Saint Louis head baseball coach Darin Hendrickson has announced the addition of eleven student-athletes to attend the University and play for the Billikens beginning spring 2019.
"This class is an exciting group of young men who will be expected to move our program forward for future years," Hendrickson said. "They all come from highly respected programs and will be expected to help us right away."
The new Billikens are pitcher Marius Balandis (Vilnius, Lithuania/Iowa Western CC), pitcher Lukas Barry (St. Aloysius Gonzaga/Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), third baseman/outfielder Colin Bergmann (Weldon Spring, Mo./Christian Brothers College H.S.), utility player/pitcher Drew Buhr (Austin, Ind./Austin H.S.), second baseman/shortstop Brendan Carrane (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita H.S.), pitcher Will Clark (Cumming, Ga./St. Francis H.S.), pitcher Nate Hardman (Bloomington Normal, Ill./Normal University H.S.), pitcher Brandon Jenkins (Gledora, N.J./Central Arizona), third baseman Kirby Jenkins (Springdale, Ark./Har-Ber H.S.), outfielder Khyle Radcliffe (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park H.S.) and outfielder Cole Smith (La Verne, Calif./Bonita H.S.).
Marius Balandis · RHP · Vilnius, Lithuania (Iowa Western CC)
Junior college transfer who will play for Iowa Western CC this coming spring season … last year posted a 6-1 record with a 3.72 ERA in 38.2 innings pitched … struck out 42, giving him a 9.78 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
Hendrickson on Balandis: “Marius is coming in with a resume featuring the rare combination of raw upside and high level winning on it. He threw significant innings for Iowa Western helping the team reach the JUCO World Series, and we couldn’t be more excited to add his physicality and three pitch mix into our pitching staff next year.”
Lukas Barry · RHP · Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Played for the Ontario Blue Jays last season … ranked as the number one right-handed pitcher and number 14 overall in Ontario by Prep Baseball Report (PBR) ... over the past two seasons he has competed on the Ontario Blue Jays fall tour throwing against Division 1 teams such as Florida State and TCU ... most recently threw four impressive innings against Florida State ... named to the 2018 Wood Bat World Championship all-tournament team in Jupiter, Fla.
Hendrickson on Barry: “We are very excited to have Lukas come in from the well renowned Ontario Blue Jays organization. Lukas is a polished right-hander who will have a chance to compete for innings right away on our team. The ability to throw three pitches for strikes gives us significant encouragement for his development.”
Colin Bergmann · 3B/OF · Weldon Spring, Mo. (Christian Brothers College H.S.)
Will play his senior season for Christian Brothers College H.S. ... ranked as the number one third baseman and number 30 overall prospect in the state of Missouri by PBR … MaxPreps ranks him the number 26 prospect overall in the state … hit for a .363 batting average last season with a .508 on-base percentage and a .659 slugging percentage .. that included 25 RBIs, 28 runs, 10 doubles, four triples and three home runs.
Hendrickson on Bergmann: “We are excited to bring in Colin, who is one of the top prep hitters in the St. Louis area. He brings a ton of physicality and power into our program along with versatility on defense, being able to play both corner infield and corner outfield spots.”
Drew Buhr · Util/RHP · Austin, Ind. (Austin H.S.)
Will play his senior season for Austin H.S. this coming spring ... ranked as the number five shortstop in the state of Indiana ... all-conference in baseball all three years ... three-sport athlete at Austin H.S. ... received all-conference last basketball season.
Hendrickson on Buhr: “Drew’s two-way versatility will pay dividends for our club. He's a great athlete that can hit from both sides of the plate, play up the middle of the field and bring us value as a pitcher on the mound.”
Brendan Carrane · SS · Chicago, Ill. (St. Rita H.S.)
Will play his senior season for St. Rita H.S. this spring ... also plays for Top Tier Baseball ... in 2017-18 combined hit for a .359 batting average and a .529 on-base percentage … scored 26 runs and drove in 12 RBIs … efficient on the infield with a .921 fielding percentage.
Hendrickson on Carrane: “Brendan will join us from two highly respected programs in St Rita High School and Top Tier Baseball. He’s a versatile athlete who can play the middle infield as well as give us some depth in the outfield. At the plate Carrane provides us a left-handed bat with some serious speed on the bases.”
Will Clark · LHP · Cumming, Ga. (St. Francis H.S.)
Will will play for St. Francis H.S. in the spring season ... had six wins, 57 strikeouts and received all-region honors while helping his team reach the playoffs as a junior ... named to the honor roll in his sophomore and junior year ... plays for the Georgia Jackets ... named to Perfect Game All-Tournament teams ... was a Team USA 17U finalist.
Hendrickson on Clark: “Will brings us some much needed left-handed depth to our pitching staff. He has a mid-80’s fastball and the ability to spin a breaking ball which will help us immediately against left-handed heavy lineups”
Nate Hardman · RHP · Bloomington Normal, Ill. (Normal University H.S.)
Nate will play his senior season for Normal University H.S. this spring ... named to all-tournament team in PBR's Kickoff Classic ... named to all-conference team and Springfield all-area team.
Hendrickson on Hardman: “Nate is a tall and physical right-hander with huge upside. With plenty of room for growth, we see Nate joining our program and making immediate improvements inside our player development plan.”
Brandon Jenkins · RHP · Glendora, N.J. (Campbell University and Central Arizona)
Junior college transfer … appeared 14 times with 10 starts on the mound as a rookie for Campbell … went 3-1 on the season with a 4.35 ERA across 49.2 innings … racked up 65 strikeouts while limiting opponents to a .190 batting average … posted an 18-4 career record over four years at Sterling H.S. … tossed consecutive no-hitters as a sophomore.
Hendrickson on Jenkins: “Brandon is the ultimate competitor and hard worker. He has high leverage Division 1 experience and will be pitching for one of the top junior college programs in the country this spring. He brings us an electric fastball/slider combination and we plan on him taking a spot in our rotation in the future.”
Kirby Jenkins · 3B · Springdale, Ark. (Har-Ber H.S.)
Ranked the number one third baseman and number 10 overall prospect in Arkansas by PBR ... everyday third baseman for the 2018 6A Arkansas State Champions ... named to 2018 WWBA all-tournament team in Atlanta, Ga. ... played for the Arkansas Sticks, one of the premier travel organizations in the country.
Hendrickson on Jenkins: “Kirby brings in a winner’s mentality from a well-respected Har-Ber H.S. team in Arkansas. He has played against some of the top prep talent over the last 3 years and took home a state title in 2018. We look forward to adding his hit tool and power potential to our program.”
Khyle Radcliffe · OF · Chicago, Ill. (Morgan Park H.S.)
Ranked the number 11 outfielder and the number 53 overall prospect in Illinois by PBR … made all-conference two years in a row for Morgan Park H.S. ... also plays for Top Tier ... two-sport athlete in basketball ... in 2017 and 2018 he was named to the WWBA all-tournament team in Atlanta, Ga.
Hendrickson on Radcliffe: “Khyle is a player we see making an immediate impact for our program. He has an advanced hitting tool and has shown the ability to control the strike zone as a young hitter. His plus arm and speed will fit in well to the future of our outfield.”
Cole Smith · OF · La Verne, Calif. (Bonita H.S.)
Had 46 hits, 14 RBIs, and 20 runs scored in three years on varsity (2016-18) ... in 2017 and 2018 he was named a league honorable mention ... named to the 2017 WWBA all-tournament team in Atlanta, Ga.
Hendrickson on Smith: “Cole is a physical and athletic corner outfielder who brings the ability to handle the bat with his hit tool and eventually tap into his power potential. We look forward to having his athleticism on hand in the outfield”
To wrap things up, Hendrickson said, "I am proud of our coaches for identifying quality young people both on and off the field. Each student-athlete will play key roles in upholding our program's consistency, and they'll help in the classroom and community where we continue to strive for greatness."