Diamond Hogs Land Four Signees

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn and his staff hammered home four signees -- two junior college pitchers and two prep position players -- this week.

They are Crowder College (Neosho, Mo.) right-hander Lee Martin, Grayson County College (Denison, Texas) left-hander Joseph Hughes, Valhalla High (El Cajon, Calif.) catcher/first baseman Tommy McClain and Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.) catcher/first baseman Tyler Goodro.

Martin (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) is a native of central Arkansas and graduated from Concord High. He spent only one season at Crowder, giving him four years to play three seasons at Arkansas.

"Growing up in Arkansas, I got to see them play all the time," said Martin, who sports an 88-91 mph fastball and a deceiving change-up. "So I've always wanted to be a Razorback and when (Van Horn) called and then ended up offering the scholarship, it was just like a dream come true."

Coming from a small town (Concord's population is 263), Martin didn't draw much major college interest despite posting an 11-0 record and 0.68 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 57 innings as a senior. But after putting up a 3-3 record with a 2.54 ERA for the Roughriders this spring, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Nicholls State and Arkansas came calling.

"I figured with my talent, I could build my skills and improve in all aspects at a junior college," Martin said. "Then after that, I could maybe go on to a four-year school or even get drafted and now that I'm going to Arkansas, I'm loving every bit of it."

Martin, who was born in May 1986, still is young enough to play American Legion baseball. He's currently in Camden competing with a team out of Heber Springs in the AA State Tournament.

Hughes (5-10, 175) played center field primarily at Grayson CC and hit .367 with 20 RBIs, 9 doubles, 3 triples and a homer. He's expected to pitch for the Hogs and recorded a 3.56 ERA while striking out 34 in 35 1/3 innings this season.

McClain (6-1, 205) is a strong defensive catcher (1.9 seconds on his throws to second) who can play first base. The fact he's a switch hitter also should help him get into Arkansas' lineup.

As a senior at Valhalla, McClain hit .330 with a homer, but he already has two this summer playing for the San Diego Gamers in the competitive Orange County Connie Mack League.

"I'm not really a home run hitter, but my bat has really been coming around this summer," McClain said.

With a limited number of scholarships in baseball, McClain's academics will help him financially. He graduated with a 3.6 GPA and scored a 1,250 on the SAT to go along with a 27 on the ACT.

"I really enjoyed my visit to Arkansas (July 5-6)," McClain said. "I especially liked visiting with coach Van Horn and I'm really excited for the opportunity to play for him. I really liked the facilities and the school. Baum Stadium was amazing."

Goodro (6-3, 205) should give the Razorbacks some power after leading the Omaha area with seven home runs this spring. He hit .404 with 10 doubles and 33 RBIs.

This week's signees may not be the end of Arkansas' 2005 class. Van Horn hinted that more could be on the way.

"There's some kids out there," Van Horn said. "Some kids that say, maybe signed with a junior college and are having good summers and are thinking that they might want to go to a Division I school instead.

"We're always keeping our eyes out for quality players."

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