Baseball Tigers Add In-State Commitment

Coach Tommy Slater's first recruiting class got a big boost on Tuesday with the addition of one of Alabama's top pitchers for the class of 2005-2006.

Prattville, Ala.–-Auburn baseball Coach Tommy Slater has wasted little time hitting the recruiting trail since taking over the job from former Coach Steve Renfroe as several of the top prospects in Alabama and Georgia are mentioning the Tigers prominently. One of those has decided to make his decision early as left-handed pitcher Evan Crawford committed to the Tigers over Alabama, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and others.

A Class 6A All-State selection as a junior at Prattville after he helped lead the Lions to a 47-9 record and a berth in the state championship series, Crawford was one of Alabama's top prospects heading into the summer evaluation season for colleges. He finished the season with a 9-2 record and an ERA of just 0.97 while striking out 99 batters. He also hit .400 with six home runs.

The 6-1, 175-pounder says that he throws a fastball, curve, slider and change-up, but is most comfortable bringing the fastball inside on hitters. Consistently in the upper 80s, but capable of hitting 92-93, Crawford is a player who can be an early contributor for the Tigers and he tells Inside The Auburn Tigers that he's looking forward to playing for Slater and his staff.

"I mainly chose Auburn because of the coaches," Crawford says. "I really enjoyed talking to the coaches. They are hands-on and really want to help you get better. I also like the fact that the new pitching coach is left-handed. That should help me out a lot.

"I didn't really know Coach Renfroe, so I can't say how much of a difference it has made," Crawford says of the coaching change. "I just know Coach Slater, Coach (Chris) Finwood and Coach (Matt) Myers are going to be great to play for."

A three-year starter for the Lions, Crawford recently took part in the North-South baseball All-Star game in Montgomery as part of the Sports Week Festival and came away with MVP Honors for the South squad. On the mound Crawford pitched three scoreless innings and he added two hits and two runs scored on offense to round out a very successful day.

A baseball-only player for Prattville, Crawford says that he will keep busy between now and next season by working out hard in the off-season and continuing to play some travel baseball in between. With a goal of winning the state title next year, he says that he's going to work hard to achieve that before heading to Auburn in the fall of 2005.

"I just want to concentrate on baseball," Crawford says. "I'll probably do some long tossing in the winter to keep my arm strong."

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