ASHEVILLE, N.C. – UNC Asheville head baseball coach Scott Friedholm announced Wednesday the addition of 10 signees for the 2018 season as part of his staff's third recruiting class.
Of the 10 players, five hail from North Carolina, two from Florida, one from New Jersey, one from Tennessee and one from Virginia. The group includes seven fresh arms to strengthen the pitching corps with two being two-way players, a pair of middle infielders and one outfielder.
The signees include Curtis "Tripp" Barfield (Washington, N.C. – Washington), Samuel "Hunter" Burnette (Weaverville, N.C. – North Buncombe), Terry "Trey" Campbell, III (Aldie, Va. – Riverside), Joseph "Jake" Catalano (Southampton, N.J. – St. Augustine Prep), Anthony Cuozzi (High Point, N.C. – Ledford), Julius "McKinnon" Garner (Charlotte, N.C. – Ardrey Kell), James "Trey" Jernigan, III (Greenville, N.C. – North Pitt), Beau Nichols (Lithia, Fla. – Newsome), Ethan Tressler (Gallatin, Tenn. – Davidson Academy) and Cody Wilson (Valrico, Fla. – Bloomingdale Senior).
"Coming off a successful season, we're excited to add 10 more guys into our program and for them to get here to start working," Friedholm said. "During the recruiting process, we have learned that all of these guys share the same work ethic, values and goals that fit our program and what we are trying to do here. Jonathan Johnston and Chris Bresnahan have done a great job with our recruiting and have put in a lot of time to not just find good ball players, but to find the right guys that fit our program. We are excited to have them join us this fall and expect each and every one of them to come in and contribute almost immediately. They have a great opportunity, now it is up to them to come in and take advantage of it."
6-0 | RHP | Washington, N.C. (Washington HS)
Barfield is a 6-foot right-handed pitcher out of Washington High School where he played for Kevin Legget. He is rated as the No. 50 right-handed pitcher in the state of North Carolina by Perfect Game and is ranked the No. 120 overall player in the state of North Carolina by MaxPreps. A six-time letterwinner for the Pack, Barfield ended his senior year with a 7-1 record and boasted a 1.14 ERA. He struck out 58 batters compared to just 16 walks and pitched 55.1 innings. For his efforts, he was an honorable mention for the 2017 WDN Male Athlete of the Year. He was also a two-time Eastern Plains Conference (EPC) All-Conference honoree and was the runner up for Jr. Legion Area 1 MVP in 2014. He played fall ball for the Carolina Cubs and head coach Richie Seaton. He also earned six varsity letters in football.
Coach Friedholm on Barfield – "Tripp is a good, strike-throwing righty that will add depth to our pitching staff this coming year. He's a good athlete that we expect will come in and compete from day-one and he gives us an arm that should give us plenty of innings."
6-0 | RHP | Weaverville, N.C. (North Buncombe HS)
A 6-foot right-hander, Burnette doesn't have far to go as he comes to Asheville from North Buncombe High School where he earned three varsity letters for the Black Hawks. He was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Perfect Game Tournament in Lake Point, Ga., in the summer of 2016. He graduated with distinct academic honors. He played his fall ball for the RBI Tri-Cities and head coach Ryan White.
Coach Friedholm on Burnette – "Hunter is a local guy who is very athletic. He didn't play his senior year, but we have no doubt that when he gets on campus he will be healthy and ready to go. He has the ability to change his arm angle and that makes him a very deceptive threat on the mound."
5-11 | OF | Aldie, Va. (Riverside HS)
Campbell is a 5-11 outfielder who comes to UNC Asheville from Riverside High School where he earned three varsity letters for head coach Sam Plank and the Rams. Ranked the No. 11 outfielder in the state of Virginia by Perfect Game, he batted .375 as a senior with a .576 slugging percentage and .450 on-base percentage. He was named his team's MVP both as a junior (2016) and senior (2017) and was a two-time All-Conference first-team selection both of those years. He was twice named to the All-Loudoun County first team in 2016 and 2017 and was a first-team All-Region and All-State selection as a senior. He led the Rams to the 2017 Conference 28 crown as well as the 2017 Region AAA East title with their season coming to a close in the state title game where they were runners-up. Equally strong in the classroom, Campbell was a four-time honor roll student. He played his fall ball for the Marrucci Stars and head coach Carson Carrol.
Coach Friedholm on Campbell – "Trey is the only true outfielder we took in this class and is our first guy from Virginia since we've been here. With the departure of three senior outfielders, he will have a great opportunity to come in right away and contribute. He has some big shoes to fill out there, but we think that he will be up for the challenge and will also bring us a solid bat to the plate."
6-0 | RHP/OF | Southampton, N.J. (St. Augustine Prep)
Catalano is a 6-foot two-way player who is both a right-handed pitcher and also has played shortstop and outfield during his time at St. Augustine Prep where he played for head coach Mike Bylone. The No. 18-ranked player in the state of New Jersey by MaxPreps and ranked the No. 27 right-handed pitcher in the state by Perfect Game, he earned three varsity letters and batted .402 (41-102) with five doubles, 12 runs batted in and 30 runs scored in 2017. For his career, he batted .373 with 81 hits. Catalano was a two-time All-Conference second-team honoree and was named a Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention in both 2015 and 2016. He was named a Perfect Game Northeast Region Honorable Mention as a senior. He helped guide his team to the Diamond Classic crown as well as back-to-back South Jersey State championships. He also played basketball for the Hermits and was a four-time Deans List honoree in the classroom. Catalano played his fall ball for the South Jersey Young Guns and head coach Pat Fisher.
Coach Friedholm on Catalano – "Jake is a two-way guy that we are excited about. He comes from a very successful high school program, so he knows what it takes to win and to win at a high level. He will have a great opportunity to earn playing time in the outfield as we have three big holes to fill there, but he will also see his chances on the mound pretty early on."
5-8 | INF | High Point, N.C. (Ledford HS)
A 5-8 middle infielder out of Ledford High School, Cuozzi played for head coach Chris Adams and the Panthers. He is ranked the No. 22 overall player in North Carolina by MaxPreps and is the No. 25 middle infielder in the state according to Perfect Game. As a senior in 2017, he batted .453 with a .543 on-base percentage and 31 runs scored en route to earning All-Conference honors. For his career, he boasted a .400 batting average. During his senior campaign, Cuozzi led the Panthers to the "sweet-16" of the state tournament after helping guide the team to the "final four" the season prior. He played his fall ball for NC Golden Spikes and head coach Scott Bankhead.
Coach Friedholm on Cuozzi – "Anthony is a switch-hitting middle infielder who will provide a great amount of raw ability at multiple positions. He can fill in at numerous spots for us and his bat will be a big addition for us this coming year."
5-11 | INF | Charlotte, N.C. (Ardrey Kell HS)
Garner, a 5-11 middle infielder, comes to Asheville from Ardrey Kell where he played for head coach Hal Bagwell. A three-time letterwinner for the Knights, he batted .390 as a senior and is ranked as the No. 12 middle infielder in the state of North Carolina by Perfect Game and the No. 72 overall player in the state by MaxPreps. An All-Conference honoree, he led his team to two conference championships. Garner played his fall ball for On Deck and head coach Lindo Javelona.
Coach Friedholm on Garner – "McKinnon is very good defensively and gives has the ability to play three different position in the infield for us. He's a lefty hitter who will also bring in a solid bat for us offensively."
6-3 | RHP | Greenville, N.C. (North Pitt HS)
Jernigan is a 6-3 right-handed pitcher who comes to UNC Asheville from North Pitt where he played for head coach Ryan Meadows and the Panthers. A four-year letterman, Jernigan pitched 68.1 innings, including making nine starts, as a senior. He posted a 2.15 ERA with 92 strikeouts compared to just nine walks and boasted a .966 WHIP in 947 total pitches. He helped the Panthers win 69 games over his four years and the team made the state playoffs all four years, including advancing to the second round in both 2015 and 2016. A two-time All-Conference first-team selection as both a junior and senior, he was named to the All-State First Team in 2017 and was named North Pitt's MVP following his senior campaign. He also won the Joe Rawls Memorial Baseball Award as a senior in 2017 and was named an All-County Honorable Mention as a junior in 2016. In the classroom, Jernigan was named North Pitt's Male Scholar Athlete as a senior with a 4.5 GPA. He also played for Post 39 Legion Team in the summer of 2016 with the squad advancing to the Legion State Championship.
Coach Friedholm on Jernigan – "Trey is a very athletic pitcher who throws a good slider and sinker. He's a bit of a late bloomer, but he had an excellent senior year. If he can continue to show the same improvement once he gets here, there is no doubt he'll be contributing for us this year."
6-0 | RHP | Lithia, Fla. (Newsome HS)
A 6-foot right-handed pitcher, Nichols played his high school ball at Newsome for head coach Dick Rohrberg. A four-time varsity letterwinner, Nichols threw a perfect game on Thursday, April 13, 2017, as he led the Wolves to a 4-0 Class 9A-District 8 win over Palm Harbor University. He struck out 12 batters in the contest. As a senior in 2017, he boasted a 9-3 record and a 0.68 ERA in 71.2 innings of work that saw him strike out 80 batters while giving up just seven earned runs. As a junior in 2016, he boasted a 1.39 ERA to go along with a 6-1 record as he struck out 66 batters in 50.2 innings of work. Ranked the No. 137 player in the state of Florida by MaxPreps, he was named to the district tournament All-Tournament team and was selected to play in the Florida High School All-Star Game. He played his fall ball for Ostingers Baseball Academy and head coach Jim Osting with the team reaching a national ranking of fifth.
Coach Friedholm on Nichols – "Beau is a right-hander who will have a chance to come in and compete for pitching time on the weekends. The ability he has shown to command three pitches will give us a chance to win and will serve him very well as he continues to develop."
5-11 | RHP | Gallatin, Tenn. (Davidson Academy)
Tressler is a 5-11 fight-handed pitcher from Davidson Academy where he played for head coach Dennis Winn. The 2017 Division II-A Mr. Baseball for the state of Tennessee, he earned three varsity letters while posting a 17-4 record for his career with a 2.10 ERA and 189 strikeouts in 147 innings of work and is ranked as the No. 36 overall player in the state of Tennessee by both MaxPreps and Perfect Game. As a senior in 2017, he went 8-1 in 57.2 innings of work that saw him boast a 1.09 ERA and 72 strikeouts compared to just 10 walks. He was a part of two shutouts on the year, including pitching a complete game on Thursday, May 11, 2017, where he struck out 10 batters compared to giving up just three hits. At the plate, he batted .411 with 44 hits, 13 doubles, two home runs, a triple, 31 runs batted in and a .607 slugging percentage. For his career, he batted .390 in 85 games with 97 hits, 20 doubles, five home runs, 68 RBIs and a .554 slugging percentage. On top of his Mr. Baseball honor, Tressler was a two-time All-District selection as well as a two-time All-Region honoree and earned two Perfect Game WWBA All-Tournament Team honors. As a senior in 2017, he was named his district's MVP as well as a Senior All-Star Classic Team Member and Farm Bureau All-Midstate Baseball Player of the Year Finalist. As a junior in 2016, he was named to the 2016 Tennessee Baseball Report All-State 2-Way Team and was named the Davidson Academy Team MVP in 2016. He led the Bears to three district crowns, three sub-state tournament appearances and one "final four" appearance. The Bears were also the region runners-up twice. Away from the field, Tressler was a member of Davidson's National Honor Society, serving as the treasurer, as well as a member of the National Student Leadership Council. He earned Headmaster's List honors and was a three-time Principal's List honoree. He also won the Forensic Science Award, DE American History Award, AP Comparative Government and Politics Award and the DE Psychology Award. He played his fall ball for the Crosshit Baseball Academy and head coach Jacob Westerhouse.
Coach Friedholm on Tressler – "We are very excited to add Ethan to our pitching staff because he is just an athletic right-hander. He is another multiple arm slot guy who will see plenty of innings at the back end of games out of the bullpen early and we are confident he will come in from the start and compete."
5-10 | INF/RHP | Valrico, Fla. (Bloomindale Senior High School)
A 5-10 middle infielder and right-handed pitcher, Wilson comes to UNC Asheville after earning four varsity letters at Bloomindale Senior for head coach Kris Wilken. Ranked as the No. 37 shortstop in the state of Florida by Perfect Game, he boasted a .275 batting average for his career as well as a .399 on-base percentage. He notched 393 hits for his career and had 53 RBIs, 43 runs scored and 67 stolen bases. As a senior in 2017, he batted .288 with an on-base percentage of .392. He scored 19 runs and registered 19 hits, including four doubles and two home runs, to go along with 23 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. He led the Bulls to the 2014 region crown as well as the state championship game. He played his fall ball for Ostingers Baseball Academy and head coach Jimmy Osting.
Coach Friedholm on Wilson – "Cody is another two-way guy who has a chance to do some different things for us early on. He will have opportunities to come out of the bullpen late in games early in the year, but he is also a versatile infielder that can play three different positions and should compete for a spot there as well."
UNC Asheville put together an impressive run in 2017 and ended the season in the semifinal round of the Big South Conference Championship, accomplishing something that a Bulldog team had not done since the 2007 season: win two games in the postseason conference tourney to advance to the semifinal round.
The Bulldogs collected 25 wins on the year, tied for sixth-most in program history and the most since the 2004 team won 26. Along the way, the Bulldogs were never swept and won critical games by answering the call just about every day. Friedholm and staff stand to return 21 players next season.