BASEBALL: UM's 09 Commitments

The early signing period in baseball starts October 1 but the Canes already loaded up on quality players for the Class of 2009 by the end of the summer. We know of at least seven players who have given commitments to Coach Jim Morris and the UM program. Here's a closer look at those seven players and what they each bring to the table.

SS Michael Broad, 5-11, 165, R/R, Boca Raton (Fla.) Nova
A first team All-Area pick as a junior, Broad hit .410 with nine home runs and 43 RBI in the spring. He also plays football at Nova and has been clocked in the 6.6 range. A good student in the classroom, Broad played for the East Cobb Astros this summer and will be among the state's top shortstop prospects for the '09 class. ProspectWire.com rates him as the 7th best shortstop prospect in the state and No. 25 overall.

LHP Jerad Grundy, 6-1, 180, L/L, Johnsburg, Ill.
Also one of the top quarterbacks in his area, Grundy is a talented lefty who hit 91 at East Cobb this summer. Throwing in the low 90's from the left side generated a lot of interest from a lot of schools but Grundy accepted a UM scholarship offer in August. On the gridiron, Grundy threw for 2,313 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior and is playing again this fall as a senior. Playing for the McHenry County Hurricanes, Grundy had a strong summer. He threw four innings at the WWBA Championships, not giving up any hits or walks, while striking out seven. A tough, competitive left, Grundy will be a good addition for the Hurricanes.

RHP Joe Lovecchio, 6-3, 190, R/R, Port Orange (Fla.) Seabreeze
One of the top RHP prospects in the Central Florida area, Lovecchio put his name on the recruiting map with an outstanding sophomore season. He finished the year 9-0 with a 1.19 ERA and was a second team All-State selection in Class 5A. The highlight of his season was getting the win against Texas Rangers 2007 first round draft pick Michael Main of Deland. Lovecchio didn't have quite the same junior season but was excellent over the summer for the Orlando Scorpions. He hit 91 at East Cobb over the summer and with his frame and work ethic, he projects very well. ProspectWire.com ranks him No. 3 in the state among RHP. Lovecchio committed to the Hurricanes after landing an offer in mid July.

OF J.R. Murphy, 6-0, 190, R/R, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG at Pendleton
Perhaps none of the commitments had quite the summer that Murphy enjoyed in 2008. Playing for the Florida Bombers, Murphy set numerous offensive records for the nationally-ranked traveling team. He finished the summer hitting .455 with 16 doubles, four triples, six home runs, and 50 RBI. He struck out just nine times in 123 at bats and stole 13 bases on 15 tries. Defensively, he didn't make a single error in the outfield. ProspectWire.com has him rated as the state's No. 2 catcher and No. 6 player overall.

C Michael Ohlman, 6-4, 200, R/R, Bradenton (Fla.) Lakewood Ranch
Rated as the state's No. 3 catcher prospect by ProspectWire.com, Ohlman made his commitment to the Hurricanes following an unofficial visit to the school in mid August. He had a solid junior season, hitting .386 with two home runs and 29 RBI. He also stole 14 bases. Over the summer, Ohlman played for Post 24, a team that advanced to the "A" state tournament. Ohlman picked the Hurricanes over North Carolina.

SS Stephen Perez, 5-11, 170, L/R, Miami (Fla.) Gulliver Prep
ProspectWire.com calls him the best defensive player in the state of Florida for the Class of 2009. PerfectGame has him rated as the 37th best overall player in the entire nation. An Under Armour All-America Game selection, Perez played short for the All-American Prospects this summer and hit .427 with 42 stolen bases. Perez could have gone anywhere in the country to play college baseball but he chose to stay home and be a Hurricane. Considered one of the top 10 prospects in the state of Florida, he'll surely be on a lot of MLB radar screens next spring. Perez plans on playing for the Florida Legends next summer.

2B Frankie Ratcliff, 5-9, 160, R/R, Key West, Fla.
A second team All-State selection who helped lead his team to the Class 4A regional final this past spring, Ratcliff is one of the top second basemen in the state. ProspectWire.com tabs him as the 40th best prospect in the state. He played the summer with the Florida Bombers and he helped them to win the WWBA Championship at East Cobb in July. Ratcliff started 39 games for the Bombers this summer and hit .321 with five doubles, four triples, three home runs, and 31 RBI. He walked 29 times, scored 34 times, and was 7-for-7 on stolen base attempts. He also had an excellent .962 fielding percentage for the Bombers. Ratcliff has been timed in the 6.6 range in the 60 and is closing in on a 4.0 GPA inside the classroom.


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