The skill set is obvious with his back-to-back Mississippi 3A Player of the Year awards, but his makeup and desire to get better every day is what sets Adarius apart. We targeted him very early and he will add so much value to our program. This young man loves to play and compete and that fits perfectly in our organization. We are so excited about this young man.”

Myles Simmons, INF
6-2, 175, R/R, Fr., HS
Clinton, La. (Silliman Institute)
• Earned letters in football (3), basketball (1), track (3) and baseball (3)
• Earned the Scholastic Award, Wildcat Award, Silver Slugger Award and was named First Team All-District in baseball
• Hit .393 as a senior, .373 as a junior and .397 as a sophomore
• Won state championships in football (2015), baseball (2016) and track (2018)
• Graduated from the Silliman Institute in 2018
Comments from Burroughs:
“Myles is a tremendous athlete that could factor at numerous positions. He is a tremendous young man and student. I think Myles’ best days are ahead of him. He is an extremely hard worker and his versatility will only help him as he progresses. His makeup and character are off that charts, which is huge in our program.”

Wes Tatum, OF
5-11, 180, L/L, Fr., HS
West Monroe, La. (West Monroe HS)
• Graduated from West Monroe High School in 2018
• Named to the 2018 District 2-5A All-District First Team
• 2018 Rawlings Perfect Game Southeast Region Honorable Mention
• Helped lead the Rebels to a 38-3 overall record (15-0 in district) as a junior
Comments from Burroughs:
“Wes comes to us from one of the best high school programs in the country. He really came into his own in his senior year at West Monroe. He is a really good athlete that can pressure a defense with his speed and is physical enough that his bat can play with occasional power. We are looking forward to watching him progress and adapt to the college game.”

#45, Bryce Wallace, OF
6-2, 185, L/L, Fr., HS
Bastrop, La. (Ouachita Christian HS)
• Graduated from Ouachita Christian in 2018
• Earned Class 2A All-State accolades as a junior
• Paced OCS to a state runner-up finish in 2017
• Member of the Eagles’ 2015 state championship team
• Also a three-year starter in football as a wide receiver/defensive back, earning Class 1A All-State honors as a senior
Comments from Burroughs:
“We are extremely excited that Bryce chose Louisiana Tech. He had other opportunities, but he wanted to be a Bulldog. This young man is an advanced hitter and put up big numbers at one of the best baseball programs in the state. OCS has been good to the Bulldogs with an impressive lineage to Tech, and I expect Bryce to continue that trend. Bryce will have early opportunities to crack a veteran lineup, because of his ability to hit for average and power, but more importantly, because of his makeup and work ethic. He is a great athlete and tremendous young man that was raised right. He will fit perfectly into our culture and clubhouse.”

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