Baseball Bears Receive Five Commitments During Fall Signing Period
Nov. 21, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin announced Wednesday (Nov. 21) the receipt of official commitments from four high school standouts and one transfer during the NCAA's early signing period. The new additions to the Bears' 2013-14 roster include infielders Drew Bridges (Carthage, Mo.), Trey Hair (Firth, Neb.) and David Masters (Lake St. Louis, Mo.), as well as pitcher Jordan Knutson (Lee's Summit, Mo.) and utility player Alex Jefferson (Normal, Ill.).
"We feel really good about the quality of this group," Guttin commented. "We knew coming into the process that this would be a smaller class and, because of that, we targeted a few specific players that we felt matched our needs."
One of the top power threats in the Missouri prep ranks, Bridges is coming off a breakthrough junior campaign in which he batted .430 with four homers, 35 runs batted-in and 32 runs scored for Carthage High School to earn first-team Class 4 All-State recognition from both the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association and the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association. A left-handed hitting infielder, Bridges was an All-Ozarks selection by the Springfield News-Leader and was tabbed for the prestigious Area Code Games over the summer.
Hair should give the Bears a solid offensive option on the infield, coming off a junior year in which he batted .453 to earn Nebraska Class B All-State honors from both the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star, setting school single-season and career records for doubles and triples in the process. Hair started all 37 games as an All-Eastern Midlands Conference selection in helping lead Norris High to Nebraska Class B state runner-up finish with a 31-6 campaign in 2012 after gaining honorable mention all-state and all-conference recognition as a sophomore when he hit .398.
The brother of former Bear Andrew Jefferson (1999-2002), Alex Jefferson has the potential to be a two-way player for Missouri State, boasting strong credentials both on the mound and as an outfielder. The left-hander was named CornbeltBaseball.com Pitcher of the Year in 2012, after going 9-1 with a 1.23 ERA on the mound, holding the opposition to a .157 batting average and tossing three shutouts to help Normal Community West High go 30-8 and win a regional title. Jefferson also stood out at the plate, batting .418 with team highs of 35 runs scored, 49 hits, 14 doubles and 17 stolen bases as an outfielder for the Wildcats. A talented quarterback for the Wildcats on the grid iron as well, Jefferson was tabbed The Bloomington Pantagraph's prep player of the year as a junior after racking up 3,476 yards of total offense and accounting for 45 touchdowns.
Knutson, a left-handed pitcher out of Lee's Summit, Mo., will join the Bears' mound corps after picking up first-team All-Suburban Big 6 Conference honors as a junior in 2012. He fanned a school-record 77 batters last spring, 17 of which came in one game to break another Lee's Summit High program record.
Masters will join the Missouri State program as a sophomore transfer from Central Arizona Junior College after playing his first collegiate season at the University of Arkansas, where he saw action in 12 games as a freshman infielder for a Razorbacks squad that captured an NCAA regional title in 2012. The Lake St. Louis native was a first-team all-state honoree as a senior at Timberland High, hitting .436 with 35 RBIs, 31 runs scored and 10 steals. A versatile athlete capable of playing any of the infield positions, Masters was selected in the 50th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Coming off a 40-22 season and their first NCAA Regional appearance in nine years this past spring, the Bears will open the 2013 campaign Feb. 15 against host Texas State at the Bobcat Invitational in San Marcos, Texas.