TROY, Ala. - Troy University baseball head coach Bobby Pierce announced Friday the program has added four junior college transfers to the 2014 recruiting class. Pierce just completed his 12th season at the helm and although the 2014 season was below his expectations, he is convinced the 2015 team will be back in contention in an ultra-competitive Sun Belt Conference.
“Our program has grown accustomed to competing for championships each year,” Pierce said. “We weren’t in contention this past season but I am confident our returning players will improve and our recruiting class will enhance our roster. The players we recently signed each fill a certain need for our 2015 team and we are eager to get started with them this fall.”
The four players that recently inked a scholarship are all from the junior college ranks and will be expected to help immediately in 2015.
Two right-handed pitchers will enroll in August and are both products of the state of Alabama. Grant Bennett, originally from Hazel Green, played the last two years at Wallace State Hanceville Community College. He pitched 70 innings as a sophomore in 2014 with 68 strikeouts and only 17 walks while compiling a nifty 2.19 ERA. Pierce believes Bennett will contend for valuable innings right away, “Grant Bennett offers the competitiveness and toughness quality that all coaches want to have. His stuff plays well and his command of the ball is a huge positive and should transition well into Division I baseball.”
Tucker Simpson, an Oxford, Ala. product who was a 39th round selection of the Baltimore Orioles in the recent June draft, played his freshman year at the University of Florida before transferring to Chipola College last season. “Tucker’s one year of Division I experience at Florida will serve him well here at Troy. He’s competed against high-level competition and will be able to handle certain things based on that experience. He’s a big, physical pitcher that at times can dominate an opponent”, Pierce stated.
Two other junior college transfers will look to impact the Trojans in 2015; both are from the state of Florida. Bert Givens, a Tallahassee native, played at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., the last two seasons after beginning his career at Florida State University. Givens is a corner infielder that can also play catcher and provide some punch offensively as he hit 10 doubles and seven home runs as a sophomore in 2014 at Chipola. His strength as a hitter and defensive versatility are the qualities that intrigue Pierce, “Bert is a physical hitter that can hit for average and power. We expect him to be a quality run producer at this level and his ability to play more than one position brings defensive value to the program.”
The other transfer is Marcus Sigmon, who is from Fort Pierce, Fla., and played at Indian River State College. Sigmon is a versatile infielder that has played both middle infield and third base during his two-year junior college career. He had 10 doubles and four home runs his sophomore year at IRSC and drew strong praise from head coach Mitch Markham during the recruiting process.
“Along with being a quality hitter and infielder, his greatest attribute according to Coach Markham is the competitive drive he shows every day on the field,” Pierce commented. “He absolutely refuses to quit competing and will find a way to impact each game he plays. That is as strong a compliment as a coach can give a player these days and we expect him to play that same way here next year.”
These four signees along with the ten players signed in November will begin their Troy career as the Trojans will begin their fall practice in late September.
2014 Signing Class
Grant Bennett (RHP)
Tucker Simpson (RHP)
Bert Givens (INF/C)
Marcus Sigmon (INF)
Brody Binder (C)
Corey Childress (RHP)
Perez Knowles (LHP/OF)
Reid Long (LHP)
Lucas Brown (RHP)
Austin Crook (LHP)
Robert Harris (OF/RHP)
Logan Hill (OF)
John Michael Knighton (RHP)