By Ben Rikard | @BenRikard
ARLINGTON, Texas – UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas and his staff have announced the signing of four student-athletes for the 2017 baseball roster, plucking three from the Texas high school ranks and a hard-throwing right handed junior college pitcher.
"We are able to meet most of our needs, especially on the mound," Thomas said. "And that leaves us with very little needs to have to go out and get in the spring."
UTA will open up its 2016 campaign on Feb. 19 with a pair of games to open up the UTA Tournament against Oklahoma State and Stephen F. Austin.
Zach Cook | 6-0 | 170 lbs | IF| Flower Mound, Texas(Marcus HS)
Cook is rated as the No. 6 middle infielder in Texas by Perfect Game going into his senior year and was one of four from Flower Mound Marcus High School to ink with Division I programs this November. The 6-0 Cook is a team captain for the Marauders and has earned Perfect Game honorable mention honors during his high school career.
Thomas on Cook: "He's a throwback player who can play multiple premium positions and was one of my favorite players to see this summer. He adds value with a left-handed bat and we feel like he could come in and contribute right away."
Dylan Easterling | 6-4 | 190 lbs | LHP| Murphy, Texas (Plano East HS)
The Mavs add a key piece to the pitching staff with the addition of Easterling, a 6-4 left-handed pitcher who ranks as the No. 7 lefty prospect in Texas in the class of 2016 by Perfect Game. Easterling struck out 19 in just 17 innings as a sophomore at Plano East High School, earning a second team all-district nod. He also turned in a stellar summer of 2014 for his club team, DBAT Bonesio, by posting a 2.24 ERA in 53.1 innings and helping lead that squad to a Mickey Mantle World Series title.
Pitching coach Jon Wente on Easterling: "He's a proven winner and has shown that at every level, including winning a championship on his summer team. Dylan has a very high ceiling and has shown a lot of promise in his early prep career. We really feel like his best days are still ahead of him."
Thomas Shroder | 6-4| 205 lbs | Tucson, Ariz. (Cienega HS/Arizona Western College)
The lone junior college signee for the Mavs is Schroder, who is going into his sophomore season at Arizona Western College looking to build off a stellar freshman campaign. At 6-5, 205 lbs, Schroder made 10 starts for the Matadors last season and posted a 3.09 ERA in 11 appearances, including 10 starts. He threw 58.1 innings in those games, striking out 63, posting a 6-3 record and finishing ranked in the top 10 in multiple statistical categories in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference. He also comes from a quality high school program, playing at Cienega High School (Tucson, Ariz.) for Tony Gabusi, a coach who has spent time on staff for USA Baseball.
Wente on Schroder: "Thomas is a big-body, projectable player who comes with the potential to be a frontline guy for us. He has a power fastball and a pretty good slider, not to mention he is super competitive on the mound and had a really good freshman year at Arizona Western."
Cody Wernli | 6-2 | 205 lbs | RHP | Allen, Texas (Allen HS)
Wernli will join the Mavs on the mound in 2017 after a career at Allen that has seen him enjoy success on both the mound and at the plate. He was named the District 6-6A second team first baseman as a junior, but enters his senior season as one of the top pitching prospects in the state. The 6-2 righty has twice earned all-America recognition from Perfect Game and the outlet has him rated as the No. 19 right-handed pitcher and No. 54 prospect overall in Texas heading into the spring of 2016.
Wente on Wernli: "Cody was heavily recruited before his injury this past year, but he's recovering right on schedule and we feel like he's going to be healthy before the spring of his freshman year. He's someone who we feel like will come in and be an impact for us."
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