Fourth-year head coach Rob Smith announced the addition of four players to the Ohio baseball program's 2016-17 recruiting class.
May 4, 2016
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ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball program has added left-handed pitcher Nick Byrnes (Cincinnati, Ohio), infielder Gus Cunningham (Fort Myers, Fla.), outfielder Jack Longo (Mayfield, Ohio) and catcher Dan McCauley (Sewickley, Pa.) as part of its 2016-17 recruiting class, fourth-year head coach Rob Smith announced on Wednesday (May 4).
"We're excited about the four guys that we've committed here in the second signing period,” said Smith. "We think they'll continue to add more depth to the class and certainly add more depth to our roster heading into next year.”
The foursome joins left-handed pitcher Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio), left-handed pitcher Derek Carr (Newark, Ohio), catcher/infielder Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.), left-handed pitcher Cole Shinsky (Butler, Pa.) and infielder Tyler Smith (Centennial, Colo.) as part of the early signing period of Ohio's 2016-17 recruiting class.
Byrnes, a 6-1, 180-pound southpaw, helped lead Moeller High School to a 2015 Ohio High School Athletics Association state title in 2015 under head coach Tim Held. The No. 41-rated play in Ohio according to Perfect Game, he has earned two varsity letters with Crusaders. He also garnered Central Region Honorable Mention from Perfect Game. He has also competed for the Cincinnati Baseball Club. Byrnes is a four-year honor roll student at Moeller. Born Dec. 19, 1997, Byrnes is the son of Terry and Diane and has a brother, Scott, and two sisters, Robyn and Kelly. Scott played baseball at Purdue and spent two years in the Toronto Blue Jays organization while Robyn played volleyball at Miami and Kelly played volleyball at Findlay.
"Nick's got good arm action,” said Smith. "He's still very much developing and a kid that, I think, with additional training can become a solid left-handed pitcher for us at this level.”
Cunningham, a 6-2, 180-pound infielder, helped guide Canterbury High School to back-to-back Florida High School Athletic Association final four appearances in 2014 and '15 under head coach Frank Turco. The Cougars are ranked among the top-25 teams in Florida in 2016 according to Perfect Game, MaxPreps and Prep Baseball. Cunningham earned all-state honors in 2014 and was named Defensive Player of the Year in '15. He has also competed for Southwest Florida Baseball under John Cedarburg and Pete Saez. In addition to his work on the diamond, Cunningham also captained Canterbury's football team in 2015. In the classroom, he is a High Honor Roll student and member of the Scholar-Athlete Society. Born July 30, 1998, Cunningham's grandfather, Ron Youngblom, played both baseball and basketball at Southern Mississippi.
"Gus is a very good defensive player,” said Smith. "He's an athletic kid with a projectable body. I really like his actions. I think he's going to be a heck of an infielder. Offensively, he's got the makings of a really good swing, and I think there's a good foundation there to also become a solid offensive contributor as well.”
Longo, a 6-0, 170-pound outfielder, has earned three varsity letters at Mayfield High School under head coach Don Ramer. He is a .409 career hitter with 79 hits – including 21 doubles, eight triples and a home run – to go along with 69 RBIs and 28 stolen bases. He earned All-Western Reserve Conference honors in both 2014 and '15 and was honored by Prep Baseball as a 2016 Division I Preseason All-State pick. Prep Baseball also ranks Longo as the No. 5 outfielder in Ohio in the 2016 class. In addition to baseball, Longo has also earned three varsity letters in football and received all-conference honors in 2015. Longo is an Honor Roll student at Mayfield. The son of Mark and Lisa Longo, he has a sister, Chelsey, and two brothers, Lee and Mitch. Lee played baseball at Eastern Michigan while Mitch is a junior outfielder for the Bobcats and the reigning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year.
"Jack is a very athletic, fast kid,” said Smith. "His speed tool is certainly a huge benefit, and we're excited about helping him develop the other parts of his game. Much like Mitch, he's just a very good athlete and competitor.”
McCauley, a 5-11, 195-pound catcher, has earned three varsity letters at North Allegheny High School under head coach Andy Maddix and is currently hitting .417 for the Tigers as a senior captain. He has also competed for Steel City Wildcats for two years at the club level under head coach Mark Saghy, hitting at a .387 clip with 31 RBIs. McCauley comes to the Bobcats as a Scholar-Athlete. Born July 20, 1998, McCauley is the son of Mike and Lori and has two brothers, Brennan and Ryan.
"Dan is a very good defensive catcher,” said Smith. "He's got a chance to be a solid offensive player as well, which is hard to find at that position. We're really excited about him coming in and adding more depth to our catching staff. He's a really nice young player to develop.”
Ohio (20-23, 5-10 MAC) returns to Mid-American Conference play this weekend at Bob Wren Stadium, playing host to West Division foe Central Michigan (12-32, 6-9 MAC). The series opener is scheduled for Friday (May 6) at 6 p.m. ET. The second game is slated for Saturday (May 7) at 3 p.m. ET. The finale of the three-game weekend set is Sunday (May 8) at 1 p.m. ET.
The Bobcats have won three straight – including a 5-3 victory over Morehead State on Tuesday (May 3) at John "Sonny" Allen Field in Morehead, Ky.
The Chippewas dropped two of three games to MAC West Division rival Eastern Michigan last weekend in Ypsilanti, Mich. Central Michigan lost by scores of 6-1 and 3-0 on Friday and Saturday, respectively, before preventing a weekend sweep with a 3-2 triumph on Sunday.
The Bobcats went 1-2 against Central Michigan in 2015, losing the weekend series in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Ohio won the series opener on May 20, 2015, 6-4, before losing to the Chippewas the following two days by scores of 9-3 and 4-0.