August 26, 2012

Lineup Card


Lineup Card is a feature highlighting notes from around college baseball.


August 20-26, 2012


Texas A&M has hired Austin Knight (left) to be its volunteer assistant. He will primarily work with the infielders. Knight was a volunteer assistant at his alma mater, Dallas Baptist, for the past two seasons. He was a four-year starter for the Patriots from 2007-10. Knight earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from DBU in 2010 and a Master of Education from DBU this past May.


Blake Kangas has joined the staff at Kansas State. He has been hitting coach at Feather River College for the past four seasons. Kangas, 29, also coached for three seasons at Milwaukee, his alma mater. He played two seasons at Madison Area Technical College before spending his final two years with the Panthers. Kangas has a bachelor’s degree in education from UWM and is working on his master’s in coaching and athletic administration.


Valparaiso will hold its annual Parents/Alumni/Friends Day on Sept. 29, including golf in the afternoon and bowling in the evening. A cookout and awards ceremony will follow the golf outing.


Southern Illinois will hold walk-on tryouts on Sept. 8 at 10 a.m. at Abe Martin Field. Attendees must bring a current physical, tryout waiver and proof of insurance.


Texas A&M held its seventh annual Paint-a-Thon on Aug. 25 at the home of Rod Merchant in College Station. The Aggies painted the exterior of the house and did minor repairs. They also created a flower bed in the front yard.


Dallas Baptist will join the Missouri Valley Conference as an affiliate member for baseball for the 2014 season. This past season, the Patriots had a scheduling agreement with the league, playing three-game series against seven of the eight Valley teams. The conference finished the 2012 campaign ranked No. 6 in the RPI, including five teams in the top 85. Two programs earned NCAA tourney at-large bids, as did DBU. The Patriots, under head coach Dan Heefner (left), were 41-19 this past season and went 14-7 against MVC opponents. For the 2013 season, DBU will compete in the WAC for baseball.


Former Terrapin Matt Swope has been hired as director of operations at Maryland.  He batted .368 as a senior in 2002 with 64 runs and 55 RBI. Swope was picked in the 24th round of the 2002 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos. Swope replaces Bernie Walter, who held the position for the past three seasons. Walter will remain at Maryland as special assistant to the head coach. Eric Milton will remain on staff as volunteer assistant.


Maine officially dedicated the Paul J. Mitchell Batting Pavilion on Aug. 21. Construction began in May and was recently completed. The indoor facility will be used by the Maine baseball team, softball team and by the community. click here for photos of dedication


Rich Billings has been added to the staff at Florida Atlantic. He will work with the outfielders, first basemen and hitters. Billings was head coach at Lake-Sumter Community College for five seasons. He was an assistant there for two seasons after graduating from East Tennessee State in 2005 with a degree in history.


Sammy Esposito has been named recruiting coordinator and Brian Buscher will be the volunteer assistant at South Carolina under head coach Chad Holbrook. Esposito has worked with the Gamecocks for the past five seasons, coaching the hitters and catchers. Buscher played third base at South Carolina and helped the Gamecocks reach the College World Series in 2002 and 2003. He was a third round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2003 and spent three seasons in their system before going to the Minnesota Twins. Buscher made his Major League debut on July 27, 2007, and played three seasons with the Twins.


Chuck Ristano was promoted to assistant coach at Notre Dame. He was a volunteer assistant for the past two seasons and will continue to serve as pitching coach. Ristano spent four seasons as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Monmouth. He also coached at Temple and at his alma mater, Sacred Heart.


Mississippi State will hold its Baseball Alumni Weekend on Oct. 12-13. A golf tournament will be held on Friday afternoon followed by a baseball alumni cookout that evening, hosted by head coach John Cohen and his wife, Nelle. An alumni/intrasquad scrimmage will be held at noon on Saturday prior to the football game against Tennessee.


Former Kentucky left-hander Chris Rusin allowed one hit and one run in five innings in his Major League debut for the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 21 against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Rusin retired the first nine hitters he faced. He walked two and struck out four in his five innings. Rusin also tripled in his first plate appearance.


Former Auburn outfielder Gabe Gross (left) has been named the volunteer assistant for the Tigers after serving as a student assistant coach this past season. Gross was a three-year starter from 1999-2001, hitting .375 during his career. He batted .430 in 2000 and was named an All-American. Gross was a first round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2001 MLB Draft and spent seven years in the major leagues.


Gerald Cassard and Brett Stewart have been added to the staff at Nicholls. Cassard will be the director of operations. Cassard worked for the past five years at Loyola in New Orleans. He is a Nicholls graduate and spent seven seasons as an assistant at Nicholls in the late 90’s. Stewart will be a volunteer assistant. He was an assistant for the Rockville Express of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Summer League this past summer. Stewart graduated from Appalachian State.


Former VMI catcher Michael Roberts will be the volunteer assistant for the Keydets this season. Roberts returns to Lexington after playing professionally following being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008. He was a student assistant coach in the fall of both 2010 and 2011 while completing his degree.


(photos courtesy of TAMU, DBU & Auburn Media Relations Offices)