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Norse Baseball Signs Seven for 2017

The Northern Kentucky University baseball team and head coach Todd Asalon announced Wednesday that seven student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to join the program for the 2016-17 academic year.

"We are really excited about this year's recruiting class and feel that we have addressed our needs with not only quality athletes, but quality students and people as well," Asalon said.

The early signing class includes freshmen Brendan Alas, Griffin Green, Justin King, Shane Paradis and Preston Pilat. Two junior college transfers including Jean-Francois Dionne and Chad Roberts also committed to join the program.

"My assistant coaches Dizzy Peyton and Brad Gschwind deserve a lot of the credit for this recruiting class because they spent many hours on the road trying to find student-athletes that share the vision of NKU Athletics. We look forward to competing in the Horizon League and feel these student-athletes will represent the League and NKU well," Asalon added.

NKU will begin its fourth season as an NCAA Division I program in February and its first season as a member of the Horizon League. The Norse posted a 17-34 overall record last season including a 5-16 mark in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The complete 2016 schedule will be released at a later date.

INF - Brendan Alas
R/R • 6-2, 195
New Albany, Ohio / St. Francis DeSales High School

Alas will come to NKU from St. Francis DeSales High School. The infielder has played for the Columbus Cobras for seven years and has posted a .330 average with 226 RBI in his career as a Cobra.

"Brendan is a big, physical athlete that is primarily a third baseman, but can also play the outfield. He is equipped to be an immediate impact player for us. He is fast and has a power arm and can flat out hit. His brother, TJ, plays at Eastern Kentucky University," Asalon said.

RHP - Jean-Francois Dionne
R/R • 6-4, 220
Trois-Rivers, Quebec, Canada / New Mexico Junior College

Dionne comes to Northern Kentucky from New Mexico Junior College. In the 2015 season, Dionne tossed a team-high 78.2 innings and accrued a 3.66 ERA and 7-3 record across 14 starts. Dionne also struck out 59 batters and twirled five complete games for the Thunderbirds.

"He is a big-time arm and a great candidate to be our Friday night starter immediately. He has everything you could ask for in a starting pitcher, throwing all three pitches for strikes and refuses to walk hitters. He has a power arm, is a bulldog on the mound and comes to us from a JUCO powerhouse," Asalon said.

C - Griffin Green
S/R • 5-11, 180
Madison Heights, Mich. / Bishop Foley High School

Green, a native of Madison Heights, Michigan, is ranked the No. 3 catcher overall in the state of Michigan for the class of 2016 by Professional Baseball Review and was named All-Detroit Catholic League as a junior. Additionally, Green was a finalist for Team USA U17 Development Team in Cary, North Carolina and was also invited to participate in East Coast Pro and the Midwest Area Code for the summer 2015 season. 

"Griffin is a switch-hitting catcher and is as athletic as you will find with a strong and accurate arm. He has all of the intangibles that you look for in a catcher, such as leadership qualities and knowing how to handle a pitching staff. Being a switch hitter is an added bonus as we will look to him for offensive production," said Asalon.

OF – Justin King
L/L • 6-1, 200
Okotoks, Alberta, Canada

King has played as a member of the Okotoks Dawgs Baseball Academy in Okotoks, Alberta, for the past five seasons and helped the Dawgs to win three provincial championships during the 2015 season.

"Justin comes to us from the same hometown as Jordan Procyshen who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 14 round of the MLB Draft two years ago. Justin will play right field for us and is an advanced hitter from the left side. He can fit for average and is a true power hitter and we expect him to be a definite force in the Horizon League for years to come," said Asalon.

INF – Shane Paradis
R/R • 6-0, 185
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Paradis, a member of the Windsor Selects, helped his team to a 6-2 record in the 2015 summer campaign. The shortstop batted .329 in 102 games throughout the 2014 season while posting a .967 fielding percentage to earn a spot on Team Ontario, a premier player development program.

"Shane is a slick-fielding true shortstop with great range and strong throwing arm with the ability to make all of the routine plays look easy and the difficult plays look routine. At the plate, he is very disciplined with great knowledge of the strike zone," said Asalon.

OF – Preston Pilat
L/L • 6-4, 205
Rochester Hills, Mich. / Brother Rice High School

Pilat posted a .395 batting average with 33 RBI as a junior at Brother Rice High School in Rochester Hills, Mich. The outfielder recorded 18 doubles, seven triples and four home runs while stealing 25 bases on the season. He received All-League honors and All-County honorable mention recognition at the conclusion of the 2015 season.

"Preston comes to us from national powerhouse Brother Rice High School. He is a true five-star athlete that runs, throws, hits for average, hits for power and is an outstanding defensive player. Preston and Justin King both play centerfield and we think they will serve as great anchors in the NKU outfield for the next four years," said Asalon.

INF - Chad Roberts
L/R • 6-1, 195
Wilmington, Ohio / Sinclair CC

Roberts concluded the fall season at Sinclair CC near the top in every offensive category after playing at Marshall University in 2015. While at Marshall, Roberts batted .304 with seven RBI across 25 appearances and 10 starts as a freshman. Over the summer, Roberts posted a .286 average and a team-high 30 RBI with the Prospect League's Chillicothe Paints.

"We are looking forward to having Chad in our program next year. He is a proven, quality hitter from the left side that comes from nationally-ranked Sinclair CC. We have been following Chad since high school and he just keeps getting better. He is a versatile defensive player and we are expecting him to step in immediately to hit in the middle of our lineup," said Asalon.

- Staff report