BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Head Baseball Coach Jim Chester announced the completion of the 2023 signing class on Friday, Aug. 18.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs added 23 new players, with 12 of those transferring from Division-I schools. Two of the new ‘Dawgs transferred from top Division-II teams, with five more coming from the Junior College ranks. The remaining five newcomers are true freshmen. The class joins Noah Arnett, Andrew Hart, and Wade Kelly, who signed in the fall of 2022.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the 2023-2024 recruiting class,” says Chester. “This class represents an unbelievable amount of talent, experience, and excitement for the 2024 season!”
“Coach Marks helped lead the charge on a group that meets every expectation that we strive to meet on a daily basis. His hard work will pay dividends now and in the coming years! The position players in this group are in great hands!”
“Coach Hardy’s time has been short, but his impact on our class from the pitching side has been great. I can’t wait to watch this group develop under his experience and leadership!”
Asher Bashan – LHP – Pleasanton, Calf. – Almeda H.S.
Bashan comes to Gardner-Webb from Almeda High School in Pleasanton, Calif. The left-handed pitcher was ranked in the Top-75 of all California high school pitchers by Perfect Game.
Derek Cabrera – RHP – Pembroke Pines, Fla. – Pembroke Pines H.S. – Barry
Cabrera spent the last two seasons at Division-II Barry in Miami Shores, Fla. With the Bucs, Cabrera pitched 32.0 innings, recording 32 strikeouts, tallying a 4-2 record, and picking up four saves. While playing at Pembroke Pines High School, Cabrera was named the 2019 Miami Herald Pitcher of the Year, going 9-2 in 13 starts as a senior, with four complete games and two shutouts, posting a 1.32 ERA.
Luke Carpenter – LHP – Charlotte, N.C. – Ardery Kell H.S. – Dartmouth
A 2023 Academic All-District selection at Dartmouth, Carpenter pitched 40 innings out of the bullpen in his career for the Big Green, improving his ERA by four points from his junior to senior year. Carpenter spent a pair of summers in the NECBL, where he pitched 29.1 innings, picking up a 1.53 ERA.
Michael Ciminello – LHP – Saint James, N.Y. – Smithtown East – Seton Hall
Ciminello spent the last two seasons at Seton Hall. Last season, Ciminello made seven appearances out of the bullpen for the Pirates, recording a pair of strikeouts in 1.2 innings of work against #11 North Carolina. In 2022 he threw 39.0 innings and struck out 41 batters, holding opponents to a .226 batting average. Ciminello was also a Big East All-Academic Team selection.
Jack Clemente – RHP – Harrisburg, Pa. – Central Dauphin – FIU
Clemente arrives to Boiling Springs from Florida International in Miami. The Harrisburg, Pa. native earned his first collegiate win on Feb. 19 against St. Thomas, allowing just two hits and no runs in three innings of work for the Golden Panthers.
CJ Czerwinski – RHP – Red Lion, Pa. – Red Lion H.S. – James Madison
Czerwinski closed out his high school career at Red Lion High School in Pennsylvania with a bang, earning the 2019 YAIAA Player of the Year Award. In his career at James Madison, Czerwinski finished with a 4-3 record over 58.0 innings pitched, striking out 62 batters. Across his 23 appearances for the Dukes, Czerwinski made 10 starts. Czerwinski also excelled in the classroom, being named to the CAA Honor Roll in 2019 and 2020, while being named a JMU Scholar Athlete in 2023.
Parker Dixon – RHP – Shelby, N.C. – Shelby H.S.
Dixon will stay in Cleveland County, coming to Gardner-Webb from Shelby High School. Dixon was a three-year varsity letter winner for the Lions, earning All-Conference honors all three years.
Josh Gentile – RHP – Stockton, Calif. – Lincoln H.S. – San Joaquin Delta
Another West Coast transfer for the Runnin’ Bulldogs, Gentile helped guide San Joaquin Delta to a 37-11 record, finishing in 1st place in the Big 8 of the CCCAA, the California Community College Athletic Association.
Creighton Hansen – RHP – Grapevine, Texas – Liberty Christian – Wichita State – Xavier
Hansen arrives in Boiling Springs after a stint at Xavier, going 1-0 with 3.48 ERA, as opponents batted just .094 against the Grapevine, Texas native. Prior to his time with the Musketeers, Hansen spent time at Wichita State, winning the Shocker Scholar award for highest GPA and the Workhorse Award, given to the hardest worker in the weight room.
Garrett Hodges – RHP – Greenwood, S.C. – Greenwood H.S. – Spartanburg Methodist College
A native of Greenwood, S.C., Hodges comes to Gardner-Webb after playing at Spartanburg Methodist College. During his time with the Pioneers, Hodges recorded 10 starts, posting a 5-2 record over 46.2 innings of work, finishing with a 4.44 ERA, and striking out 59 batters.
Gavin Homer – RHP – Indiana, Pa. – Indiana H.S.
Homer wrapped up a stellar career at Indiana H.S. in Indiana, Pa., being named to the All-Gazette Baseball Team twice. Homer was also a 2023 scholar athlete, awarded by the Indiana County Hall of Fame and the IRMA Athlete Hall of Fame.
Noah Ingle – RHP – Cherryville, N.C. – Cherryville H.S. – North Greenville
A graduate of Cherryville High School in Cherryville, N.C., Ingle was a member of the 2022 Division-II National Champion North Greenville Crusaders. This past season, Ingle struck out six batters over 6.1 innings of work.
JT Inskeep – RHP – Chesapeake, Va. – Greenbriar Christian – VMI
Inskeep was a stellar right-hander for VMI, as he had a team-low ERA his junior year across 25 innings pitched. Inskeep was set for a solid senior year with the Keydets, going 4-0 with a save before an injury ended his season. Off the field, Inskeep was earned a spot on the Dean’s List, while also being a member of the Economic Honor Society.
Gavin Johnson – OF – Youngsville, N.C. – Wade Country Day
Johnson has championship experience already, winning the 2021 state championship at Wade Country Day. Johnson was a two-time All-State and a three-time All-Conference selection.
Lawson Knight – OF – Round Rock, Texas – Round Rock H.S. – Western Texas C.C./Kansas State
Knight arrives to Gardner-Webb from Kansas State. Prior to his time with the Wildcats, Knight spent the 2022 season at Western Texas C.C., where he batted .390 with 30 stolen bases and an on-base percentage of .470.
Ethan Lioa – UTL – Dublin, Calif. – Dublin H.S. – Ohlone College
Last season, Lioa was phenomenal for Ohlone College, finishing with a split of .437 / .486 / .713. Lioa also hit five home runs, tallied 33 RBI, and scored 32 runs. A First Team All-Conference selection, Lioa was also the conference batting champion.
Joe Manesiotis – OF – Wexford, Pa. – North Allegheny H.S. – Southern Union C.C.
Manesiotis comes to Boiling Springs from Southern Union C.C. During his time at North Allegheny High School, Manesiotis was a 2021 WPIAL First Team All-Conference selection and was a member of the 2021 6A WPIAL Championship team.
Aidan Marino – INF – Bradenton, Fla. – Open Door Academy
An infielder with championship experience, Marino was a state champion with Open Door Academy in Bradenton, Fla., earning State Tournament MVP honors. Marino is also a two-Time Perfect Game Juipter WWBA National Champion. In high school, Marino was also named to the All-Area Team.
Bryan Pazos – LHP – Miami, Fla. – Hialeah Educational Academy – FIU
In 2023, Pazos made 19 appearances out of the bullpen for FIU, pitching 42.1 innings with 24 strikeouts, holding opponents to a .200 batting average. Pazos finished the season with a team-best 3.61 ERA.
Ethan Rossow – UTL – New Lenox, Ill. – Lincoln Way Central – Milwaukee Area Technical College
A 2023 First Team All-Region selection, Rossow broke single season records at Milwaukee Area Tech Junior College for runs (63) & stolen bases, leading the NJCAA in stolen bases with 63 last season.
Gavin Schmitt – RHP – Boilingbrook, Ill. – Plainfield East H.S. – Illinois
Schmitt spent the last season with the University of Illinois. This summer as a member of the Minot Hot Tots of the Northwoods League, Schmitt went 4-2 in 42.0 innings pitched with 24 strikeouts and a 5.04 ERA.
Robert Sotolongo – UTL – Miami, Fla. – Florida Christian – FIU
Sotolongo spent the last few seasons at FIU, where in 81 games played, the Miami native started 56 games. Sotolongo finished his time with the Golden Panthers with a .277 batting average, .351 slugging, and a .377 on-base percentage.
Tommy Tavarez – INF – Brooklyn, N.Y. – Citrus Prep – Pittsburgh
Tavarez had a stellar freshman season with the Pittsburgh Panthers, holding an eight-game hit streak where he hit four home runs in five game.
The Gardner-Webb baseball program is coming off a 31-25 season with a fourth-place finish in the Big South conference, along with seven players earning All-Conference honors. For more information on the Gardner-Webb baseball team, fans can follow the Runnin’ Bulldogs on Twitter/X at @GWUBaseball or on Instagram at @gwubaseball.