INDIANAPOLIS - Head coach Steve Farley and the Butler baseball program have added four players - two pitchers and two infielders - in the fall early signing period. Kyle Allen, Michael Fries, Austin Miller and Eric Stout will join the Bulldogs in the fall of 2011.
Allen is a 6-4 right-handed pitcher from Katy, Texas, and Farley calls him the "best right-handed pitcher at our summer prospect camp." Allen is a three-year letterwinner at Cinco Rancho High School and a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is also a National Honor Society Member.
“I chose Butler for its high academic reputation and specifically for its great business program," Allen said. "I liked the Butler baseball team members on my visit and I liked the coaching staff. Butler has a competitive program and I want to come in and contribute to a team that can win the Horizon League and play in the NCAA Tournament. The campus size at Butler is a good fit for me and I see myself fitting in and enjoying my college experience.”
Farley added: "Kyle impressed us with size and pitching ability. He projects to be a starting pitcher in our program. He’s a good student and a hard worker. Like all of our signees, he comes from a great family. We think he’ll do big things in a Bulldog uniform.”
Fries is a 6-3 infielder from Powell, Ohio. He was a first team all-district and honorable mention all-conference performer as a junior. The versatile Fries played eight positions around the diamond in 2010 for Olentangy Liberty High School. Fries, a National Honor Society member, has also played two seasons of varsity basketball. He played summer ball for the Ohio Elite.
"I really believe that Butler will prepare me and enable me to achieve all of my goals, both athletically and academically," Fries said. "I love the campus and the overall atmosphere around the school. The coaching staff has been upfront and honest with me from day one and I have heard nothing but great things about the program.”
Farley says Fries projects as a very good college player in the infield or outfield.
“Michael is a big, strong kid who can play several different positions on the field. He is already a solid infielder and I think he has the potential to be a very good outfielder as well," the Butler coach said. "Because we lose several senior starters this year, he will have a good opportunity to step in and compete for significant playing time next fall. Michael is an outstanding hitter with power to both gaps. He has a great work ethic and he is going to make our program better.”
Miller is a 6-1 shortstop from Grayslake, Ill., and Grayslake Central High School. He was third team Lakeshore All-Area as a junior, batting .345 with five home runs, 12 2B, 29 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. His five homers led the squad during his junior year, and he was the only sophomore to play on Central's team that placed third in the state of Illinois. Miller, who is a National Honor Society member and president of the school's Principal's Council, played summer baseball for Top Tier.
“One of the key things that made me choose Butler was the friendly feel of a smaller campus," Miller said. "I also liked the lively atmosphere at Butler and the friendships I made with Bulldog players while visiting.”
Farley added: “Austin had the tough choice of choosing between Butler and another excellent school, the U.S. Air Force Academy. That tells you that he’s a person of high character. Our recruiting coordinator, Matt Tyner, worked hard this summer to find a top defensive shortstop and Austin was at the top of our list. We saw him perform well at our camp and Coach Tyner saw him make some great plays with his Top Tier summer team. Austin will be an exciting player to watch at Butler.”
Stout, a 6-1 lefty pitcher, will come to Butler from St. Francis High School in Wheaton, Ill. The southpaw was an all-conference and all-area player and won the team's Golden Arm award in 2010. Also a varsity basketball player, Stout was a state finalist at the 3-point shooting championships.
“I really like the education Butler offered. The school has a great reputation and the campus is the right size for me," Stout said. "I like what I see with the baseball program. The future looks bright and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Farley said Stout was the top left-handed pitcher at the program's prospect camp.
“I felt Eric was the top left-handed pitcher at our camp last August. He is an intriguing prospect because he is going to keep getting bigger and stronger," he said. "He’s got a mid-80’s fastball and a good curve right now and he’s been working hard on his change-up and cutter. He’s an excellent basketball player and we try to recruit good athletes in our program. When he’s throwing low strikes and changing speeds, it’s very difficult to beat him.”
Butler baseball won 21 games last season and posted a winning record at Bulldog Park. Farley is entering his 20th season at Butler in 2011. You can learn about some of the program's facility upgrades HERE and HERE.