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Head Coach Joe Spano
Head Coach Joe Spano
Mercyhurst Baseball Announces Impressive Recruiting Class for 2008

Aug. 20, 2007

Erie, Pa. - Mercyhurst baseball is coming off its second-consecutive season with 30 or more wins, and on Friday, Aug. 17, ninth-year head coach Joe Spano announced the completion of the Lakers' 2007-08 recruiting class.

Spano and assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Charlie Spano inked 11 players in all, including seven pitchers, which should help fill the void left by Brian Chad, who signed a pro contract with the Utica Brewmasters, and Brian Espersen, who left after a junior season in which he was selected in the 18th round of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft by the Houston Astros.

Junior centerfielder David Lough also decided to forego his final season at Mercyhurst after being drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 11th round. His 11th-round selection made him the highest drafted player in Mercyhurst history.

Headlining in the class is Cardinal Hayes (New York, N.Y.) product, Jonathan Gonzalez. The right-handed pitcher was a first-team all-city performer and was selected in the 33rd round by the Los Angles Dodgers in the 2007 draft but signed with Mercyhurst instead. He was the only player from New York City to be drafted in 2007.

Along with Gonzalez, Spano believes the recruits should be able to contribute immediately, as many come from winning programs and another has already gained valuable experience at the collegiate level.

Left-handed pitcher Nick Gilllung (Worthville, Pa./Punxsutawney), infielder Craig Denman (Beaver Falls, Pa./Blackhawk), catcher D.J. Haurin (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield), infielder Jon Keppler (South Euclid, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin), and right-handed pitcher Abe Rak (Fredonia, N.Y./Fredonia) all participated in their respective state's championship tournaments. Rak was also named NYSSWA Class B New York State Player of the Year in 2006.

"We were able to bring in a group of winners," Spano said. "They've played at a high level in meaningful games and that experience will help them step in and make an impact right away."

Trey Archer (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) is another player with plenty of game experience. The right-handed pitcher, transfers to Mercyhurst after spending a year at Division I Xaiver University.

Also included in the recruiting class is athletic outfielder Calvin Corso (Broadview Heights, Ohio/Brecksville), who swiped 26 bases as a senior. Thurman Schaetzle (Erie, Pa./Mercyhurst Prep) posted a career 14-3 record on the mound, and Cory Smith (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) hit .390 at the plate as a senior.

"We feel like this is the deepest recruiting class we've had," said Charlie Spano. "Any one of these guys can play immediately. That was important for us because we lost two juniors (Lough and Espersen) unexpectedly."

This is the fourth class recruited by Charlie, and his recruits have combined for 95 victories and in 2007, six Mercyhurst players earned All-GLIAC honors.

"Charlie has done a tremendous job going out and finding talent," said Joe Spano. "We've had over 90 victories and just about every player has earned all-conference mention. The results speak for themselves."

2008 Newcomers

Trey Archer - RHP - Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth (Xaiver University): Archer transfers from Xaiver after making one appearance working one inning last year. In four high school seasons, he posted a 15-4 record with a 2.00 ERA and was named all-league and all-county his senior season. As a junior, Archer was an All-Medina County First Team pick and an All-Suburban Second Team selection. In 2005, Archer posted a 9-1 record with a 2.73 ERA.

Calvin Corso - OF - Broadview Heights, Ohio/Brecksville: Corso finished his senior season batting at an impressive .409 clip and recorded 26 stolen bases on the year. At season's end, he was named to All-Southwestern Conference.

Craig Denman - IF - Beaver Falls, Pa./Blackhawk: Denman batted .375 in 2007 and .400 in 2006 with 26 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. As a senior, he was named All-WPIAL Class AAA Section 1 and played in the WPIAL All-Star Game. He was also a Beaver County Times Top 20 player.

Nick Gillung - LHP/OF - Worthville, Pa./Punxsutawney: Gillung helped his team to the PIAA AAA State Championship in 2007. He was the starting pitcher in the team's semifinal game against Blackhawk. During the season, he set a school record for strikeouts in a season with 80. Gillung also starred at the plate, leading his team in RBIs and totaling four homeruns. He was a first team All-Central Penn selection as a Pitcher, and honorable mention as an outfielder. His battery mate, catcher Devin Mesoraco, was the first round selection of the Cincinnati Reds.

Jonathan Gonzalez - RHP - New York, N.Y./Cardinal Hayes: Gonzalez was a first team all-city pick and third team all-state selection before being drafted in the 33rd round by the Los Angles Dodgers. He went 6-2 with a 2.00 ERA and struck out 58 in 53 innings of work.

DJ Haurin - C - Canfield, Ohio/Canfield: Haurin helped his team to the Ohio Division II state championship and a 30-3 record this season. At seasons' end, he was named first team all-league and Academic All-Ohio.

Jon Keppler - IF - South Euclid, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin: Keppler earned All-North Coast League second team mention as a junior and senior. He was also named honorable mention in the Cleveland Sun News. Keppler batted .483, and was an OHSAA All-Star in 2007. His team finished state runner-up in 2006.

Abe Rak - RHP - Fredonia, N.Y./Fredonia: Rak was the 2006 NYSSWA Class B New York State Player of the Year, an All-NYSSWA Class B First Team pick, and the Western New York Player of the Year. He guided his team to the Class B championship in 2006 by striking out 125 in 74 innings of work and posting a 1.14 ERA. At the plate, Rak hit .461 and drove in 38 runs.

Thurman Schaetzle - RHP - Erie, Pa./Mercyhurst Prep: Shaetzle recorded a 14-3 career record on the mound with a 2.94 ERA. He also batted .340 for his career, and led the team in .OBP. In 2007, he was named the school's most outstanding athlete. His father, Marty, is the head coach of the Mercyhurst football team.

Cory Smith - RHP/IF - Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin: Smith was named All-North Coast League Second Team and was a North East Region Ohio High School Coaches Association All-Star. He batted .390 with an on base percentage of .550 during his senior year. He also gained valuable experience playing summer baseball in the competitive IMG Wood Bat League.


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