Bobcat Baseball Season Preview: Infield and Catchers

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – With this weekend’s season-opening series fast approaching, the No. 4 Georgia College baseball team and head coach Tom Carty will give Bobcat fans an inside look at the defending Peach Belt Conference (PBC) and NCAA Southeast Regional Champions. The preview will be released over the next two days, continuing today with the infield and catchers.

CATCHERS

One of the deepest areas of the field for the 2011 Bobcats, back is a two-time All-PBC selection in Richard Pirkle (Norcross, Ga.). The “Nightmare from Norcross” had an outstanding 2010, hitting .345 with 17 home runs and 65 RBI. Pirkle is a Preseason All-American from the Southeast Region and had a chance to join the pro ranks last summer, but chose to return to Milledgeville for “unfinished business” of a title. Pirkle will provide solid leadership.

Junior Benton Yaun (Marietta, Ga.) allows for a lefthanded option at the catcher spot, and could also see time at designated hitter and first base. Yaun hit .282 with a home run and 19 RBI in 2010.

Sophomore Joe Scott (Warner Robins, Ga.) and senior Billy Henley (Cherrylog, Ga.) add depth behind the plate.

INFIELD

Sophomore Cody Maas (Alpharetta, Ga.) owns the inside track for the first base slot, thanks to hitting well in limited action as a freshman, going .207 with a home run and nine RBI in 18 games. A catcher by trade, he swung the bat well in the fall. Yaun could see time here, as well as Shawn Haley (Canton, Ga.). In his second year with the Bobcats after redshirting 2010, Haley is a converted pitcher with a sloid stick.

Second base belongs to Luke McKay (Augusta, Kan.). The transfer from Cloud Community College in Kansas is a steady and solid fielder with offensive tools. At short is junior Tanner Funk (Kearney, Mo.). Funk is a physical player with a strong arm and will provide solid offensive production in the middle of the order.

Third base belongs to returner Travis Echols (Suwanee, Ga.), a redshirt for the ‘Cats in 2010. Echols came to GC from Young Harris College, and is “as athletic a third baseman as we’ve ever had” according to Carty.

Pushing for playing time at third, second and short will be a pair of freshman in Daniel Bick (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Matthew Robinson (Hull, Ga.). Bick is “pushing for major playing time as a freshman” as his offense is starting to catch up with his plus-side defensive skills.

Robinson is a tough, gritty player that “never gets overmatched” as a hitter. A two-way player, Robinson will factor into the back end of the bullpen as well.

Freshmen Calvin Milano (Phoenixville, Pa.) and Taylor Greene (Cartersville, Ga.) will redshirt this season. Rookie Colton Montgomery (Cartersville, Ga.) will also miss the season with injury. 

With relatively inexperienced infielders at the Division II level, offensive production will come from this group, led by one of the top catchers in the southeast.

The Bobcats begin the 2011 season Friday, Feb. 4 with a 3 p.m. doubleheader at No. 5 University of Tampa.

The Georgia College Department of Athletics, back-to-back winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/GCSUBobcats and www.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.