Frog Baseball Inks Eight For 2010

TCU Baseball Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle announced the signing of eight athletes to National Letters of Intent. Six of the eight signees hail from the state of Texas. The class features five high school players and three junior college transfers.

TCU Baseball Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle announced the signing of eight athletes to National Letters of Intent. Six of the eight signees hail from the state of Texas. The class features five high school players and three junior college transfers.

Four of the eight signees hail from the Houston-area and will be freshmen next year in Matt Purke (LHP, Spring/Klein High School), Jarred Fancher (UT, Katy/Katy High), Kyle Von Tungeln (OF, Sugar Land/Kempner) and Tyler Duffie (RHP, Houston/Lamar High). Also an incoming freshman, Josh Elander (C, Round Rock/Round Rock High) rounds out the high school signees for the Frogs.

"Coach Todd Whitting and Coach Randy Mazey did a good job of filling our needs with their hard work over the summer and fall," raved Schlossnagle. "We will lose a lot of talented players to graduation after this year so the position players that we have signed will really have to be prepared to step in and compete for jobs and perform at a very high level. We think the guys we have signed can do that for us."

Transferring in next season from the junior college ranks are Fort Worth-native Joe Weik (INF, Weatherford JC) and Western Nevada products, Kyle Starratt (RHP, Boise, Idaho) and Jerome Pena (OF, Cave Creek, Ariz.).

"We are very excited about the three pitchers we have signed," said Schlossnagle. "Although we shouldn't lose much off of our current pitching staff, Duffie, Purke and Starratt should all step in and compete for very important roles next fall."

The nation's third-ranked high school prospect by Baseball America, Purke, who also stars in the Houston Heat summer program, has been a stand-out athlete at Klein High School. He was honored as a first-team all-state, all-district performer following his junior season. He was tabbed by Baseball America as the High School Pitcher of the Year on top of being named an Aflac and Under Armour All-American. He also participated in the Aflac All-American game played at Dodger Stadium.

He was also honored as the top pitching prospect at the Perfect Game national showcase. Purke has been a member of the USA Youth and Junior National teams. He helped guide the Team USA squad to a silver medal as well as being named to the World Junior Championship's all-tournament squad. In the last two seasons he is 17-4 with 213 strikeouts (including 147 as a junior) in 125 innings pitched.

"Matt is one of the premier high school pitchers in the country and will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact on our pitching staff," said Schlossnagle. "He is pretty close to being the full package in terms of stuff and command. We are excited to add Matt and his family to the TCU family and look forward to his arrival on campus next fall."

In addition, along with fellow signee Josh Elander, he played in the Under Armour All-American game at Wrigley Field this past summer. Purke was the starting pitcher, while Elander participated in the home run derby. Elander hit eight home runs in the first round, but came up short in the finals.

Elander, who also plays for the Austin Slam, has had a standout prep career at Round Rock High. He was named district Newcomer of the Year in 2007 and earned all-district honors as a junior. Under Armour named him an All-American at the conclusion of his junior campaign. He was also a first-team all-Central Texas performer as well as being named to the Central Texas High School Express All-Star team.

"Josh is a tremendously athletic and strong player," said Schlossnagle. "I love coaching kids that play high school football and Josh is a tough, competitive player on the gridiron and those qualities transfer over to the baseball field as well. He is a guy with good power at the plate, can catch and play the outfield. With the power that we will lose to graduation after this year, Josh has the opportunity to really play a significant role as a freshman."

Von Tungeln, who is also a member of the Kyle Chapman baseball club, has lettered each of the last three seasons at Kempner High. He is a two-time member of the Sunbelt Classic Texas Team as well as a two-time participant with the Texas Scout Yankees squad. He has twice been named second-team all-district performer (2006, 2008) and once a first-team all-district (2007) honoree. He has batted over .400 each of his three years with 10 home runs and 34 stolen bases. Playing in the CABA World Series, he was named MVP after hitting seven home runs in 11 games.

Von Tungeln and Elander each were selected to play in the Texas Scout Association Games in Round Rock

"We identified Kyle very early in the recruiting process as a player we really wanted," stated Schlossnagle. "We've been trying to sign a left-handed hitting, speedy, center field type player for several years and Kyle certainly fits that mold. It's also great to continue to get players from Kempner High School's outstanding baseball program."

Duffie is a two-time all-district performer at Lamar High. In 2007, he was a member of the Sunbelt All-Texas Team thanks to a strong sophomore campaign in which he was 3-0 with 20 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched to go along with a 1.40 ERA. As a sophomore, he was 4-0 with a save and 29 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched. He has spent his summers playing with the Houston Heat programs.

"Tyler is a very physical, strong armed right-handed pitcher," said Schlossnagle. "Coach Whitting thinks he is a bit of a sleeper from the summer that, with continued hard work, may really be someone who can make an impact on the program pretty quickly."

Fancher was an all-district performer each of the last two seasons at Katy High. He was named to the all-Greater Houston team following a junior campaign that saw him hit five home runs with 32 RBIS. Also named to the All-Sunbelt team as a sophomore and junior. He earned team MVP honors as a sophomore and served as team captain each of the last two seasons. Fancher also participates with the Kyle Chapman baseball club.

"Jarred is a very versatile player on defense and played well offensively for our coaching staff all summer," remarked Schlossnagle. "He represents the kind of player that we want to continue to recruit...good athletes who can play multiple positions in the field."

Weik was a first-team all-conference performer following a successful freshman campaign at Weatherford that saw him set the school records for doubles in a season (21) and RBIs (67). He hit .406 as a redshirt freshman with seven home runs. Also a standout academically as he earned a spot on the Dean's list last season.

"Joe had a great season last year at Weatherford and has the potential to be an impact bat in our order next year," stated Schlossnagle. "He is a good student and a very physical player as well. He is versatile enough to be able to play in the infield or outfield."

Starratt was the ace of Western Nevada's staff in 2008, finishing the season with a team-high 9-4 record. He posted a 2.43 ERA in 16 starts, while fanning 66 batters in 89 innings pitched. He limited opponents to a .224 batting average and just 17 walks.

"Kyle was the ace on a very talented pitching staff at Western Nevada last fall," said Schlossnagle. "That program has had tremendous success in a very short time period and Kyle has been a big part of that. He is a consistent strike thrower with three pitches and has a great, quiet confidence on the mound. There's no question that he should step right into the upper part of our pitching staff."

Pena earned all-conference accolades as a freshman at Western Nevada. He posted an on-base percentage of .408, tallied 12 doubles, drove in 28 runs and was 10-15 in stolen base. Racked up eight assists playing primarily in right field.

"Jerome was a big part of a very good junior college team last year at Western Nevada," remarked Schlossnagle. "He's a switch hitting guy that has played all over the field. I think on any given day, he can play any position on the field. I really like his energy and passion for baseball and we look forward to his arrival next fall.

"Our work is not done. We'll have to see how the season plays out in the spring and how certain players perform on our team in order to determine what our continued needs for the 2010 season will be."

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