A-State Baseball inks five JUCO standouts

A-State Baseball inks five JUCO standouts

Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – Arkansas State head baseball coach Tommy Raffo announced Wednesday that junior college transfers Jesse Kutzke, Kyle MacDonald, Nate Alberius, Caleb Squire, and Logan Andersen have all signed a National Letter of Intent to continue their baseball careers at A-State.

"We feel these young men are great additions to the baseball program and will compete immediately in the Sun Belt Conference," Raffo stated.

Kutzke pitched two seasons for Allen County Community College in Iola, Kan. The right-handed pitcher registered 84 strikeouts against just 13 walks in 63.2 innings of action last season. He tallied a 4-4 record with a 5.65 ERA and tossed two complete games, including one shutout. The Topeka, Kan., native, who stands at 6-5, pitched to a 3-2 record as a freshman in 2016 with 17 strikeouts and a 6.75 ERA in 18.2 innings.

"Jesse will be a major factor for us on the mound," said Raffo. "He brings a tough mindset and is relentless in the strike zone with multiple pitches."

MacDonald comes to the Red Wolves via Crowder College in Neosho, Mo. An infielder by trade, he hit .343 with an on-base percentage of .449 and slugging percentage of .624 as a redshirt sophomore last season. The left-handed swinger, but right-handed thrower swatted 15 long balls along with 21 doubles and a triple while driving in 73 runs. Additionally, he scored 68 runs, walked 43 times, and stole nine bases. As a freshman in 2016 the Mississauga, Ontario native hit .310 with five homers and 37 RBI.

"Kyle is a definite step-in first baseman that brings passion and energy with his game," Raffo remarked. "He makes his teammates better around him. He is a plus left-handed hitter that can hit with power and drive in runs at a premium position for us. He is also big-time defender at first base that makes it look easy."

Alberius joins the Red Wolves after spending the last season at Crowder College with MacDonald where the Roughriders went 54-14 and advanced to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series. The right-handed pitcher tossed 35.2 innings with a 3-1 record, one save, and a 2.52 ERA. The Little Rock, Ark., native posted 28 strikeouts against 12 walks and only gave up three extra-base hits. Prior to Crowder he went to the University of Arkansas, but didn't play in 2016 after spending the 2015 season at Jackson State (Tenn.) Community College.

"Nate brings a high level of pitchabilty with a plus make-up on the mound," declared Raffo. "He can throw the ball where he wants when he wants to at any time."

Squire comes to A-State from Barstow Community College in Barstow, Calif. The infielder recorded a .380 batting average with an on-base percentage of .469 and slugging percentage of .627. The left-handed hitter roped 17 doubles to lead the team along with team-highs in home runs (4) and RBI (39). A native of Arvada, Colo., Squire legged out four triples, scored 38 runs, stole seven bases, and walked 23 times while striking out just nine. As a freshman in 2016 he posted a .369 batting average, drove in 24 runs, and scored 29.

"Caleb really balances our roster and adds a left-handed dynamic to our lineup," Raffo informed. "He can play multiple positions and will be a huge factor for us offensively."

Andersen will join the Arkansas State program after playing last season at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Mo. An outfielder by trade, Andersen hit .308 for the Vikings with a .395 on-base percentage and .474 slugging percentage. Andersen, who hits and throws right-handed, swatted 10 doubles and four homers while picking up 35 RBI and 13 steals. The O'Fallon, Mo., native began his career at SIU-Edwardsville where he was named to the Ohio Valley Conference All-Freshman team after hitting .289 with 32 runs scored, 20 RBI, four home runs, and six steals.

"We are excited about Logan joining our program," Raffo mentioned. "He will add a big dimension for us in the outfield after graduating two seniors and is well-schooled as a hitter."

All five players will enter the Red Wolves' baseball program as juniors for the 2018 season.