TROY, Ala. - Troy University baseball head coach Bobby Pierce announced Wednesday the signing of eight student-athletes to a National Letter of Intent to play for the Trojans beginning with the 2014 season. The class includes two of the top 13 high school players in the state of Alabama in addition to the 33rd rated player in the state according to Perfect Game.
"Our coaches work extremely hard to identify a player that fits our style of play and appreciates our commitment to player development and winning," Pierce said. "I believe this group is a strong collection of talent that will have our fans excited about next year and the future of Troy baseball."
The signing class, which includes four high school signees and four junior college transfers, consists of Dalton Davis (1B/RHP), Lee Gibson (SS), Jesse Nelson (RHP), Marc Skinner (RHP), Colin Bray (OF), Tripp Calhoun (C), Josh Macurdy (1B/RHP) and Nick Masonia (SS).
Bobby Pierce on Signing Class
"These eight players rival any recruiting class we have had here at Troy in terms of overall skill level and playing ability. We targeted a talented group of freshmen recruits that offer unique qualities that will bolster our program the next several years.
"We expect Dalton Davis, Jesse Nelson and Marc Skinner to provide stability on the mound and pitch in important roles. Both Lee Gibson and Davis are talented left-handed hitters that will strengthen our offense for several years. We believe this group of four will play an integral part of Troy baseball throughout their careers.
"The four junior college players will make a quick impact on the 2014 team as they fill immediate needs in our program. Josh Macurdy will contend for quality opportunity in the rotation since he has won at every level of competition. We are also intrigued by the potential he shows with the bat in his hands. Tripp Calhoun will provide stability and leadership behind the plate to complement our other catchers in the program. Colin Bray and Nick Masonia are both dynamic players that can impact the game from the top of the lineup or in the field defensively."
Colin Bray, OF, S/L, Vancleave, Miss. (Faulkner State CC)
Transferred to Faulkner State after playing his freshman season at a Division I school. The switch-hitting outfielder was named the Mississippi Boys Athlete of the Year by the Mississippi Press following his senior season at Vancleave (Miss.) High School. A three-sport athlete, Bray hit .364 with three home runs, 12 stolen bases and 32 runs scored, while posting a .475 on-base percentage his senior season. Bray earned All-Coast honors in baseball and basketball and was an all-state selection as a quarterback and punter.
Pierce on Bray:
"Colin Bray is a top of the lineup type player that hits from both sides of the plate and runs exceptionally well. He can play any of the three outfield positions and defends at a high level. He decided to leave a Division I program last year to play in junior college and we are excited that he chose to re-establish himself at this level with the Trojans. His future is extremely bright as a player."
Tripp Calhoun, C, R/R, Dacula, Ga. (Darton State College)
Calhoun led Darton State College as a freshman batting at a .360 clip with 25 RBIs, 25 runs scored and a .432 on-base percentage. He was also perfect on four stolen base attempts and belted seven doubles. Calhoun earned second team all-region honors as a senior at Dacula (Ga.) High School after batting .408 with four home runs, 30 RBIs and a .529 on-base percentage.
Pierce on Calhoun
"Tripp Calhoun fills an important spot in this year's class as a catcher that is talented. Catching injuries have plagued our program the last few years and quality catching depth is a critical part of a championship program. His overall defensive ability is Division I ready and he has great offensive potential. Tripp is also an excellent student with outstanding leadership qualities. He is an impressive player that will fit very well into our system."
Dalton Davis, 1B/RHP, L/R, Hazel Green, Ala. (Hazel Green HS)
Ranked as the 13th best player and top-rated third baseman in the state of Alabama by Perfect Game, Davis is one of the best dual-threat players in the state. Through his first three seasons at Hazel Green (Ala.) High School, Davis has a .432 batting average, 14 home runs, 108 RBIs and 33 stolen bases. Perfect Game also rates Davis as the 32nd best third baseman in the nation. Davis earned Perfect Game honorable mention All-America honors in 2011 and 2012 and was named to the 2012 Prospect Wire All-America team. He was an honorable mention all-state selection as a junior and is a two-time all-area selection.
Pierce on Davis
"Dalton has the ability to become a quality dual player at the college level. He has excelled at every level of competition, and his size and game savvy are two important qualities that will help with his transition to Division I baseball. He has projectable power as a hitter and as a pitcher, which is difficult to find. We are excited about both his short term potential and long-range future with the Trojans."
A two-time MVP for the Chattanooga Cyclones, Gibson hit .333 with seven doubles, a home run and 13 RBIs his junior season at Heritage (Ga.) High School. His latest MVP season with the Cyclones came after he hit .355 with six doubles, three triples and team-record 24 RBIs for the summer travel team.
Pierce on Gibson
"Our first chance to see Lee play was in a summer tournament here in Troy with the Chattanooga Cyclones organization. He quickly impressed our coaches with his overall hitting ability and athleticism. He offers a high degree of competitiveness and determination, as a player that will carry him forward into our program. He has improved his strength and his progress as a player the last year has been significant. We have high expectations for Lee here at Troy."
Josh Macurdy, 1B/RHP, R/R, Huntsville, Ala. (Volunteer State CC)
Macurdy turned in a dominating freshman campaign at Volunteer State Community College en route to earning first team all-conference honors. He went 5-2 with a 2.41 ERA over 82 innings of work while striking out 78 and walking 32. Macurdy also did damage at the plate with a .337 batting average, nine doubles, three triples, three home runs and 30 RBIs. He finished his Grissom (Ala.) High School career with a 23-2 record and 2.38 ERA. He struck out 166 and walked just 43 over 161.1 innings of work, while batting at a .342 clip with 20 home runs and 80 RBIs. Macurdy was an honorable mention all-state selection following his senior season. He was twice named to the Huntsville Times Elite First Team and was named the Huntsville City Player of the Year his junior season. He holds the Grissom record for wins (23), winning percentage (.920) and most consecutive wins (17).
Pierce on Macurdy
"Josh has been a huge winner both in high school at Grissom and in his first year at Volunteer State. He has top of the rotation stuff and ability, and we believe he will compete immediately for our program. He also offers a quality bat that should factor in during his career at Troy. That combination bodes well for his next two years as we expect him to continue his winning ways for the Trojans."
Nick Masonia, SS, R/R, Killen, Ala. (Northwest Florida State College)
The strong pipeline from Northwest Florida State College continues with the addition of Masonia to the Trojan signing class. A Perfect Game honorable mention All-American in 2010, Masonia was rated by the organization as the 31st best player in the state of Alabama coming out of high school after setting the Alabama high school record with 66 career home runs. He earned second team all-state and first team all-conference honors as a freshman at Northwest Florida after batting .365 with nine doubles, a triple, four home runs and 33 RBIs. A four-time all-state selection at Brooks (Ala.) High School, Masonia was named the Alabama 4A Player and Hitter of the Year as a senior and earned the Times Daily 4A-6A Player of the Year three times.
Pierce on Masonia
"We are pleased that Nick Masonia has chosen to play for our program. We recruited Nick after his brilliant career in high school but he chose to attend Northwest Florida State College. He offers a high degree of baseball skill and savvy which will help him make an immediate impact in our program. He is an outstanding offensive player that can hit for both average and power. His defensive ability is above average and he can truly play anywhere on the field. That versatility helps our program right away. He will have an outstanding career for the Trojans."
Jesse Nelson, RHP, Phenix City, Ala. (Russell County HS)
Rated by Perfect Game as the seventh best player in the state of Alabama and as one of the top 300 players in the country, Nelson is a two-time Perfect Game honorable mention All-America selection. He went 7-2 as a junior at Russell County (Ala.) High school with a 1.50 ERA, 100 strikeouts and just a .130 opponent batting average in 79.2 innings.
Pierce on Nelson
"Jesse Nelson has all the qualities necessary to pitch at the Division I level. He presents quality arm strength and a bulldog mentality to go along with a high degree of pitch-ability that will give him a chance to impact our program immediately. He comes highly regarded from a well-respected program at Russell County and we have high expectations for his future with the Trojans."
A Perfect Game honorable mention All-America selection, Skinner went 6-3 with a pair of saves, a 2.06 ERA, 58 strikeouts and 18 walks in 54.2 innings as a junior at Smiths Station (Ala.) High School; had six saves and three wins as a sophomore. Skinner is rated as the 33rd best player in the state of Alabama and among the top 1,000 in the nation by Perfect Game. He also hit at a .372 clip with 15 doubles, 23 RBIs and eight stolen bases. For his work as a junior, Skinner earned honorable mention all-state honors, was named to the East Alabama All-Area Team and was named to the Columbus/Phenix City All-Bi City team. Skinner was a Team Alabama selection in 2012 and has been named to the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Top 100 team for three consecutive seasons.
Pierce on Skinner
"Marc Skinner has a quality arm that will progress quickly in our program. He attacks the strike zone with excellent command and a better than average breaking ball. His stuff will continue to improve, but his best attribute is the level of competitiveness he shows during the competition. Our staff believes his combination of determination and ability gives him a great chance to compete early in his career at Troy."
Troy Baseball Signing Class
Colin Bray (OF) - Faulkner State CC
Tripp Calhoun (C) - Darton State College
Dalton Davis (1B/RHP) - Hazel Green (Ala.) HS
Lee Gibson (SS) - Heritage (Ga.) HS
Josh Macurdy (1B/RHP) - Volunteer State CC
Nick Masonia (SS) - Northwest Florida State College
Jesse Nelson (RHP) - Russell County (Ala.) HS
Marc Skinner (RHP) - Smiths Station (Ala.) HS