Talented baseball newcomers help boost excitement level for Southeastern entering fall

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HAMMOND, La. – As Southeastern Louisiana opened fall practice Wednesday, head baseball coach Matt Riser was excited about the addition of 15 talented newcomers to an already extremely experienced ballclub.

“We didn’t lose much on the mound, but we brought in six or seven guys we feel can contribute by shortening some ballgames for us,” Riser said. “This staff has the ability to be one of the best we’ve ever had in the history of our program.”

The Lions lose just three pitchers off last season’s 37-22 club and return almost 80 percent of the innings logged in 2018.

“This is a veteran team coming back, but we felt like we had some key pieces that needed to be replaced,” Riser said. “Left-handed pitching was one area we needed to develop some depth and I think we addressed that issue. Adding depth behind the plate with a four-year transfer is extremely valuable for us, and to get both [Adam] Sevario and [Trey] Jolly eligible for us after sitting out a season will be helpful. Overall, I think the class addressed the needs we identified.”

Sevario, a redshirt sophomore from Florida International, and Jolly, a redshirt senior from Mississippi State, both sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules. Other newcomers with Division I experience include Noah Hughes, a redshirt junior who spent time on the mound at both Mississippi State and Hinds CC, and catcher Jonathan Parker, a redshirt senior that played last season at Louisiana Tech.

“I’m extremely thankful for our assistant coaches, with Coach [Andrew] Gipson leading the charge on this, putting together another really good class for us – not only for this year but for years to come.”

Other transfers include pitcher Corbin Bozosi (Northeast Texas CC), pitcher Nick Flesher (Community College of Spokane), pitcher Kyle Flettrich (Delgado CC), infielder Elijah Johnson (Tacoma CC) and pitcher Justin Simanek (Tacoma CC).

High school additions include pitcher Hunter Arnold (Central, Louisiana), pitcher Dwain Guice (Gonzales, Louisiana), outfielder/pitcher Brant Husser (Central), pitcher Lane Thomas (Walker, Louisiana), pitcher Grant Upton (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and outfielder/pitcher Zane Zeppuhar (Gonzales).

“This is a year we’ve circled on the calendar to be a big season for us,” Riser said. “The expectations are probably the highest we’ve had in program history and you have that with the veteran leadership of 17 seniors. These additions give this team the ability to be one of the most successful in program history.”

Hunter Arnold – FR – RHP – Central HS – Central, Louisiana
Bio: Two-time state champ and multi-sport letterman at Central HS … tossed a shutout against Sulphur HS in the 2018 state championship game … went 6-3 with a 2.60 ERA … recorded 62 strikeouts while issuing just 23 walks … earned All-District honors in baseball and football.
Riser on Arnold: “I’m extremely excited to add Hunter to this class. I think he has the ability to fall in line with a lot of the really productive freshman arms we’ve had. He’s a big sinkerball guy with a heavy fastball. He has a physical, durable build and he comes from a high school with a championship pedigree.”

Corbin Bozosi – JR – LHP – Northeast Texas CC – Keller, Texas
Bio: Appeared in 20 games, starting 11 as a sophomore in 2018 … compiled a 3-6 record and 53 strikeouts in 54 innings pitched … honorable mention Perfect Game All-American and All-District pitcher at Keller (Texas) HS.
Riser on Bozosi: “He really helps us out from a left-handed pitching standpoint. We were pigeonholed a little bit last year. The great thing about Corbin is he can be a swing guy, starting or relieving. He had a nice career at Northeast Texas as a starter.”

Nick Flesher – JR – LHP – Community College of Spokane – Boise, Idaho
Bio: Appeared in 25 games, starting 23, during his career at CC Spokane … compiled a 13-7 record and 1.98 ERA in 159.1 innings pitched … struck out 133 and walked just 48 … earned multiple All-Region and All-NWAC honors … All-Region Gold Glove and All-Tournament as a sophomore … All-State and All-Conference pitcher as senior at Mountain View HS in Meridian, Idaho.
Riser on Flesher: “We’re excited about adding Nick to the class. Addressing the left-handed pitching depth, we believe he’ll be in contention for a weekend rotation spot.”

Kyle Flettrich – JR – RHP – Delgado CC – Belle Chasse, Louisiana
Bio: Appeared in eight games, starting one, as a sophomore in 2018 … compiled a 1-1 record with a pair of saves in 10.1 innings pitched … appeared in 16 games as a freshman in 2017, all in relief … compiled a 4-2 record and three saves in 32 innings pitched … struck out 36 and walked 14 … limited hitters to a .198 batting average … lettered four years for former Southeastern and MLB pitcher Kirk Bullinger at Archbishop Shaw HS.
Riser of Flettrich: “We have a long history of getting successful arms out of Delgado. He’s a bulldog competitor with a fastball similar to that of former Lion Tate Scioneaux. It has late life and he will sit 90-92 mph with it.”

Dwain Guice – FR – RHP – St. Amant HS – Gonzales, Louisiana
Bio: All-District performer at St, Amant HS … went 7-1 with a 0.90 ERA pitching for the Gauthier Amedee American Legion team this summer … recorded 56 strikeouts in 46.2 innings pitched.
Riser on Guice: “When we first saw Dwain, he was a fastball-slider guy. He’s done a really good job of adding a changeup to the mix. Early in his career, he will probably be more of a reliever, but has the possibility of developing into a starter as the years go along.”

Noah Hughes – JR – RHP – Hinds CC – Ridgeland, Mississippi
Bio: Appeared in 15 games last season at Hinds CC, starting six, as he worked his way back from an injury … averaged 11.12 K/9 with 35 strikeouts in 28.1 innings pitched … received a medical redshirt in 2017 at Mississippi State … pitched in eight games for the Bulldogs as a freshman (2016) before going down to injury … tossed 7.2 innings, striking out six batters and earning a save … 2015 Louisville Slugger High School All-American after going 12-0 with 112 strikeouts and a 1.38 ERA in 76 innings as a senior … also hit .322 with a .444 on-base percentage in his final prep campaign … 2013, 2014 and 2015 Perfect Game All-American … 2015 Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger All-State selection … won three-straight state championships (2013-15) … 2013 Louisville Slugger All-American … 2013 and 2014 Jackson Prep Pitcher of the Year … 2013 and 2014 MAIS Pitcher of the Year and all-state pitcher … went 11-1 as a junior with a 1.21 ERA in 75 1/3 innings, striking out 101 and walking 16 … finished 11-0 as a sophomore with a 2.46 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 68 1/3 stanzas … fanned 30 batters in 37 1/3 frames as a freshman.
Riser on Hughes: “Noah has premium stuff. He comes in with a history of success at the Division I level and has rebounded well from an injury that set him back a couple years ago. We expect him to be a big, backend bullpen piece for us.”

Brant Husser – FR – OF / LHP – Central HS – Central, Louisiana
Bio: Two-time state champion at Central HS … winning pitcher in 2017 championship game … compiled a 9-2 record with a 1.85 ERA and 86 strikeouts as a senior … also hit .358 with 32 RBI and 32 runs scored … earned multiple All-Metro and All-District honors … All-Metro MVP in 2018 as a senior and selected to the LHSAA All-Star game … honorable mention All-State outfielder as a junior.
Riser on Husser: “Brant is the ultimate competitor. He’s an extremely good defender in the outfield and a big-time competitor on the mound. He can fall in line with some of the two-way guys we’ve had, like Drew Avans.”

Trey Jolly – SR – RHP / OF – Mississippi State – New Albany, Mississippi
Bio: Named to the 2017 Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll as a junior at Mississippi State … made 24 relief appearances and saw 29.1 innings of action as a junior, while earning three wins and a save … allowed one run over 3.1 innings of relief in MSU’s Regional Championship-clinching win vs. Southern Miss … named to the 2016 Top Junior College Players to Watch list by Collegiate Baseball … ranked as the 49th best Junior College prospect by Perfect Game … pitched 32.1 innings with 25 K’s while going 2-2 with a 3.62 ERA in his Sophomore season at Hinds Community College … struck out 18 batters in 15.1 innings in his freshman year … 2014 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention High School All-American … Mississippi 3A player of the year in 2014 as a senior at North Pontotoc HS.
Riser on Jolly: “Trey is on his way back to getting healthy and in that process has decided to pick the bat back up. He will swing it in the fall, and hopefully into the spring. We’ll see where he progresses back from his injury on the mound. He has plenty of experience at the college level with two years at Hinds and another season at Mississippi State.”

Elijah Johnson – JR – INF – Tacoma CC – Chehalis, Washington
Bio: Appeared in 44 games as a sophomore at Tacoma CC in 2018 … hit .289 with 11 doubles two home runs and 37 RBI … scored 28 runs and stole 15 bases … walked (25) more times than he struck out (16) … earned All-NWAC honors … earned multiple letters in baseball, basketball and football at W.F. West HS in Chehalis, Washington.
Riser on Johnson: “Eli is a premium defender. He’s a really nice addition late in our class. We fell like he solidifies the corner infield and can hit as well. He has some pop in the bat and will be a doubles guy very similar to Kevin Carr.”

Jonathan Parker – SR – C – Louisiana Tech – New Orleans, Louisiana
Bio: Saw action in 24 games as a junior, and made 16 starts behind the plate, for Louisiana Tech in 2018 … hit .190 with five RBI … did not make an error in 144 chances … hit .384 with three home runs and 40 RBI as a sophomore at Jones County JC in 2017 … led Jones to a DII National NJCAA Championship title (the first WS title for Jones and the first for any JUCO in Mississippi) … hit .310 with 10 doubles and 31 RBI and was named the team’s MVP as a freshman … started 48 consecutive games behind the plate in 2016 … graduated from Brother Martin HS.
Riser on Parker: “We were fortunate to add J.P. this summer late in the class. He’s a four-year transfer that will be immediately eligible. With a big, strong, durable body that reminds us a lot of Chris Eades, he adds depth behind the plate.”

Adam Sevario – SO – UTL – Florida International – Gonzales, Louisiana
Bio: Played in 43 games as a freshman (2017), starting 31, at FIU … hit .289 with one double, scoring 21 runs and driving in another nine … stole one base (four attempts) … third on the team with seven sac bunts … produced seven multi-hit games, including a 4-for-4 performance with three RBI and two runs scored against Charleston Southern (March 10) … drove in the game-tying run in FIU’s 3-2 win over Miami (March 8) … named to Conference USA Academic Honor Roll … Played high school baseball at St. Amant HS … hit .408 with one home run as a senior … MVP of the All-Parish (Ascension) Team.
Riser on Sevario: “Adam sat out last year as a four-year transfer after a great freshman season at FIU. We’re extremely excited for him to now be eligible. He’ll play some infield for us, but will be predominately an outfielder. He’s a nice addition to the top of the lineup with his left-handed bat.

Justin Simanek – JR – RHP – Tacoma CC – Kent, Washington
Bio: Appeared in 23 games, starting 20, during his two seasons at Tacoma CC … compiled an 11-4 record and 3.30 ERA in 103.2 innings pitched … struck out 82 and walked 45 … opponents hit just .218 off the righty … tossed three shutouts in 2018 as a sophomore … earned All-NWAC honors … career 2.68 ERA at Kentridge (Washington) HS … honorable mention All-State.
Riser on Simanek: “Justin is a big-time, physical arm out of the Pacific Northwest. A competitor with premium stuff, the fastball and slider are plus pitches for him, which will allow him to have success out of the backend of the bullpen.”

Lane Thomas – FR – RHP – Walker HS – Walker, Louisiana
Bio: Earned multiple All-Parish and All-District honors … Livingston Parish Pitcher of the Year in 2018 … compiled a 5-5 record and 73 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched … held opposing hitters to a .193 batting average … went 8-4 as a junior with a 1.91 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 81 innings.
Riser on Thomas: “A freshman arm that has a lot of feel for the zone, Lane is a big-time pitchability guy and competitor. I would not be shocked to see some significant innings out of him as a true freshman because of his maturity.”

Grant Upton – FR – RHP – University HS – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Bio: Perfect Game HS All-American … went 9-1 a senior with a 1.49 ERA in 65.2 innings pitched … struck out 78 and walked just 10 batters … allowed only 47 hits … earned All-State and All-District honors … holds school record for strikeouts.
Riser on Upton: “Grant is another one of those arms we talk about falling in line with being a big contributor for us as a true freshman. He’s a big-time sinkerball guy and throws a heavy fastball, like Hunter Arnold. A big competitor coming out of U-High, we expect great things out of him in his career.”

Zane Zeppuhar – FR – OF / LHP – St. Amant HS – Gonzales, Louisiana
Bio: Earned All-District and All-Metro honors at St. Amant HS … hit .433 with 38 RBI and 37 runs scored for Gauthier Amedee’s American Legion team … also went 5-0 on the mound.
Riser on Zeppuhar: “Zane’s a two-way guy with some pop in the bat. He’s a good defender in the outfield and will contribute a lot with his left-handed arm on the mound.”

Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the baseball program are encouraged to join the Diamond Club. Lion baseball alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letter winners. S Club members also gain membership in the Diamond Club.

All membership fees and donations to both the Diamond Club and S Club (baseball) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern baseball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at laa@southeastern.edu or (985) 549-5091.

For more information on Lions Baseball, follow @Lions_Baseball on Twitter, @SLU_LionsBaseball on Instagram, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.

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